Thu, 4 June 2020
According to the more than 140 #CEOs I interviewed, one of the most important #mindsets for future #leaders is that of the Chef which is all about balancing #humanity and #technology. Chefs usually have to balance many ingredients to create a beautiful and tasty dish. As a leader, you just need to balance the two and you need both of them.
In this midweek podcast episode, I will be talking about the best way to balance technology and humanity in your company.
This episode is brought to you by Mitel. Don't compromise on business continuity. Mitel can meet all your business communications needs while working from home with all-in-one cloud calling, conferencing, collaboration, and contact center tools – free until 2021. Visit Mitel's https://bit.ly/mitelsponsors to learn more.
Mon, 1 June 2020
Most of us have had our lives disrupted by the current pandemic in some way. We have had to find new ways to connect with friends and family, we aren’t traveling as much (or at all), and we’re having to adapt to new ways of working and learning. Whitney Johnson is one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world and bestselling author of 3 books and as she told me during our discussion “if we’re going to manage the disruption, we need to disrupt ourselves.”
How to disrupt yourself and why it matters
Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School was Whitney’s mentor and she co-founded The Disruptive Innovation Fund with him. It was Clayton who coined the term disruptive innovation, which he talked about in his book, Innovator’s Dilemma. The idea behind the term was that a small sometimes silly idea can take over the world, for example how the telephone disrupted the telegraph or how the automobile disrupted the horse and buggy. In more modern examples, we can see how Netflix disrupted Blockbuster and how Uber disrupted cabs.
Whitney took that idea and instead of applying it to a product or a company she applied it to individuals--personal disruption. But she says there is one big difference between personal disruption and what Clayton was talking about. With personal disruption, you are both the small silly idea and the idea taking over the world. You are both Netflix and Blockbuster. You are both Uber and the cab company. As you can imagine this can pose a bit of a mental challenge.
Why should we disrupt ourselves? Whitney says, “the question you have to ask yourself is, do I wanna jump or do I want to get pushed? When you jump, you're acting. When you get pushed, you're going to feel pushed, and it will feel like a failure. And it's a very different equation around resilience and rebounding than if you've chosen to jump.” Disruption is going to happen, whether we want it to or not. We control whether we disrupt ourselves or let disruption happen to us.
The seven steps to managing the S-Curve of learning and mastery
In Whitney’s book, Disrupt Yourself, she gives seven accelerants that can help you speed up your learning and mastery.
She says “The idea is, the base of the S the growth is slow until you reach a tipping point or you near the curve and you move into hyper growth. And then you get to saturation, the growth tapers off. That insight could help us understand how we learn. It could help us understand how we grow, how we develop. So, whenever you start something new, you are at the base of an S. Whether it's a new project, a new job, whether it's dealing with COVID-19, you're at the base of the S and growth is happening, but it can feel very slow. It can look like a slog. But knowing that helps you avoid discouragement. And then you put in the effort, and you accelerate competence and confidence and engagement. The idea of personal disruption is, you move up that S-curve, you learn and then you leave and then you repeat. You do that over and over again, and the faster you're able to do it, the higher-growth individual you can become.”
The seven steps are:
- Take on market risk - The idea of playing where no one else is playing. We are much more likely to be successful if we can be the one to create instead of waiting to compete with others who have already created.
- Play to your distinctive strengths - lean into what you do well, and mitigate the weaknesses that derail you.
- Embrace your constraints--Your constraints could be time, money, supporters, etc. Whatever they are, embrace them and use them to your advantage. Tension positively impacts innovation. Don't look at what you don't have, focus on what you do have.
- Battle your sense of entitlement - Don’t sit back and wait for things to come to you. You are no more or less important than anyone else. Put yourself out there and make it happen because as I always say, nobody is going to look out for you...but you.
- Step back to grow - Your journey to success isn’t a straight line. Sometimes in order to disrupt yourself you may have to take a few steps back to ultimately move forward. It's analogous to trying to summit a mountain. Sometimes you may climb up high only to realize you need to go back down a bit to take an alternate path to the top.
- Give failure its due - The more you are willing to fail, the faster you will get better. We have to separate the act of failing with the emotional response of shame. We all fail, it's a part of life. What matters is how you respond to failure and how you talk to yourself about failure.
- Be driven by discovery - Take a step forward, gather feedback, and adapt. One of the most crucial mindsets that leaders need to possess is that of The Explorer.
When working to become a high-growth individual, it’s all about patience
It’s so easy for us as humans to want fast results. But when it comes to disrupting ourselves, Whitney says patience is key. “I started running January of last year and I said I'm going do five minutes a day. Up until that time, I would get really impatient, thinking 'I've gotta get good at running fast.' Impatient me would have been like, 'I need to run a 5K by April,' so now we're in May of 2020. I have not run a 5K but yesterday, when I ran, I was at 39 minutes. I've gone from five minutes to 39 minutes because I've been patient. So I think for anybody who wants to be a high-growth individual, it's that idea of interest and compounding effect is just put in the time, day after day after day, and you will suddenly become that high-growth individual you wanna be.”
This episode is sponsored by Mitel. Don't compromise on business continuity. Mitel can meet all your business communications needs while working from home with all-in-one cloud calling, conferencing, collaboration, and contact center tools – free until 2021. Visit mitel.com/jacob to learn more.
Direct download: Whitney_Johnson_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:52am PDT
Thu, 28 May 2020
As we grow older and learn new things, regrets are pretty normal. Regrets are not always about life-changing decisions, they can also mean things that could have made your life easier if you knew them earlier.
In this mini-podcast episode, I share two pieces of advice that I would give my younger self. How about you? What would you say to your younger self?
This episode is sponsored by Cisco Webex. They are launching ‘The Future of Work’ to help you understand the trends transforming the workplace and navigate the new normal. Filled with insights and expertise dedicated to the future of work, you’ll find all you need to transform your workplace. Check it out at https://bit.ly/fowwebex
Sun, 24 May 2020
Companies are going through difficult times right now with the current pandemic, and while Pehr is not currently the CEO of a company, he is no stranger to leading during challenging circumstances, including recessions. When asked how current leaders are handling organizations during this tough time, Pehr says there is one critical thing that leaders are not doing a good enough job with.
Putting people ahead of profits
There are very few leaders today who are actively putting the well-being of their people ahead of profits. Pehr says, “I put people before profits in the sense that if I don't have good people, we could not have productivity, we could not go to have our aspirations come true unless we have good people. So I have people before profits and it's not declining profits. I think that profits are very important for any shareholder company and that the shareholder should have their part of course, but that the people will create it.”
He says companies today are not only laying people off, but they are doing it brutally. And that’s not the way to lead. During the recessions Pehr went through as a CEO he made it a priority to take care of his people and to protect the most vulnerable. Because of that his employees trusted him, they were more motivated, and they felt safe.
Creating meaning and purpose for employees
The backbone of any organization is it’s people, if you want to succeed your people have to be happy, motivated, engaged, etc… Pehr did a lot at Volvo to prioritize the well-being and purpose of his employees. He actually got rid of the whole assembly line in order to keep employees from getting injured.
Instead of having employees work on a small piece of a part that was moving down the line they were able to work on a whole part of the car while it was stationary. “That made them save, first of all, their hands and their body, so they were never injured, they didn't have to run after a product or walk with a product. And they could also do a whole part of a car, which is something that is satisfaction, that if you do the whole body, if you do the interior, if you do the mounting of the engine and the transmission, that is a full cycle of work, and it's meaningful, compared to having a simple tool and just mounting something that you know what it would become, but it was meaningless.”
Pehr understood that employees completing a mundane, partial job would cause frustration and boredom. And when people are bored quality declines.
Another thing Pehr made sure to do as a CEO was to have a presence with his employees. He didn’t hide away in a corner office, he walked through the factory and talked with individuals. And he says this is important not only for factory settings, but for a CEO in any industry. Take the time to get to know your people.
Advice for leaders of the future
In his upcoming book, Pehr reflects on what he learned as CEO of Volvo. He says, “In reflecting on what has been formative in my own life, I consider the consequential parts, not to be things or titles, but people. When a company or an organization has been the most rewarding, it has always been due to the people that the company or organization brought into my sphere, people I had the privilege of getting to know.” This quote really speaks volumes to who Pehr is as a leader and his belief in putting people first.
When asked for advice on how to implement this way of leading, Pehr said he thinks a lot of it has to do with a person’s upbringing and attitude about life. It’s not something that can easily be taught, but more so something you have to have from within.
He says leaders have to have sympathy with their whole team, regardless of what role they have. You can’t play favorites. He also believes it is a mistake to hire only people who think and act like you do, even if you get along with them best. “If you don't have people that are unlike you and that bring something to you, then it won't work well. To have pals around you is not the way to run a business and the people who are underneath the top management, they will see it very quickly.”
Direct download: Pehr_Gyllenhammar_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 3:21pm PDT
Fri, 22 May 2020
One of the most important skills future leaders should have is self-awareness. Being aware of your own flaws so that you can improve on them is a sign of great leadership.
In this week’s mini-podcast episode, I explore self-awareness in-depth and share stories and examples of how to practice it.
This episode is sponsored by Cisco / Webex. They are launching ‘The Future of Work’ to help you understand the trends transforming the workplace and navigate the new normal. Filled with insights and expertise dedicated to the future of work, you’ll find all you need to transform your workplace. Check it out at https://bit.ly/fowwebex
Mon, 18 May 2020
This episode is brought to you by Cisco Webex. To help navigate our new reality and its impact on workplace transformation, Cisco Webex is launching The Future of Work; a destination to help you understand the trends transforming the workplace; highlighting remote work as well as workstyles, innovative workspaces and integrated workflows for teams. To learn more visit futureofwork.webex.com
Joy and happiness are two very important aspects of life, and they are just what we need now as we face difficult times around the world. What is happiness and joy to you? We all have times that we struggle to find one or both. In her book, Ingrid shares a moment of awareness that changed her life. She shares, “Joy isn’t hard to find. In fact, it’s all around us”. Before we are able to create more joy and happiness at work and at home, we first need to define them separately, because a lot of times they get grouped together.
The important distinction between joy and happiness
In our quest to live fulfilled lives, it is important to understand the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is a long-term, ongoing evaluation of how we feel about our relationships, health, work, purpose, etc...Usually we evaluate this based on a certain period of days, weeks or months.
Joy, on the other hand, is an intense momentary experience. Things that make you laugh, smile, make you feel alive. It may be spending time with family, enjoying time working on a hobby you’re passionate about, a celebration, great conversation with friends, etc... In other words, joy is the little moments that build up to happiness.
As Ingrid shares, we may not notice it but we tend to put off joy in our pursuit of happiness. She says, “When we focus on happiness, when we are asking ourselves this question, "Am I happy, am I happy?" Often what we focus on are the big things. So we focus on, "I gotta get that promotion, I gotta buy that house, I gotta find my partner." And a lot of those things are not in our control fully, and a lot of them are things that to get them we put off joy. So we say, "Okay, I gotta get that promotion, so I'm not gonna go see my parents this weekend. I'm not gonna go hang out with friends. I'm not gonna do that hobby that I've been dying to take up. I'm gonna put that off until after I get the promotion." And then what happens, we get the promotion, and then we need more. We settle in and we're looking toward the next milestone, and so joy falls by the wayside.”
Why you should stop thinking about happiness entirely
A lot of our struggle with “finding” happiness and knowing if we are living a happy life is the vagueness of the word. We tend to treat happiness as a future state, something to achieve, a destination. Once we get to our destination of happiness, everything will be great. The problem is, we never truly arrive at an end.
We think we will be happy once we get that promotion, or the new house, or have our first child, or have enough money to go on that trip. But once that milestone is over, we don’t stop and say “that’s it, I’ve achieved life”, we go on to the next milestone. It is never ending, so having that mindset will only lead to disappointment.
So what should we do? Ingrid says we should stop thinking about happiness altogether. Instead we need to focus on adding moments of joy into our lives. She says, “If you know that adding little moments of joy to your day adds up to not just to happiness overall but to... That it reduces stress, that it increases our resilience by lowering those physiological responses to stress and also facilitating more adaptive coping mechanisms. We're more likely to grow from a crisis, for example, or from a difficult time at work if we invite little moments of joy into our struggle. So, it impacts our health. It impacts our connections. We have greater trust and intimacy when we have little moments of joy that we share with our partner. It impacts I talked about productivity and cognition. So if we know that these little moments of joy are helping us in all these different ways, I focus on that. I'm like, "Okay, how can I create a few more moments of joy today, this week, in my marriage, in my work? How do I create those things? How do I share them with others?" And the happiness takes care of itself”.
The 10 aesthetics of joy
In her book Ingrid shars 10 aesthetics of joy, which are ways in which we can create these little moments of joy in our lives. They are energy, abundance, freedom, harmony, play, surprise, transcendence, magic, celebration, and renewal. She shared a few of them with me in depth.
Play is one of our most direct roots to joy. Play is how we find new ideas, adapt to change, explore the world, break out of our comfort zones. Ingrid says “It’s one of the most mysterious but most essential tools for survival.” One example of how to bring play to a work context is keeping a game on your desk as a reminder of the need for play at work.
In order to feel a sense of joy, we have to feel physically free. But Ingrid’s research also found that while we like to be free, we also don’t like to be fully exposed. We need prospect--we need a view of our surroundings and an idea of what’s happening around us. And we need refuge--a protected space to hide out. In an office setting this translates into having a workspace with both open space and closed off areas for employees to use. This gives employees a feeling of freedom.
Celebration is what happens in a moment of intense joy when our joy feels so contagious that it draws other people in. Celebration can be spontaneous or planned. It can be shown through singing, dancing, food, etc...In the workplace this is one thing we can definitely improve upon. We tend to celebrate birthdays in a plain, boring break room with a cake, and maybe a banner. It’s not very joyful. Ingrid suggests that instead of celebrating birthdays, organizations should celebrate more work-relevant events. Join dates, promotions, successes, and even failures.
Bringing joy to work
Even if you don’t love your job, you can find moments of joy anywhere you work. Some things that you can start doing today to create more joy at work include being more curious, thinking back to what you liked to do as a child, make space and time for joy, keep items that spark joy on your desk, and give yourself permission to find joy. Plan time on your calendar to focus on joy if you need to. For leaders, lead by example and show your employees how to bring joy to the office.
To leaders, Ingrid says, “Joy starts at the top. If you don't model the behavior of demonstrating that joy is important within your organization, it won't carry any weight because people are so used to the mentality that joy is extraneous, it's not important, I'm not supposed to bring that to work, that it needs to be modeled at the top. And I've seen this in working at IDEO, you see it very, very clearly that leaders at IDEO are joyful. David Kelley, founder of IDEO, is a joyful guy, and he brings that to his work. And he's playful and he tells his funny stories, and sometimes they're stories of failure and they're... But it's a maybe a vulnerable thing. I think recognizing that it may take some vulnerability on your part to feel safe to express joy and exhibit joy in that way.”
Direct download: Ingrid_Fetell_Lee_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 3:54am PDT
Fri, 15 May 2020
Have you fallen into the trap of constantly working and feeling the need to keep pushing, no matter how exhausted and worn down you feel? We’ve all been there. In fact, many companies and people have the mentality that in order to succeed, you have to constantly hustle and work non-stop, even when you’re tired.
But that’s not true.
To set yourself up for success, you need to take breaks. When you’ve been working hard for a long time, things start to catch up with you. If you’re physically exhausted or mentally spent, you can’t do your best work. Your brain and body need to rest and re-energize. Pushing hard can work for a short-term goal or project, but it isn’t sustainable in the long term.
A break doesn’t have to be a long hiatus. Even taking a day or half a day to focus on the things you need to do to get yourself back into the physical, mental, and emotional state to perform your best can make a difference. Spend time with family and friends, exercise and get outdoors, or spend time on a non-work hobby. Work on tasks that don’t require a lot of brainpower or creative energy, such as responding to emails, getting organized, or reaching out to people. Acknowledge that you’re tired, physically or mentally, and give yourself the time to step back and recharge.
No one can go full speed all the time. Remember that your life and career is a marathon, not a sprint. There are times where you’ll need to push harder, but there’s also times when you need to allow yourself to take a break. If you want to be at your peak performance levels, you’ve got to relax your brain and body and allow yourself time to recharge. Push past any guilt you may feel about taking a break and think of how it will help you in the long run.
Rest, recharge, re-energize. Your body and mind will thank you for the break.
Direct download: Its_ok_to_take_a_break.mp3
-- posted at: 3:26am PDT
Mon, 11 May 2020
Mark is a business advisor with over 20 years of experience helping Global 1000 and start-up companies to create new growth strategies, navigate disruptive innovation, and manage corporate transformation. He is the co-founder and Senior Partner of Innosight, a strategic innovation consulting and investing company. Prior to that Mark was a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and a nuclear power trained surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy.
This episode is brought to you by Cisco Webex. To help navigate our new reality and its impact on workplace transformation, Cisco Webex is launching The Future of Work; a destination to help you understand the trends transforming the workplace; highlighting remote work as well as workstyles, innovative workspaces and integrated workflows for teams. To learn more visit futureofwork.webex.com
Every company wants to be more innovative in order to stay relevant, to be successful, to bring in the best talent, and to help the world. But innovation takes planning, effort, focus, and intentionality. So what is keeping companies from being innovative? Mark shares three barriers to breakthrough innovation and how we can overcome them.
Barriers to Breakthrough Innovation
Mark has been an advisor and consultant to many Global 1000 and start-up companies and one thing that companies keep coming to him to figure out is how they can foster disruptive breakthrough innovation.
Mark says, “You'll hear companies talk about, we've gotta be more innovative. And what they really mean is, a specific kind of innovation, they mean, how do we get beyond our core? How do we get out from underneath ourselves and do something that really gets us into the new and different? And so, they're looking for that more disruptive breakthrough kind of innovation. And what we find is, most breakthrough innovation efforts stall or breakdown or fail, either because there's; one, not enough resources invested upfront to really give it the kind of wherewithal it needs to succeed. Two, when there's challenges in the core, or there's just general difficulties and priorities to do other things that resources will get pulled from breakthrough innovation efforts. And then finally, leadership tends to get impatient with sometimes the incubation and development period that these growth efforts take. So those are the familiar kinds of problems that happen with breakthrough growth specific to the efforts, but we also find leadership teams themselves just suffer from, as we know all the time, just being very short-sighted and short-term-ism, the importance of profitability over sustainability. So there are all these incentives and biases that crop up in the way that further break these things down.”
In response to these challenges Mark formalized a way of thinking that can help leaders overcome these barriers and stay relevant. We need to move away from how we traditionally think about vision statements, strategy and long term planning and start leading from the future.
How Companies Normally Think About the Future and Why it Needs to Change
Traditionally when trying to plan for the future companies have used what has been termed as a present forward mindset. What does that mindset look like? Mark says, “basically you take the existing structure and processes and rules and norms of today and you put that within a business, and you try to continue to extend that forward by both incremental and breakthrough innovations that are tied towards improvement of the core. And there's nothing wrong with that, in fact, organizations do need to operate and execute, they need to continue to do product development, they need to drive marketing and R&D for the sake of continuing to serve the current set of customers or consumers, that is something that needs to move forward. But the challenge is, if that's all that you do, you're making this huge assumption that businesses can be extended out indefinitely over time, and as we know, if you take the horizon far enough, there's likely to be severe commoditization to a business or real disruption, things that create discontinuities just like in the crisis today.”
So what mindset does Mark suggest we move to? He termed it future back, where you look out to the future (about 5-10 years) to develop your vision and you work your way back to present day to see what strategy you need to put in place to get there. How far you look into the future will vary from company to company, so it is important that you and your team work together to come up with the appropriate time horizon for your type of business.
No matter how far you look out, one important thing to note, you cannot come up with a future picture and a long term plan and think that’s it. Companies who either come up with this plan once and never revisit it, or who think they can come up with one plan and keep their heads down for several years getting there are not going to succeed.
Use this long term goal as a north star that gives hope and inspiration, but you have to bring that narrative to life by revisiting it often, be in the mode for learning, experiment with different things. It has to be able to be adjusted as time goes on as the rest of the world changes.
How to Implement Future Back Thinking in Three Phases
In his book, Mark shares the three phases we go through to implement future back thinking. They are:
- Develop an inspiring vision--this is not your typical 1-2 sentence vision statement. It’s about developing a clear-eyed view about what the next 5-10 years look like for the world and then for your specific company
- Translate it into a clear strategy--If vision is about being a storyteller, then strategy is about becoming an engineer. After creating inspiration, hope, and purpose behind what the organization wants to achieve you have to translate that into something tangible that you can act on
- Prepare for and manage its implementation--This step is about implementation and milestones, but a huge piece of this is also about setting the organization up for success. You have to have the right leaders in place and you have to carve out the resources (and keep them carved out) needed.
What Non-Leaders Can Do to Move Their Company to Future Back Thinking
If you are not a leader inside of your organization is there a way you can help push your team to start using future back thinking? Mark says, “I think we all have an opportunity to spread language and a way of thinking, and hopefully, leadership will pick up on that. I think reinforcing the importance based on case examples of visionary organizations that are able to... Be able to inspire the organization and then practically think of ways to anticipate alternative paths in the short-term, like what we do in the COVID crisis. And then do not think of anything as one and done, but remain agile and willing to pivot and that think in the sense of humility as being behind learning and learning being behind innovation. All of this, I think, by language alone and principles can turn an organization, and it's not just leadership that can do that, people everywhere can influence by what they say and what they talk about.”
Direct download: Mark_Johnson_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 6:14am PDT
Fri, 8 May 2020
With the current pandemic, millions of people around the world are working from home. This will likely continue over the coming months, and everyone should adjust to this new normal way of working.
In this week’s mini-episode of The Future of Work Podcast, I’m sharing tips on how you can effectively lead a virtual team from the comfort of your own home.
This episode is sponsored by Cisco Webex. To help companies navigate the new reality of #remotework, they are hosting a future of work marathon series with customers and industry experts. Make sure to check it out at https://bit.ly/webex0504
Mon, 4 May 2020
Leaders especially are constantly running around trying to "put out fires." But, what if there was a way to stop the fires from happening to begin with? That is the premise of Dan Heath's new book: Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen. Dan is the best-selling author of six books five of which he wrote with his brother Chip Heath (who I had on my podcast a little while ago). These books include classics such as: Made to Stick, Switch, and The Power of Moments.
How do we stop chasing fires and start preventing them? It's all about Upstream thinking. You can listen to the full in-depth conversation with Dan below
This episode is brought to you by Cisco Webex. To help companies navigate the new reality of remote work, join us for a live future of work marathon series with customers and industry experts: #RemoteWork - The Future of Work is Now.
The Upstream Parable
Back in 2009 Dan heard a parable that is well known in public health and it really resonated with him. It is what inspired him to write the book. He tells it like this, “You and a friend are having a picnic on the bank of a river. And you've just laid down your picnic blankets, you're about to have your meal when you hear a shout from the direction of the river. You look back and there's a child thrashing around in the water, apparently drowning. So you both dive in, you fish the child out, you bring them to shore. Just as you're starting to calm down you hear another shout. You look back, there's a second child splashing around again, apparently drowning and so back in you go. You fish them out, then there are two more children who come along right behind and so begins this kind of revolving door of rescue, where you're in and out, and fishing kids out and it's exhausting work. And right about that time, you notice your friend is swimming to the shore, steps out, starts to walk away as though to leave you alone, and you cry out, "Hey, where are you going? I need your help. All these kids are drowning" and your friend says, "I'm going upstream to figure out who's throwing all these kids in the river."
And that is the problem with most organizations. We are too focused on our own work and trying to quickly solve any issues that come up in order to just keep moving forward - we reward busy work. The result is an endless cycle of putting out fires as they come, when instead we should be able to recognize recurrent problems so we can get to the root cause. If we can find out how to fix the systems that cause the problems in the first place, we would save so much time and energy.
How to move from downstream thinking to upstream thinking
Inside of most companies employees are divided into separate functions--marketing stays in the marketing department, sales in sales, HR in HR and so on. This setup is not conducive for upstream thinking as it keeps everyone secluded and not working together to address problems. As Dan told me:
"Focus in organizations is both an enemy and an ally. It's an ally in the sense that when we get people focused on particular measures or a particular area of responsibility, it makes them more efficient. But, focus is also an enemy in the sense that it blinds you to things that are just slightly outside of your box."
Dan gives a great real life example from the travel website, Expedia. One employee working in the customer experience group was looking through some data from their call center and he found that for every 100 people who booked a flight through their site, 58 of them were calling for help. This employee saw something wrong with that picture, since the company’s whole business model is self service travel planning. Call center agents are focused on things like reducing call time and the number of issues, they don't ever ask "hey, how can I keep Jaco from calling to begin with?"
What this employee discovered was the number one reason people were calling was to get a copy of their itinerary, which should be an easy task. So this employee and his boss went to the CEO with the data and convinced the CEO to create a task force to address the issue. The task force met together and found multiple ways to address this problem and they saved the company 100 million dollars.
This is such a great story, because this employee could have easily ignored the data, no one was complaining. Everyone answering phones in the call center was just taking these calls and quickly assisting people over and over again. But had they ignored it they would have wasted countless hours and resources.
Here's another example from Linkedin who was actually a research sponsor for new book, The Future Leader. Dan Shapero is the Chief Business Officer at Linkedin and as many of you know, Linkedin has a recruiting tool you can subscribe to. It's an annual subscription and the general process was that around month 11, Dan and his team would see which accounts haven't been that active and then they would try to swoop in and try to get these people to renew for the following year. But then Dan started to wonder if there was a way to get earlier warning of who would churn. It turns out that Linkedin has tons of data but they never really used it. They could actually get a good sense of who is going to churn by around week 4! So instead of investing a ton of resources towards the end of the process, they decided to invest more in the on-boarding of new subscribers. This change resulted in tens of millions of dollars in profit. This all happened because of the shift from Downstream thinking (how do we get as many people to renew) to Upstream thinking (how do we keep people from NOT wanting to renew in the first place?).
Three main barriers to upstream thinking
In the book Dan lays out three main barriers to upstream thinking. They are:
- Problem blindness--We cannot solve a problem when we don’t perceive it as a problem.
- Lack of ownership--It is easy for us to lay blame on others instead of owning it. We all have influence in situations, we just don’t always use it.
- Tunneling-- We adopt tunnel vision because we want to keep moving forward. If we hit an obstacle we want to get it behind us as quickly as possible and continue on.
It is so easy to stay in our rut. As Dan shares, “our schedules are so overloaded that we're so locked in, head down, that we forget that there's even another mode to be in. And yet, if we want our work to improve, it has to be at that level, it has to be at the level of stamping out problems rather than just reacting to them again and again.”
We adapt to irritants, when we don’t have to
Humans are extremely adaptable creatures, we can block out what we don’t want to pay attention to, but that’s not always a good thing. One example Dan gave was this, “I came across this woman who told me she had just been moved physically within her office so she had just taken over a new desk, and her desk was right by a stairwell door. And they're often reinforced so they're heavy doors, and this thing just creaked like crazy and it drove her nuts, and of course a lot of the people around had kind of adapted to it. And a couple of days of this thing just distracting her, she finally just brought in a can of WD-40 from home and generously lubed up the hinges on the door. All the sudden it was quiet, just perfectly quiet and she said her office mates treated her like she had come down from on high. They were just in awe that she had solved this problem. And I think that's a great example of where our capacity to adapt as human beings is actually maybe a little bit too powerful. That we adapt to things in our lives and in our work, and even in our country that we needn't have adapted to that we could have solved with just a little bit of forethought.”
To hear more real-life examples of upstream thinking and get more of Dan's insights listen to the full interview by clicking the play button.
Direct download: Dan_Heath_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:01am PDT
Fri, 1 May 2020
Change is a natural part of life, but it’s also naturally difficult for most people. But in order to make progress in our careers, businesses, and lives, we’ve got to be willing to make changes and be open to new ways of doing things.
There are two types of change: linear and exponential. When most of us think about change, we tend to think about linear change. That means moving forward one step at a time for consistent but small progress. But the pace of change is increasingly so quickly, we really need to be thinking about exponential change.
I love the thought experiment created by futurist Ray Kurzweil. He puts it this way: if you were to take 30 linear steps, where would you end up? Not far from where you first started. In fact, you could likely look back and easily see where you began. But if you took 30 steps exponentially, you would make tremendous progress. After 30 exponential steps, you would end up traveling around the earth 26 times. That’s a massive distance and so far from where you originally started. The difference is simply changing from thinking about linear progress to exponential progress.
We live in an exponential world. Things are changing rapidly, especially with the development and application of new technology. We can’t afford to think about linear change when everything around us is changing exponentially. To be successful, we have to adjust our thinking and take linear and assumptions and adjust them for an exponential world.
The potential for growth is huge by simply changing your thinking. When you consider exponential thinking, you can uncover new opportunities and move yourself forward much faster. It’s time to leave linear change behind and focus on exponential change.
Before Covid-19 sent most of us home to work, the workplace was already rapidly transforming. To help companies navigate this new reality, join Cisco Webex for a live future of work marathon series with customers and industry experts: Remote Work - The Future of Work is Now. Visit https://bit.ly/webex0504 to learn more.
Mon, 27 April 2020
Safi Bahcall is a second-generation physicist, a biotech entrepreneur, a former public company CEO, and bestselling author of Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries. He was also on President Obama’s Council of Science Advisors and it was during that time that he started down the path that would lead him to write Loonshots.
What Safi realized was that there is a better way to change the culture of an organization. When giving his explanation he uses the example of a glass of water. When the water is room temperature you can swirl the water with your finger and it will slosh around. But when the temperature is lowered and the water freezes it becomes rigid and you cannot insert your finger anymore.
He says, “You can think of culture as that pattern of behavior that you see on the surface. You
have a wildly political culture or a very innovative culture. You have molecules that are totally rigid or they're sloshing around. You can think of structure as what's underneath that drives those patterns of behavior. So in a glass of water, a small change in temperature can transform you between those two behaviors. So the reason it matters so much is that no amount of yelling at your employees to, "Hey, everybody, let's innovate more," or, "Let's watch two-hour movies about brotherhood or sing Kumbaya." All of that stuff won't make much difference, just like yelling at a block of ice, "Hey, molecules, could you all loosen up a little bit?" It's not gonna melt that block of ice. But a small change in temperature can get the job done. A small change in temperature can melt steel. And so that's what the core idea is. It's what are those equivalents of the small change in temperature or sprinkling salt in a glass of water, that can have a big impact on the patterns of behavior that you see on the difference between a political culture versus an innovative culture.”
How do you change your organization’s “temperature”? Essentially it is about what the leaders reward and what they celebrate. If you reward rank only, then your organization is going to have a very political culture because everyone is fighting against each other to get a higher rank. On the other hand, if you reward and celebrate intelligent risk taking and results, then Safi says you “naturally create environments where people are pulled to innovate rather than pushed or yelled at from the top to innovate.”
Leaders also need to get to know their individual employees in order to personalize incentives. Not everyone is motivated by money. Some people are motivated by new opportunities, some by having a choice in what projects they work on, some want to get public recognition. The more you can personalize rewards, the better.
Of course, CEOs of large companies don’t usually have the time to figure out what every employee is motivated by, and that is why Safi believes every organization should have a person or a team in place to create and maintain these personalized incentive packages. Just like organizations have a Chief Revenue Officer and a Chief Technology Officer, they should also have a Chief Incentives Officer.
“If you're running a company, which would you rather have? A workforce that's got the best gadgets of anybody in your industry or the most motivated workforce in your industry? Personally, I'd rather have the most motivated workforce. Yet, what companies have as they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Chief Technology Officers. And then, you know HR is sort of a back-office afterthought. But imagine if you thought of it strategically. You have a budget. How do you think just as strategically about using that budget to incentivize your people? Like you do with a Chief Revenue Officer to use your marketing budget or a Chief Technology Officer to get the best product. What if you could make that a weapon?”
What you will learn:
- How small changes can have a big impact on the culture of an organization
- The best way to approach incentives
- Safi’s unique advice for entrepreneurs
- Whether or not we should get rid of hierarchy
- The two forces working in every organization and how to manage them
- What is intelligent risk-taking and why leaders should encourage it
Direct download: Safi_Bahcall_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:57am PDT
Fri, 24 April 2020
When I travel to speak or attend conferences, people are often surprised that I work so closely with my wife. We each run our own business, but we spend most of our day working within just a few feet of each other in our home office. To some people, working in such close quarters with your spouse sounds difficult, but we’ve been able to create a positive environment where we encourage each other and play major roles in each other’s success. It isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely a great situation overall.
Here are my top three tips for working with your spouse:
Take time and space
I won’t pretend that every minute of every day is great. At times, we both need to step away and take a break from each other. It can be as simple as putting in headphones, going on a walk, or taking our work to a coffee shop for a few hours. Don’t feel bad about needing to take time or space for yourself — it’s natural to need a break. The important thing is being open with your spouse and having the agreement that you can take a break when you need so that the other person doesn’t get upset or offended.
Just because you’re working in close proximity to your spouse doesn’t mean you need to be in their business all day. It can be tempting to want to chat with them or ask for their feedback on projects all day, but doing that can be annoying and seriously limit how productive you both are. Set boundaries and respect them. Understand when the other person is working and needs to focus. Just like you wouldn’t bug a co-worker in an office with a question every five minutes, don’t do it to your spouse.
Help each other
One of the best parts of working with my wife is being able to pick her brain and get her help on projects. We ask each other questions and give each other advice regularly throughout the day at times that work for both of us. We support each other to be as successful as we each can be, which is beneficial for our businesses and our marriage.
Working with your spouse can be incredibly rewarding. It’s been a great experience for my wife and I to build each other up as we build our businesses. But it definitely comes with a learning curve. These tips can turn working with your spouse into a pleasant experience that preserves your marriage.
This episode is sponsored by Linkedin Learning, they help employees achieve their goals with insights-driven course recommendations and relevant, high-quality content. If you want a free demo, just visit this page.
Direct download: How_To_Work_With_Your_Spouse_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 3:35am PDT
Mon, 20 April 2020
Dr. Steven Rogelberg is the Chancellor’s Professor at UNC Charlotte. He is a professor of Organizational Science, Management, and Psychology as well as the Director of Organizational Science. He has over 100 publications addressing issues such as team effectiveness, leadership, employee well-being, and meetings at work.
Steven is also the author of The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, which is based on his 20 years+ of research on the topic of meetings.
Most of us have to deal with meetings on a regular basis, whether they are in person meetings or virtual, and they can feel like a waste of time. But Steven says, the solution to bad meetings is not to get rid of all meetings, he says that would be a dangerous approach. “Meetings are really an evolution in the world of work. It's a recognition that organizations can be better with and through people. As organizations basically recognized that employee voices would be helpful and meaningful, they wanted to develop systems and approaches to capture those voices. And that's really where meetings come in. So a world without meetings is actually much more problematic. We need meetings for communication, cooperation, consensus decision-making, and in many regards, organizational democracy takes place in meetings.”
So, if we shouldn’t just get rid of meetings, what is the solution? Steven has found that there are many problems with meetings that we need to address in order to make horrible meetings into great ones. He says, “There's no magic formula for an ideal meeting. The research doesn't suggest that you can do A, then B, then C, and bam, that's the ingredients for an ideal meeting. What the research suggests is that the best meeting leaders have something in common. And what they have in common is a similar mindset and it's the mindset of being a good steward of others' time. And when you have that mindset, you start to become intentional. You start to think about various decision points that exist when you're running a meeting. You just don't dial it in. So you start to ask yourself, "Why are we meeting? What do we truly need to accomplish? Who really needs to be there? What's the best way of getting this work done?" I'm sure we'll talk later about the fact that there are some alternative techniques such as leveraging silence in meetings, that can be very, very powerful. So the key characteristic of an excellent meeting is a meeting that's designed in an intentional way and a way that truly honors the time of those that are attending.”
A few things you can start to implement right now include:
- Intentionally picking a time length for the meeting --don’t just default to 30 or 60 minutes
- Only invite people who are essential to the meeting. If others are interested you can tape the meeting and share it with them later
- Utilize silence in the meeting--this allows ideas to freely flow without interrupting each other and it helps introverts to participate
- The leader should facilitate the conversation, but they should not be the only voice heard, it is important to get everyone to participate.
“When you have a bad meeting, you just don't leave it at the door. It actually sticks with you. You ruminate and you co-ruminate, you have to tell someone else about your bad meeting. So, the consequences of bad meetings for individuals and for teams, and then as a result for organizations is really well-established. But there is a flip side. What we have found is that when leaders are more careful in the calling of meetings, really making sure that they are relevant, when leaders carefully manage time in meetings, and when leaders create freedom of speech in meetings, that employees report feeling more engaged with the jobs overall. While we often think about meetings as being places of drain, meetings done right can actually be places of gain.”
What you will learn:
- A look at the evolution of meetings
- The biggest challenges that meetings bring
- Aspects that the best meetings have in common
- How to leverage silence in meetings
- What steps you can take to have a great meeting
- What to do if you have so many meetings you can’t get work done
- Advice for meeting leaders and participants
Direct download: Steven_Rogelberg_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:27am PDT
Fri, 17 April 2020
Success at work has a lot to do with how you work, but it also relates to how you think. I’ve interviewed more than 300 top business executives and CEOs for my podcast and books and love to pick their brains about how they think and the habits they follow.
I’ve learned that success at work requires everyday effort and constant evaluation. It’s not something you can dedicate yourself to once, but something to be constantly tweaked and updated.
To be successful, follow the example of top business leaders. Ask yourself these three questions at work every day:
- What did I learn today? It’s no secret that the business world is changing rapidly. The things you learned in school or even at a conference a few years ago are likely largely outdated today. To be successful, you must become a perpetual learner. It requires conscious thought and energy to learn something new every day, whether it’s from a conversation with someone, a book, a podcast, or another source. If you start to notice multiple days in a row when you haven’t learned anything, it’s time to re-commit to regular and consistent learning.
- What is the best thing I did today? It’s easy to get hung up on what you didn’t accomplish in a day or the things that could have gone better. Instead, reflect on what you did well. What made you feel good, proud, or accomplished? Practice positivity and gratitude and you’ll be amazed by the positive changes in your life.
- What can I do better tomorrow? Some of the most successful people I’ve talked to are constantly evaluating themselves and tweaking their approach to work and relationships. Even small updates and changes can lead to big progress over time. Taking time to be self-aware and look for ways to improve sets you on a path for continual progress and development.
As a bonus question, ask yourself who you can help the next day. No matter if you’re a manager or an entry-level employee, there are always people you can help. It doesn’t have to be huge, but reaching out to someone and offering a helping hand shows humility and builds relationships.
Asking yourself these questions at the end of every day only takes a few minutes, but the practice of self-evaluation leads to strong self-discipline and continual improvement. If you want to be a business leader, you’ve got to think like one. And it starts by asking yourself these questions every day.
Mon, 13 April 2020
Jonah Berger is a Professor at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a world-renowned expert on change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including a brand new one titled, The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind.
How many times have you tried and failed to change someone’s mind about something, whether it was a family member, a coworker, a friend, or a boss? Jonah says it is because we are going about trying to change their mind in the wrong way. He says, “If you look at a
chair in a room you are sitting in and you wanna move the chair, pushing that chair is often a pretty good approach, right? If you push that chair in the direction you want it to go, it often moves in that direction. But there's one problem, when we apply that same notion to people which is that people aren't chair. When we push physical objects, they tend to go, when we push people they tend to push back. Rather than changing, they often do the exact opposite of what we want. And so what the book is really about is, is there a better way? Could there be a different approach? And if you look to chemistry there actually is. There's a special set of substances in chemistry that make change happen faster and easier. They don't do it by adding more pressure or pushing harder. They do it by removing the barriers to change and those substances which you can probably guess are called catalysts.”
Changing minds is about removing barriers that are preventing the change. In his book Jonah lists 5 key barriers to change.
- Reactance--people resisting change because they feel like they don’t have control
- Endowment--We tend to feel attached to the way we already do things, and that makes it extremely hard to change our ways
- Distance--When we are faced with ideas too far from our current way of thinking they tend to get ignored or we even potentially do the exact opposite
- Uncertainty--It is easier to convince someone to make a change if you can find a way to help them experience the differences the change will bring. That way they can see the benefit for themselves
- Corroborating evidence--Sometimes one person saying change is needed is not enough, you may need multiple sources to provide enough evidence for the change to take place.
So how can you start removing barriers to change in your life and work? Jonah says, “I think the first thing is just to start by finding those barriers, identify those roadblocks, those parking breaks. We tend to have barrier blindness, we tend to ignore them, but in case we don't know what they are, we can't solve them. And so, really start by being more aware of what they are and discovering them. And only then, once we've discovered them, then can we solve them. I talked about five ones in the book. I think those are the five ones that come up again and again and again, but there are others, in different situations, people may experience others and so I would start by understanding those five and then look for others in your own situation.”
What you will learn:
- Five key barriers that prevent change from happening and how to overcome them
- How employees should approach leaders regarding change
- How to move from making decisions based on fear to being more logical
- How we can change our own minds
Direct download: Jonah_Berger_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:30am PDT
Fri, 10 April 2020
The global coronavirus pandemic has brought tragedy in sickness, death, and loss of work. It has undoubtedly changed how billions of people around the world live. But at the same time, it has also changed how we work and potentially sped up the future of work.
From a business context, this global tragedy is forcing organizations to evolve their workplace practices quickly. Companies that perhaps didn’t believe in flexible work options or didn’t have remote work programs in place are now telling their employees they must work from home. And in order to stay productive and keep the business running, these organizations are being forced to quickly adopt workplace flexibility policies. That also means they are upgrading their technology to give employees the tools and resources to work remotely, such as internal collaboration tools, web conferencing capabilities, and security measures to share and protect information.
The mass movement to remote work to protect employees is also forcing organizations to rethink their approach to leadership. Managers and leaders still need to lead employees, even if they can’t see them or now oversee dispersed teams. In many cases, that means evolving how leaders engage with and motivate their teams.
In many ways, this horrible event is a wake-up call for organizational practices and policies that companies need to think of in terms of leadership, technology, workplace flexibility, security, and more. Although it has come out of a terrible situation, this could propel organizations to continue with their flexible work options and have the tools in place for the long term.
After we make it through these trying pandemic times, organizations will have the tools in place for flexible working and know that it works. That doesn’t mean every company with keep their flexible work arrangements, but they will know how to work and lead in a remote environment. If an employee or a team wants or needs to work remotely, the organization will already know how to make that happen, which opens so many doors for both employees and organizations.
Our world is facing difficult times, but changes to how we work could actually propel positive change in the form of better adoption of flexible working and more power to the employee.
Mon, 6 April 2020
Laura Vanderkam is the author of several books on productivity and time management, including Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done and 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.
These days most of us have been forced to step away from our normal routines, and that can feel stressful and chaotic at times. But as Laura shares, it is all about our internal dialogue and how we shape the way we handle the current situation. “It can be easy to tell ourselves stories about the chaos and how crazy it is and how you can get nothing done. But once you have a story in your mind, you start looking for evidence to support that. And so if your story is, Everything's crazy, I can't get anything done, this is horrible, this is terrible, well certainly you can find a couple of stressful moments in any given day, and then now you've got points of evidence supporting your story. But if you start from the story of, Well, this is challenging, but I am a resilient and productive individual, I will get through it, well you can also find evidence of that. You can celebrate little moments like, Wow, I just pitched a huge project over Zoom and it worked, they said yes.That's wow, great. Or, I managed to have lunch with my family. When does that happen on a weekday? So you can celebrate things like that.”
In her book, Off the Clock, Laura shares seven strategies we can use to avoid stress and feel better about the hours we have. They are:
- Tending your garden--we need to cultivate our time the same way we tend to a garden, and the work is never done
- Make life memorable--People feel time is more abundant when they do things out of the ordinary
- Don’t fill time--we are very good at filling time, a lot of times with unimportant things, but it is up to us to be mindful and choose what to do with our time
- Linger--it is important to slow down and notice things. We need to learn to savor our time
- Invest in your happiness--It is important to use our resources to spend more time on things we enjoy vs. things that make us wish time away
- Let it go--Unhappiness stems from a mismatch between expectations and reality. If we can’t change reality, we have to learn to change our expectations
- People are a good use of time--Interacting with others and spending time with people is never a waste of time
Putting these strategies into practice can help us take charge of our time. The fact is time is going to continue moving on whether we pay attention to it or not. It is so important to be aware of how we use our time because then we can pinpoint areas we need to work on in order to make every second count.
Laura’s advice to leaders of organizations is, “People who feel a sense of autonomy are generally far more happy and more productive. So as much as possible, if you can give people some control over their work, over when they do it, over how they work. I'm a big fan of, now we're all working remotely, but I'm a big fan of allowing people to do that from time to time, if that would make them feel better about it. Of letting people set their own hours, if that is remotely possible. And even people who do have to be scheduled for shift, maybe there could be a lot of input into when those shifts are, that people can work with each other to come up with shifts that they are all happy with, that it's not just decreed from above, that it's things people have a say in. And that can go a long way toward making people feel like they matter.”
What you will learn:
- Seven strategies to avoid stress and feel better about the hours we have
- Laura’s thoughts on work-life integration and the hustle culture
- How to change our view of the challenges we face
- How to savor life’s best moments no matter how busy you are
- How to make life memorable
- How to invest in your happiness
Direct download: Laura_Vanderkam_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:19am PDT
Fri, 3 April 2020
3 Ways to Build A High-Performing Team
People everywhere want to unlock the secret to building a high-performing team. After all, your team often makes or breaks the success of your company. When your team works together well, great things can happen. But often teams are slowed down by inefficiencies and difficulties.
From my experience working in a variety of teams and now assembling and leading my own team of 10 people around the world, here are three things you can implement today to build a high-performing team.
- Know strengths and weaknesses. This applies to yourself and the people on your team. Practice self-awareness and know what you’re good at and where you need help, and then find team members to help with your weaknesses. If you’re good at big-picture strategic planning but have a weakness in organization, find someone on your team who has organization as a strength. Optimize the roles people play on the team by keeping each person in their area of strength.
- Set clear and transparent goals. For a team to be high-performing, they have to know what they are working towards. Without clear goals, it’s hard to make progress. Make sure everyone on the team is on the same page with the goals, and be transparent about how and why the goals were created.
- Give and receive constant feedback. Feedback measures if you truly have a high-performing team. Instead of checking in with employees once a year for an annual review, keep an ongoing dialogue of information going back and forth. Let employees know what they are doing well and where they can improve, and let the feedback go both ways so you can continually improve, as well.
These three high-level strategies can have a huge impact on building and developing high-performing teams. By playing to each person’s strengths, setting common goals, and creating feedback loops, you can turn nearly any team into a high-performing team that works together to make great progress.
Direct download: How_to_Build_A_High-Performing_Team_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:39am PDT
Mon, 30 March 2020
Jeremy Gutsche is the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter, a website where people from around the world can share business ideas and trends. It’s basically like a giant innovation focus group. He is also the author of two books, Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change and Create the Future: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking.
As Jeremy points out in his books, it is still possible to innovate in times of uncertainty, which is encouraging with what we have going on in the world right now. He says, “Chaos creates opportunity always. And what happens is that we get intimidated by the doom and gloom of bad times. But actually, if you look in history, what happens is that we get caught in a groove. Successful people get caught in a groove. Successful people are the ones that miss out and get disrupted because we get caught on a path of repeating past decisions. And chaos changes that. So if you look historically, you will see an astounding list of companies that were founded during periods actually of economic recession. Disney, HP, Apple, Burger King, Fortune Magazine, the list goes on and on, I've got about 50 in the book, but these are all companies that were actually started in a period of recession. And of course, this is a difficult time that we're in with Coronavirus. It is going to spark different opportunities, people are trying new things, like more of these virtual seminars, ideas, we're starting to rethink about what's important and why.”
So during this time are there specific mindsets and skills individuals should be focused on in order to deal with these crazy times? Jeremy says it is important to embrace what is happening around us instead of trying to fight against it. We are all going through the same difficult time so everyone will be more understanding of failures or mistakes, but it won’t work to fight against what we are going through, so just embrace it.
He also says we have to be willing to destroy the old way of doing things. “It's a simple note that right now the rules of the game have changed. And if you're willing to just embrace looking into what those new rules could be, combined with your curiosity and insatiability, then you're really well prepared for the future.”
Jeremy has always focused on trends, for his books and for his website. So how can you go about spotting trends? Jeremy says “The trend is your friend and your best guess at where the future is headed is to better understand trends. And I'd say just increasing your knowledge of how trends work could actually have a pretty big impact. And I'll give you two example lessons on that. The first lesson would be, that we tend to use the word "trend" to represent a pretty wide range of things. On one end, there's this super mega trend like the rise of female purchasing power or eco, and those are interesting but they're just so big and everybody knows them that they're not necessarily going to change your mind too much. You're gonna follow them anyways and that's life. On the other end, we use this word "trend" almost incorrectly to describe what's trending on Twitter, and the new little product that's interesting. But actually that's so little and a flash in the pan that you might not be able to do anything with it. So what you're actually looking for would be something in the middle which we would probably call cluster or consumer insight, which would be when you can find grouplings of multiple examples that all show you something that's new and interesting.”
Things you will learn:
- Long term implications of something like Covid-19
- How to innovate in chaotic times
- Why success can be a double edged sword
- What skills and mindsets individuals need right now
- Real life examples of companies who found a way to thrive in difficult times
- How to spot trends
- What leaders can do to support people on the front lines of the virus right now
Direct download: Jeremy_Gutsche_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:01am PDT
Wed, 25 March 2020
You’ve decided it’s time for a change and is ready to switch jobs. What should you do now? Switching jobs isn’t something that should be taken lightly, but if you find yourself in a toxic work environment where you can’t advance, it may be time to move on. After you’ve made the decision to look for a new job, here are three things to consider:
Understand why you want to leave
People leave their jobs for a huge variety of reasons. Before you leave your job, make sure you’re leaving for the right reason, not a superficial reason like there not being enough perks or your desk not being in the right spot. A good reason to leave your current job is if you feel stuck or if you and your manager don’t get along, even after trying to improve the relationship. Changing jobs is exhausting, so before you get in too deep, make sure you are leaving for the right reasons.
In our modern work environment, your skillset is often more important than your job title. Organizations value employees who have the right set of skills. Take the time before you leave your current job to develop skills that will make you desirable and valuable to future employers. Take advantage of programs or trainings your current employer might offer and build a skill portfolio.
Leave on good terms
No matter how rocky the time at your current job has been, don’t burn any bridges on your way out. References and resumes still matter, so try to make things right before you leave. The last thing you want is a disgruntled former boss or co-worker making it difficult for you to move on to a new opportunity with a bad reference or a black spot on your resume.
Remember, you are in control of your career path. If you’re in a situation that isn’t getting better no matter how much effort you put forth, it could be time to switch jobs. Don’t take the decision lightly, and once you’ve decided to go, follow these three tips to ensure your job search and transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Direct download: Best-Tips-For-Changing-Jobs.mp3
-- posted at: 3:05am PDT
Mon, 23 March 2020
Toby Ord is a philosopher and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. He focuses on the big picture questions facing humanity such as global poverty, health, the long term future of humanity and the risks which threaten to destroy our entire potential. Toby is also the author of a new book called, The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity.
How does he research and think about future risks and possibilities? Toby says, “I have looked into a lot of the astrophysics of questions about the earth's lifespan and things like that. And when it comes to particularly the risks that we might face over the next 100 years. Yeah, I've had to read a lot about science and technology and really talk to a lot of experts. That's been a real focus with the book. It looks at a lot of issues in cutting edge science and I really... This is a real area where it's easy to screw it up when you're writing a book like this if you have a great idea about something closer to your own discipline, but then you have to say a lot of things about other disciplines for it to make sense. It's easy to just kind of make it up. So I wanted to really make sure I didn't do that. And I talked to really the cutting edge experts in all of these different risks and I also have them look over the book before it went to print to make sure that I hadn't made any errors and that I was faithfully conveying the cutting edge information about these things.”
In his book Toby breaks up the future risks into three categories:
- Natural Risks such as asteroids, super volcanoes, and stellar explosions
- Anthropogenic Risks such as nuclear weapons and climate change
- Future Risks such as pandemics and unaligned AI
Toby also spends a lot of time advising governments and leaders at organizations around the world. When it comes to the things they are most concerned about Toby says, “So some of this was on my earlier work about global poverty. So trying to understand how we can most effectively help people in poor countries. And some of it has been... Yeah on future trends and technologies and ideas for example, about interest in AI and work. I would like them to always be asking me these other questions about existential risks. These are risks to the entire future of humanity and what they could be doing to protect us. They don't tend to ask me about that. Hopefully, after this book comes out, they will... But my experience when talking to them about those existential questions is that... And they say, "Wow that's really interesting, but it's above my pay grade." And everyone seems to react like this at least up all way through the national level of government. That it's something where it just feels a bit too big for them to deal with. And they're used to thinking about the new cycle the next week or so or about the election cycle. But something that's, that you're talking about, what do we need to put in place such that we can be protected from engineered pandemics in 20 or 30 years time? How do we need to start working now in order to avoid that? It's so far beyond their normal horizons and it's at such a level thinking about not just a country and not even just global level, but the entire future of humanity that they're not really used to thinking about those questions at all. And I'm hoping to make them better at thinking about these things.”
But despite all these risks Toby is not pessimistic. He shares, “We have the potential to have a really great future. It's not a pessimistic book. And I think that we want to with clear eyes see the types of risks see how high they are and then act appropriately and defend our future, so that we can have a great future going forwards.”
What you will learn:
- How Toby goes about determining what the future risks for humanity will be
- A look at some of the most immediate risks we face
- Toby’s view of the future of AI and automation
- How we can think about the big picture without getting overwhelmed
- How we are currently doing when it comes to climate change
- How much technological progress have we experienced
Direct download: Toby_Ord_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:39am PDT
Wed, 18 March 2020
Are you prepared for the future? What about your organization or the people around you? Futurists don’t predict the future, but they do make sure their organizations aren’t surprised by what the future will bring. More people are becoming futurists, especially as the pace of change increases and many organizations look towards the future with uncertainty. But futurists don’t just take a shot in the dark to guess what will happen — their projections are rooted in thinking through multiple scenarios to make sure they and their organizations are as best prepared as possible.
Here are three ways to think like a futurist:
Look for signals
Every day, futurists scan the horizon for things that are coming in the future. These things may seem small now but can turn into major events and developments for the future. Signals could be geopolitical events, technology developments, demographic changes, or a number of other things. Signals come from reading reports, listening to podcasts and talks, researching, and talking to people with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.
Think of implications
From there, futurists consider what the signals could mean. Thinking of implications means taking things one step further, looking at how new developments could manifest in different areas, and considering the potential impact. Things in the future are connected, and futurists work to connect those dots to make sure they understand and are prepared.
There isn’t just one way the future will work out. Organizations and people who only consider one way of doing things won’t succeed in the future. Futurists look at multiple different possibilities and are open to new ideas. They ask lots of questions and run through a variety of scenarios by asking themselves what would happen if they went down a certain path. They follow that path to the end for a long-term view instead of stopping short of letting it fully play out.
Thinking like a futurist takes practice and involves paying attention, having an open mind, and running through numerous possibilities to find potential outcomes and which is the most likely. Getting in the habit with these three steps to thinking like a futurist can put you in the mindset to better understand the future and help those around you prepare for what’s to come.
Direct download: Three_Ways_to_Think_Like_a_Futurist.mp3
-- posted at: 8:02am PDT
Mon, 16 March 2020
Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and the author of a brand new book, The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. Square was founded in response to a problem Jim had in his glassblowing business. He ended up losing a big sale because he couldn’t take an American Express card. So he set out to solve that problem along with his former intern, Jack Dorsey.
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 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.
The reason behind how they beat Amazon, Jim says, “In Square's case, I outlined about 14 things that we were doing absolutely differently from everybody else, 14 separate things and we were probably doing some more subtle stuff on top of that and each of those 14 things influenced each of the other 14 things so it was very complicated but imagine the difficulty of trying to copy 14 things at once and what I do is I just... You need to just fall back to math, you say "Well what are the odds of copying one thing successful?" Well, let's say it's 8 out of 10. Four out of five times you're gonna get it right. You're gonna try to copy something that's been done before, you're a company like Amazon, you got a lot of smart people, a lot of money, you got an 80% chance of nailing it. Okay, great, so that's one thing. Do two things, that's 80 squared or 80% squared so now you've got a 64% chance and you keep adding and adding. Now you're down to the point where the odds of actually going in and successfully copying all of these things which are necessary for the company to succeed is very slim and even a company like Amazon couldn't do it.”
When it comes to true entrepreneurship Jim doesn’t believe is starting with a product or a service. He says it all starts with a problem that needs to be solved. “So if you say somebody has an idea for a thing, I'm not particularly interested but I am very interested in a problem that somebody tries to solve. If somebody says to me, "Hey, I have invented this widget." I don't care. If somebody says to me "Jim, I've got this problem and I am annoyed by this thing and here's how I plan to eliminate that problem." That's fascinating because the elimination of problems, the solution to an existing problem is super fascinating because that's what moves the world forward.”
And Jim shares that innovation cannot happen without failure. So we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. He says, “I see people who I know are capable of doing great things disqualifying themselves. It's not even that they're failing, it's that they're not trying because they sit there and their whole life, they've been conditioned to get this guarantee before they do anything and then you come to the situation where by definition, there are no guarantees. It is impossible to have a guarantee that something that has never been tried before will work. Then the answer is, "Well, don't ever try" but that's insane, right? But we've become so conditioned for this that I figured we needed a way to, first of all, discuss it in a way that allowed people to argue with me. So read the book, use my definitions and then get in my face.”
What you will learn:
- How to get your team to innovate
- Why we’ve been defining the word entrepreneur the wrong way
- How Square was created and how they took on and beat Amazon
- Whether or not you should follow your passion
- How to deal with failure
- Jim’s view on whether or not you can buy happiness
Direct download: Jim_McKelvey_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:35am PDT
Wed, 11 March 2020
Here are three ways to upgrade your technology and improve the employee experience:One of the most important aspects of employee experience is technology. Think of how much your employees use technology every day — it’s a crucial part of every business, and if your company doesn’t have the right technology resources, it can be a drain on the employee experience.
We’re surrounded by great technology in our everyday personal lives, but many employees face the struggle of having to set aside those programs and devices to use slow and outdated programs at work. Consumer-grade technology is tools that are so useful and intuitive that you would use them in your personal life if possible. An outdated computer or a clunky intranet system can be frustrating to employees, lower their productivity, and cause burnout. Employees should have tools at work that match what they use at home and reflect the year we live in.
Video communication and collaboration
More employees are working flexible schedules or connecting with remote teams, so they need technology that can help them work effectively. The best video and collaboration tools allow employees to communicate anywhere on any device. No matter if it’s Slack or an internal chat system, employees should have a way to collaborate beyond just email.
Although it’s not an actual technology itself, flexible work is powered by technology. Modern employees crave a flexible schedule, but an organization can’t offer flexible work without the right technology in place. Things like collaboration tools, video, and task management systems make it possible for employees to work remotely, which can greatly improve their experience.
All companies need technology, no matter what industry they are in. Technology plays a huge role in the employee experience. Focus on these three improvements to create a technology-powered experience for all employees.
Mon, 9 March 2020
Victor Hoskins is the President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. Prior to that, he was Deputy Mayor of Economic Development for the District of Columbia. In his current role, he works hard with his team to attract companies and jobs to the area. Most recently he led the team responsible for winning the Amazon HQ2, which will be bringing anywhere from 25,000 to 37,000 jobs to Northern Virginia.
What was it like to compete for the Amazon HQ2? Fairfax county was one of 238 jurisdictions in the running and their initial proposal was 250 pages long. A few months later Amazon responded with over 100 questions which took 1100 pages to respond to. It was definitely not an easy feat!
When looking at the big picture Victor has been paying attention to two main trends when it comes to talent. The first one is the need for regions to find ways to keep college students in the area after they graduate. In Victor’s region there are 60 universities and he says, “there's a real retention effort that we're launching focused on the kids that are in school right now and connecting them directly to companies, whether that company is Leidos or that company is Booz Allen, whether it is North Broman or Boeing we're trying to connect them directly to the companies as they're going through their undergraduate education because what we find and what I think all of us found is, when you work at a place while you're in school you may be going back to that place or a similar company when you get out of school so really bridging that, making that connection or may not just doing this at the undergraduate level but we also want to look at this at the high school level, trying to get these kids into internships, just to get to understand what companies do and develop their interest early on.”
The second thing he is paying attention to is the need for companies to retrain the talent they already have instead of hiring new people. It makes a lot more sense to utilize the people already inside of your organization who know the company culture, then to hire a new person who has to learn everything from square one.
When it comes to AI and technology, Victor is not worried. We have had many shifts in the way we work in the past, for example there was a day when milk and ice was delivered by horse and carriage, but we have always adapted and created new jobs. He believes we will continue to adapt, create, and learn.
Victor’s advice to students in high school or college is do your best every single day. He says, “I feel like I'm at a job interview every day. Every day, I'm at a job interview, which means that I have a chance to make a good impression or bad impression. Me, I choose every day to make an extraordinary impression. I throw my body and my mind into everything that I do. Listen, I was at that brown bag talking about a book. It was the last thing on earth to discuss before I go six feet under. I mean, to me that was a moment to explain something to them that I do wanted to talk to them about since I got there. And this is, this moment right here, this is the greatest moment in my life right now, you know why? Because you only have these moments so do them in an extraordinary way. Do not be average.”
What you will learn:
- What it was like to compete with 238 jurisdictions to win the Amazon HQ2
- What companies like Amazon and Nestle are looking for in talent
- Workplace and talent trends Victor is paying attention to
- How Victor inspires his team
- How companies are attracting and retaining talent
Direct download: Victor_Hoskins_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:32am PDT
Wed, 4 March 2020
With the growth of AI, machine learning, and automation, many people are worried about their jobs and think everything will soon be run by robots. But no matter how advanced technology gets, there are some things it will never be able to do as well as humans. These uniquely human abilities and characteristics, including practicing empathy, innovation, creativity, communication, collaboration, vulnerability, mentoring, and so much more can only be done by humans. It’s important for humans to embrace their natural abilities and showcase them at work.
Over the past few decades, we’ve been conditioned to leave our natural human abilities outside of the office. But to succeed in the future, we have to embrace these qualities. That means doing things like taking a stand to be vulnerable at work, fighting for something you believe in, and taking the time to coach and mentor someone. A lot of technology now is developed to take over mundane and repetitive tasks. Don’t run away from technology. Instead, leverage it so that you have time to work on more human qualities. Be intentional in how you tackle this. If you can automate a task that usually takes you three hours a week, spend those three hours developing a human quality and encouraging your teammates to do the same. Even if those abilities are hidden deep within us, they can come out and shine with practice.
Technology may be a driving feature in future organizations, but humans also need to be involved. Employees who can tap into these human qualities will be more valuable and in-demand at work. People who are good at communicating, collaborating, and innovating will have more opportunities for growth because people will want to work with them and work for them.
Technology is always changing, but the need to remain human stays the same. To create more value and be successful in the future of work, practice being human at work and encourage others to do the same.
Mon, 2 March 2020
Jason Fried is the co-Founder and CEO of Basecamp and bestselling author of Rework and It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. He has also given a TED Talk titled Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work.
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.”
Anything that cannot get done in 40 hours can wait until the next day or the next week. The reason is 50, 60, 80 hour weeks are not sustainable. In an emergency, they can be done once in a great while, but to keep it up consistently, it doesn’t produce the best results.
Jason says, “I'm sorry, 80-hour weeks if you wanna be in business for a long time. Sometimes you're gonna burn out, or you're gonna burn people out, and it's gonna be very difficult. Okay, maybe you can do it, but it's not gonna be pleasurable, it's not gonna be enjoyable. You're not gonna keep a good team together with you for a long period of time. And you're gonna lose a lot of great people along the way. And I don't wanna lose great people. It's hard enough to find great people. So I wanna keep them happy with the reasonable work hours, challenging work, great people, great environments, and those kinds of things.”
Just because you put in a lot of hours doesn’t mean you are producing good work, you can spend extra hours on bad work. Most of the time the best ideas and new innovations come after people come back to a problem refreshed. Working until you are beyond exhausted and stressed doesn’t usually lead to breakthroughs.
“It's just kind of unusual in the United States, with our work hustle culture that's just I think really damaging and really destroying people over the long term. And I know that, hey, sometimes when you're in your early 20s you wanna put all the hours in, and you want bust your ass and the whole thing, I get it. But the thing is that it's not sustainable. And when you have companies that encourage that kind of behavior when those companies themselves know it's not sustainable, that's almost fraudulent, and I just don't wanna be that kind of company.”
There may be people reading this who are feeling stuck in a situation at work where leadership encourages people to work 60+ hours and rewards those who come in early and stay late. For those people, Jason says you should assess the situation and figure out what you have control over. Can you talk to leaders to get them to change? Can you set an example and change the mindset? If you have some control, figure out how to make it better.
If you don’t have control, it may be time to look for another job. “Most people who profess the craziness and are all in on these long, long, long hustle things, they keep doing it until they can't. They don't choose all of a sudden, like when they're 35, to go, Oh, I don't have to do that anymore. I'm gonna go back to a normal day's work. Because the habits they've built are all built around busy, and packed schedules, and hustling, and the whole thing. So it's very hard to break habits. If that's what you're used to doing, you're gonna keep doing that, and at some point it's going to collide with reality and life. Or it's going to keep you from reality and life. And I think that's really unfortunate too. Work is not that important to keep everything else out of your life.”
What you will learn:
- The problem with the hustle culture
- Why Jason feels work should be capped at 40 hours per week
- What to do if you feel trapped by work
- Advice for leaders who want to give employees more autonomy
- What it is like to work at Basecamp
Direct download: Jason_Fried_Podcats_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 26 February 2020
Is college worth the time and cost? It’s a constant debate, and everyone seems to have a strong opinion on the matter. I regularly see posts on social media about the pros and cons of attending college. While there isn’t a definite answer that applies to everyone, I believe college is still definitely worth the investment.
No matter your career goals, here are three reasons why college is still worth it:
- Networking and Job Skills
Aside from what you actually learn in college, perhaps the greatest benefits are the job and life skills you gain. College teaches life skills like collaboration, accountability, and meeting deadlines, plus valuable skills for any profession, like writing and analytical thinking. College is also a great place to build your network. The people you meet and work with in college can provide valuable connections throughout your entire life. Many people end up starting companies or working with people they met in college.
- Most Jobs Require a Degree
Even though some people believe college isn’t worth the cost, the majority of jobs in the U.S. still require a college degree. A growing number of companies are using AI to sort through job applications and search for keywords, meaning a resume without a college degree could likely be automatically eliminated, no matter how strong the other experience or qualifications. Employers want people who hold degrees because it shows they can stick with something for four years and have skills in the right areas.
Even if your eventual plan is to become an entrepreneur and work for yourself, college is a strong insurance policy. The vast majority of small businesses fail, and you’ll want something to fall back on. Just because you get a degree and have a full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t still be an entrepreneur. Starting a business as a side hustle and then transitioning to being a full-time entrepreneur is a safer option and only available if you have a college degree.
The education system isn’t perfect, but the benefits of going to college still far outweigh the costs. A college degree is incredibly valuable, no matter if your plan is to climb the corporate ladder or make it as an entrepreneur.
This episode is sponsored by my friends at Conga, the company that’s helping people spend less time on manual work and more time on the projects they love. If you’re tired of endless paperwork and manual processes, make sure to check them out at http://bit.ly/congaddxg
Mon, 24 February 2020
Michael Bungay Stanier is a bestselling author of The Coaching Habit and the upcoming book, The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious & Change the Way You Lead Forever, which comes out on February 29. He is also the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations transform from advice-driven to curiosity-led.
If you’ve had the chance to read The Coaching Habit you know the seven essential coaching questions, but Michael’s newest book builds on top of that and helps readers figure out how to take steps to stay curious and change behaviors.
Michael shares that the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is the advice monster. What is the advice monster? He says, “the advice monster is that thing that keeps looming up going, "No. No. No. I know you think you're curious but let me just pull you back onto the dark side, and have you lurking into telling advice and offering solutions and being the person with the answer." And everybody listening in right now knows this experience, somebody starts talking and you don't really know what's going on. You don't really know the people involved. You don't really have the context, you certainly don't have the technical specifications required and after about 10 seconds, you're like, "Oh, oh no, no. I've got something to say here. No, no, no, stop talking." And if you recognize that at all in yourself, and you do, you know you do. This is your advice monster. It's the pattern of behavior that has you going, "The way I add value is I jump in and I provide solutions.”
And while human nature is to think our advice is good, that’s not usually the case. And Michael shares three main reasons why giving advice isn’t the best course of action.
- We try to solve the problem
- Your advice isn’t as good as you think
- Sometimes it is better to let people solve their own problems
The answer is to be curious a little bit longer and take a more coachlike approach. “It is not a bad idea to just as a philosophy to go, "Look, even if I have good advice, what if I just shut up? Not forever, not for days, not for months, but just a little bit longer." That's how we define coaching, or being more coach-like. Can you stay curious a little bit longer? Can you rush to action and advice-giving a little bit more slowly? That's it. It's like coming back to this idea, that there's a time and a place for advice, it's not just as fast as you think it is.”
What you will learn:
- What is the advice monster and how do we become aware of it
- How to develop the coaching habit
- How the role of leadership is changing
- Some myths about coaching that we need to overcome
- How leaders can become more effective coaches
Direct download: Michael_Bungay_Stanier_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:23am PDT
Wed, 19 February 2020
No matter if you work for yourself or in an organization, time management is one of the most essential skills you can master. Managing your time makes you more productive and opens the door to new personal and professional opportunities.
Here are three proven strategies to manage your time effectively:
- Understand Where Your Time Goes
You can’t manage your time if you don’t know how you currently use it. When I first started working for myself, I would get to the end of the day and realize I hadn’t accomplished anything substantial. My time had been spent doing smaller things that pulled at my attention. But I had to come to that realization before I could make changes and have a frame of reference of how to manage my time. Spend a week keeping a journal of where your time goes. Track what you’re doing throughout the day and what is happening. You may be surprised at certain patterns or distractions that can lead to major time management changes.
Some people claim that multi-tasking is the most efficient way to get things done, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every time we switch tasks, our brain needs time to refocus, which makes us less productive overall when we’re pulled in different directions. Batching tasks is grouping things together and doing them back to back. You might batch your writing or brainstorming tasks and do them in the same block of time. I batch checking my email and social media to certain times of the day to avoid distractions.
- Prioritize The Most Important Tasks
Start each day by prioritizing the three most important things you want to get done that day. There is always more work we can do, which can feel overwhelming and pull you in multiple directions. Prioritizing your top tasks sets the direction for the day. When you’ve accomplished those things, no matter how long it takes, you know you’ve been successful. As you master this strategy, you can extend it to the top four or five things for the day.
Time management comes with practice. Try these strategies to find what fits your work environment. When you can control your time, you’ll find you get more done, have more energy, and can enjoy more time doing things you enjoy.
Direct download: How_To_Manage_Your_Time_Effectively.mp3
-- posted at: 2:15am PDT
Mon, 17 February 2020
Dr. Denise Trauth is the President of Texas State University. She is currently in her 18th year leading the university. Prior to that Dr. Trauth was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Under Dr. Trauth’s leadership, Texas State has experienced its largest construction program since being founded in 1899, became a federal Hispanic-Serving Institution, was designated a Texas Emerging Research University, has been reclassified as an “R2: Doctoral University – Higher Research Activity” under the Carnegie Classification system, and moved up to NCAA Division I.
Dr. Trauth and her team at Texas State make sure they are staying in touch with industries in the area in order to provide the most relevant and up to date education for students. She has noticed two big trends currently impacting the business world. She says, “What we see in particular is that business is being impacted by two factors in particular: One is technology, and the other is globalization. And those two factors have a big impact on everything we do. It might not be terribly apparent in every single one of our academic programs, all 200 of them, but it does infuse the way we think about curriculum, the way we approach curriculum, and particularly, how we think about adding degree programs or getting rid of existing degree programs.”
Technology impacts every aspect of our lives, so it’s not surprising that it is changing the way students learn. And while Dr. Trauth doesn’t believe that face-to-face learning will be going away anytime soon, it is important to utilize technology in education.
“We have configured the classrooms differently. That's one thing. All of these classrooms obviously are capable of having lots and lots of technology, whether you're talking about the individual devices, or you're talking about the devices the instructor is using. What that means is, all of our new buildings and a lot of our older buildings have been converted. So there's lots of places to plug in and recharge, that makes a big difference. The other big difference is what we're calling, Makerspaces. We have about five or six Makerspaces across our campus here in San Marcus and also our campus in Round Rock, where students can do everything from 3D printing to manufacturing some kinds of prototypes for classes. A lot of opportunities; lasers, laser printers, lots of opportunities for students to make things.”
Globalization is also impacting the future, for the good and the bad. As Dr Trauth shares, “What's happening on the other side of the world has great implications for us and the implications are widespread. Starting with the cultural implications. Our students, more and more, are working with... When they graduate and they go to work, and we try to replicate this on our campuses, that they're going into a very diverse environment, where people don't all think alike. Where people certainly don't all look alike, and it's important that we educate our students to go into that kind of a world where there's just a lot of different ethnicities, races, religions, philosophical backgrounds, political parties. That's all now a part of a college education. So that's kind of where it starts for us, is educating our students for this cultural diversity that if they haven't experienced it in the university, they're gonna experience it when they go to work”.
Dr. Trauth’s advice for leaders who want to stay relevant is two-fold. First, she says it is important for employers to reach out to universities to get involved, especially by joining advisory boards. Secondly, employers should be tolerant of educational differences. Students may be different than the employer, but that is a good thing.
What you will learn:
- What the future of education looks like
- Big trends Dr. Trauth is paying attention to in the world of education
- How education leaders are planning for the future of learning
- What skills and mindsets employers are looking for in prospective hires
- How technology is impacting education
- How to teach students to be lifelong learners
- Advice for employers, leaders, and individuals looking to stay relevant
Direct download: Dr_Denise_Trauth_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:21am PDT
Wed, 12 February 2020
Chances are, at some point over the course of your life and career, someone will shoot down a project or idea that you’re passionate about. Hearing No is a part of life and something everyone faces. The difference between success and failure often comes in how we react to hearing No.
I recently had the chance to interview former GE executive Beth Comstock. She told a story about an idea she had for a project early in her career. She did her research and presented it, only to be told No. But Beth didn’t give up there. She re-worked her project and presented it again. Again, she was told No. This happened over and over — Beth made adjustments to her idea, listened to feedback, and then went back to present. Over and over she was told No.
Finally, a top executive told her Yes. When she asked why he said it was because she had made it impossible to say No. Her persistence had paid off and her idea finally came to fruition.
In the business world, No really means Not Yet. Don’t let one person’s opinion of your ideas get you down. It simply might not be the right timing for your idea. The most successful leaders encompass the growth mindset and look at challenges as opportunities instead of roadblocks.
Hearing negative feedback about your idea can be difficult, but it can also be powerful inspiration to prove the doubters wrong and deliver amazing results. That comes from not giving up and continuing to push, even when you hear No.
Not Yet is very different from No. Follow Beth’s example and re-work your proposal and make adjustments. Don’t give up. Eventually that No can turn into a Yes.
This episode is sponsored by my friends at Conga, the company that’s helping people spend less time on manual work and more time on the projects they love. If you’re tired of endless paperwork and manual processes, make sure to check them out at http://bit.ly/congaddxc
Direct download: In_Business_No__Not_Yet.mp3
-- posted at: 2:10am PDT
Mon, 10 February 2020
My new book, The Future Leader, comes out on February 26th and it is based on interviews I had with over 140 CEOs around the world. In the book the two questions that I wanted to answer were: Is the leader of 2030 going to look that different than today? And if so, how is that leader actually going to look different?
To find out the answers to my questions, I interviewed CEOs around the world from organizations like Mastercard, Unilever, Audi, Best Buy, Oracle, Kaiser, SAP, Koc Holding, Enel, Carnival Cruise Lines, Dominos, Dunkin’ Brands, National Grid and many others. I also teamed up with LinkedIn and we surveyed 14,000 employees around the world. And this gave me a very good picture around what the future leader is gonna look like.
And what I found out from these interviews was that most of the top CEOs around the world believe that while there are going to be some attributes that remain the same for leaders of the future-- things like being able to create a vision and execute on strategy-- they also believe that business leaders are going to need to arm themselves with a new set of skills and mindsets in order to stay relevant.
Why do they need a new set of skills and mindsets? It's because our organizations are going to look fundamentally different over the next 10 years than they do now because of technology and artificial intelligence, because of things like purpose and meaning that employees care about, globalization, the changing nature of talent, etc... And because our organizations are going to look different, it makes sense that we are going to need a new type of leader to guide and lead these organizations over the next 10 years and beyond.
So what I created after interviewing all these CEOs is something that I call The Notable Nine, a collection of four mindsets and five skills that leaders of the future will need to succeed.
The four mindsets are:
- The Explorer: This includes practicing curiosity, being a perpetual or lifelong learner, having agility and nimbleness in your way of thinking, having a growth mindset, and being open-minded.
- The Chef: As a future leader, in 2030 and beyond, you are going to have to balance ingredients, and there are two ingredients that you as a future leader are going to have to balance. The first ingredient is technology and the second ingredient is being purpose-driven and caring.
- The Global Citizen: As a leader you must think globally and embrace diversity
- The Servant: Leaders need to know how to serve their team, serve their customers, serve their leaders, and serve themselves. There is more to being a servant leader than we usually talk about
The five skills are:
- The Futurist: Making sure that you can think in terms of possibilities and scenarios.
- Yoda: This one is all about emotional intelligence--specifically empathy and self-awareness
- The Translator: Listening and communicating with all of the channels that you have access to--email, video chats, text messaging, Slack, Facebook at Work, etc….
- The Coach: You need to believe that your job as a leader is to help make other people more successful than you are
- The Technology Teenager: Leaders must be tech savvy and digitally fluent just as today’s teenagers are
These are the four mindsets and five skills I want you to teach your team, to everybody in your organization. That's it. Four mindsets, five skills. If you can do this and teach others these things, I'm very confident that you will become a future ready leader and you will be successful. And by the way, success doesn't just mean making money. It means having a positive impact on society, on the world, on communities in which you serve.
To order the book or learn more about it, go to getfutureleaderbook.com.
What you will learn:
- What it will take to be a successful leader in 2030 and beyond
- A look at the global leadership gap (leaders around the world think they are doing much better than they really are!)
- A look at the insights found from Jacob’s interviews with over 140 CEOs around the world
- The trends shaping the future of leadership
- The greatest challenges future leaders will have to face
Direct download: Jacob_Morgan_Special_Podcast_-_2.10.20.mp3
-- posted at: 12:42am PDT
Wed, 5 February 2020
It’s a pattern that has been around for decades. Once a year, employees gather their accomplishments and projects for the past 12 months and talk with their managers and HR representatives to plead their case of why they’re a valuable asset to the company. At the end, they may get a few suggestions for improvements and maybe even a raise. Then it’s back to work until the same time rolls around next year and it all starts again.
Annual performance reviews are standard in many organizations, but the way they’ve always been done can be incredibly detrimental to the overall morale, productivity, and engagement at a company. There’s no absolute answer to if your organization should have annual performance reviews, but here are three things to improve the process:
Ask your employees. Many organizations are quick to kill traditional annual performance reviews without asking their employees. Take a survey and hold focus groups to find out what employees are looking for and the format they prefer to receive feedback. You may be surprised with the results.
Provide regular feedback. The main downside of traditional annual performance reviews is that they only happen once a year. Waiting to give feedback until months after a project is inefficient for everyone. Instead, provide employees with regular feedback. That can happen with daily check-ins or with more formal meetings between employees and managers on a weekly or monthly basis. Regular feedback addresses issues in real time and helps keep things moving forward. With a feedback schedule, the annual performance review becomes more of a meeting to provide a raise and plan steps for the future.
Build relationships. In organizations with engaged employees, annual performance reviews are a collaborative meeting instead of a scary situation where employees have to prove their value at the company. Managers and employees should work to strengthen their relationships for more open communication. A trusting and transparent relationship can remove the fear from the annual review and create a more positive work environment.
Every organization needs to consider their own employee review process. What works for one company might not work for another. Follow these three tips to improve the process and find the right solution for your organization.
Mon, 3 February 2020
David Marquet is the bestselling author of the 2013 book, Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders and the new book, Leadership is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say and What You Don’t, which comes out on February 4th.
David was in the Navy for 28 years and he was ultimately selected to be captain of a nuclear submarine. And it was during his time as a captain of the USS Santa Fe that he changed his leadership style and that change led to him writing his first book.
What does David mean by “leadership is language’? He explains that while there are a lot of professions that require a person to work mainly with their hands, in leadership, because it is always about other people, leaders interact through words--face to face, emails, company statements, annual reports, etc...As he says, “the magic of leadership is that by changing your words you will change the world around you because if you ask a question a different way, you'll get a different answer.”
In his book David gives six plays that all leaders should use to improve how their teams operate. He says a big problem with leaders today is that they are trapped in an industrial-age playbook. In the industrial age leaders gave commands and employees followed, and that was it. But that way of leading is no longer effective, it is outdated.
The six plays are:
- Control the clock, don’t obey the clock--Pre-plan decision points and give your people the tools they need to hit pause on a plan of action if they notice something wrong.
- Collaborate, don’t coerce--As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion.
- Commit, don’t comply--Rather than expect your team to comply with specific directions, explain your overall goals, and get their commitment to achieving it one piece at a time.
- Complete, not continue--If every day feels like a repetition of the last, you’re doing something wrong.
- Improve, don’t prove--Ask your people to improve on plans and processes, rather than prove that they can meet fixed goals or deadlines.
- Connect, don’t conform--Flatten hierarchies in your organization and connect with your people to encourage them to contribute to decision-making
David also explains the uneven “share of voice” that happens inside of so many organizations. Inside of meetings leaders tend to talk the most, which is not good. It is something that leaders need to be aware of. He says, “As a leader, you don't need to say a lot because you already know what you think and when you start talking, you're anchoring the group. Basically, the idea is you're bringing them to your way of thinking, which is what you think you wanna do but it's actually not. What you want to do is understand how they think and what they think, and at the end, you can decide what to do, whether you could do what they wanna do or what you wanna do, that's fine. But it's after uncovering what everybody thinks.”
What you will learn:
- The real life example of how David changed his leadership style while captaining a nuclear submarine
- Why employees should talk more than leaders
- 6 plays for all leaders to implement to improve how their team operates
- How to embrace variability, instead of reducing it
- How to foster a culture of collaborative experimentation
Direct download: David_Marquet_Podcast_-_DONE_1.mp3
-- posted at: 12:38am PDT
Wed, 29 January 2020
Motivation is key to your success at work. Your boss can try to motivate you, but in most cases, you can’t rely on anyone else and have to find your own internal motivation. No matter if you work in an office or remotely for yourself, everyone needs help from time to time finding motivation to push through and be productive.
Here are three effective ways to motivate yourself at work:
Start every day with an idea of what you want to get done that day. Setting goals gives your purpose and direction instead of just wandering around trying to find something to do. Goals can be big or small. I like to set large goals, smaller daily goals, and mini goals. For example, my large goal could be to write a book, so I set a daily goal to write for an hour. As I’m working on that goal, I can set a mini goal to write 500 more words. Setting goals pushes you in new directions.
You’re more likely to be motivated and productive if you feel the work you’re doing is useful. It can sometimes be a struggle to find meaning, especially in routine tasks, but connecting the work you’re doing to a bigger purpose can be incredibly motivating. Tell yourself stories about how your work impacts people and the world. You can also find opportunities to do things you like by volunteering for new projects and groups. Take time to talk to people and build relationships because we often find meaning from the people around us.
Find something to motivate yourself and work towards as a future reward. The most important reward is to simply acknowledge the great work you’ve accomplished. Use positive self-talk to celebrate what you’ve accomplished instead of getting stuck on all the things you have yet to do. Rewards can also take other forms like eating something, taking a break, or buying yourself something.
Staying motivated can be the difference between a fruitful, productive career and merely skating along and counting the hours until the day is done. Take control of your own motivation with these three tips to keep you engaged and productive all day long.
Mon, 27 January 2020
Bruce Daisley is a former Twitter VP and bestselling author of the forthcoming book, Eat Sleep Work Repeat: 30 Hacks for Bringing Joy to Your Job, which comes out February 25th. Bruce also has experience working for Google and YouTube.
There are some statistics that show that only 13% of employees are engaged in their jobs. Why is that? Bruce says it is because, “If you have a look at status, higher power is dis-inhibiting. What I mean by that is if you watch people who are bosses, people who are presidents, people who are high status individuals, they generally are unencumbered by this sort of self-consciousness that the rest of us fail. And the correlate of that, the flip side of that is that lack of status is inhibiting, meaning that when we have no position in the hierarchy, when we are junior, when our opinions are told that they don't matter, it means that we repress how we feel. And you observe this more and more, countries that have strong hierarchy generally find that their workers are less engaged, because when they've got less input into decisions, when they've got less contribution to make, they generally think, "I can't get anything done here." So they're gonna repress their emotions. And so you observe this, one of the most hierarchical countries in the world is France, and worker engagement is one of the lowest, 3% of French workers describe themselves as job. I mean, it's a number so low that it makes you go back and check the methodology. But it's the same methodology they use around the world, and yeah workplace engagement is really low, we feel like we're bowing to our bosses.”
So how do we fix the problem? When it comes to fixing workplace culture there is the big picture, which means changing the policies the company has in place such as flexible working arrangements. But there is also the little picture--simple changes that individuals can make to improve day to day work.
Bruce gave some examples of some of the simpler things that we can implement right away to make work better. One thing is walking meetings, where instead of sitting down in a one on one meeting people can take a walk around the building inside or outside while meeting. This can break up the routine, allow people to get up and move around, and it may even produce more creative ideas.
Another example he talked about was moving the coffee machine or the water cooler because of the research that shows face-to-face conversation empowers workplace productivity. If there are teams who don’t normally interact moving the coffee or water can spark those conversations to start.
“I think the reason why the book has ended up being the best selling business book of the year in the UK, is because these changes are so simple, that anyone can stage their own intervention. They can say, Actually, we could do two of these things next week.”
What you will learn:
- What it's like to work at Twitter
- Why are so many people not happy with their jobs
- Who is responsible for your happiness at work?
- Simple things that can be implemented to improve productivity and happiness
- What happens if your managers just shut all your ideas down?
- What is a monk mode morning
- Bruce’s thoughts on the hustle culture that we're seeing
Direct download: Bruce_Daisley_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:29am PDT
Wed, 22 January 2020
For decades, most people believed there was just one path to career success: climbing the corporate ladder. Everyone was expected to start in an entry-level role, pay their dues, and get promoted as they worked their way up the organization. That was the only way it was done, and no one questioned it.
Thankfully, today we have many more options and fewer people spend their entire careers working their way up the corporate ladder. With new technology and opportunities, each person can build their own career ladder to chart their own path to success. For some people, that could be staying with the same organization, but for other people, the career ladder they create could involve becoming an entrepreneur or working for multiple companies.
Building your own career ladder comes with countless possibilities, but it also requires work and vision. Here are five way to build your own career ladder:
Knowledge has never been more plentiful than it is today. We have access to tools and resources to learn almost anything we want, and we can do it inexpensively. If you want to make a career change or learn a new skill, you no longer have to go back to school and invest tons of money and time. If you want to learn how to code, write a book, lead a team, or practice yoga, there’s a way to do that. Keep learning and developing your skills. Find things that interest you and skills that will make you a valuable asset. The more you know, the more directions your career ladder can take you.
Become a subject matter expert
Social media makes it possible to share messages and information with the masses. Use these resources to become a subject matter expert. Find a topic you’re passionate about or an area that is often overlooked and make it yours. You can post articles and thoughts on your own social media platforms and especially on the internal platforms within your company to showcase your knowledge. When people in your organization see your expertise in a certain area, it builds credibility and can open doors.
Build your personal brand
What do you want to stand for? A personal brand is what people think of when they think of you. It can range from being a great public speaker to being the go-to person for organization or personal finance. Decide your brand and build it by learning, sharing, and participating in conferences and conversations. A strong personal brand adds power to your career ladder.
Start a side hustle
A career ladder doesn’t have to stay within an organization. You can become an entrepreneur or at least test the waters with a side hustle. If you have a great idea, go for it. Take advantage of the resources available to you and branch out into something new. You might find your side hustle becomes a full-time startup and makes you a full-fledged entrepreneur.
Find a mentor
You’re in charge of your career ladder, but you don’t have to do it on your own. Find a mentor you trust who can give advice and act as a sounding board. They can provide connections to build your network and strengthen your ladder.
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t the only way to career success. You have the power to build your own ladder and create your own path — but it requires work and dedication.
What are you doing to build your own career ladder?
Mon, 20 January 2020
Marissa Andrada is the Chief People Officer at Chipotle, a very popular restaurant chain with 2,500 restaurants and 80,000 employees. Prior to Chipotle Marissa had led HR for companies such as Starbucks, Kate Spade, GameStop, Red Bull, and Universal Studios.
Marissa has seen quite a few changes in HR over the past 10-20 years. One of the biggest changes she mentioned is a shift in leadership. Purpose, vision, and values have been around in theory for awhile, but it wasn’t until recently that companies took these words from something on a poster in the hallway to something that companies actually live out through leadership. And employees can tell when leaders are actually living out what they talk about in company meetings or if it is all just talk.
When it comes to tenure in restaurants, a lot of times employees are coming and going frequently. Although Marissa shares that tenure at Chipotle has increased, she also says they understand that not everyone will stay at the company long term, and that’s OK.
Marissa says, “We've introduced so many new things that I believe are just leading edge for restaurant and retail, and we believe that, for example, debt-free degrees, we believe that first and foremost, that we are investing in and creating future leaders for Chipotle and for our restaurants, and ultimately the company. And if not, we're creating future leaders for the world. I think there's a responsibility that companies have especially one as large as ours is not only to do well, but also to do good in the world. And so that's how I answer that question like that's why we do it.”
Chipotle has also moved away from the traditional annual performance review. They now have what they call a 4x4 conversation, which is a meeting that happens four times a year (at least) where managers ask employees four questions. The four questions are:
- What are your most significant accomplishments since we last met?
- What are the most important things you will focus on before we meet next?
- What obstacles are you encountering right now?
- What can I do better or differently as your manager to support you?
Marissa shares, “It's interesting when we first introduced the first 4x4 conversation, we just said, "Have a conversation," and people were freaking out going, "Where's the form? What do I fill out?" And then at the year end, they're like, "Where's my form? What do I fill out?" And we just kind of said, "Hey, we're all learning this together. At minimum, we want you to have this conversation. If you feel like documenting it, do it." And so that was what we did at the Restaurant Support Center. But then for our crew members, what we created was just kind of a template to walk through those four questions. But it also helped people to understand, "Hey, here's what I'm held accountable for," but it's not a traditional performance review form. It's really highly customized for that employee. And so that we have a different spin on that and that it's in a very Chipotle way and not a traditional performance review.”
What you will learn:
- What first drew Marissa to HR
- How they scale their values and culture across 80,000 people
- What Marissa is most excited about regarding People Experience at Chipotle in 2020
- The unique way they approach performance reviews
- Some specific mindsets and skills they look for in potential leaders
- How new employees get onboarded at Chipotle
Direct download: Marissa_Andrada_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:57am PDT
Thu, 16 January 2020
If you’re like most people, you often get caught up in your work and personal life. You’re busy every day with new activities, goals, and the mundane tasks of work and life. It can be hard to find time to be curious when you’re busy with all your other activities.
But curiosity is vital to our creativity and success. Curiosity allows us to solve problems, uncover opportunities, and have fun. It’s the curious people who shape the future.
So how can we balance our daily lives with the need to be curious? It comes down to making time to be curious. For most people, it takes real effort to set aside our daily tasks and allow our minds to wander and think of new possibilities. Here are five ways to make time to be curious.
- Schedule it in. The most basic tactic is to simply schedule time to be curious. If it’s on your calendar, you’re more likely to actually do it. Scheduling in curiosity time can come in many forms, from giving yourself a few minutes to step away from your responsibilities to finding a new hobby or creative outlet. You don’t have to block out hours at a time—even just a 15-minute block can make a difference. And the more you schedule time to be curious, the more you’ll find yourself naturally becoming more curious.
- Watch or read something new. Get out of your rut and watch a new movie or show you wouldn’t typically watch. Find a documentary, TED Talk, or podcast on a subject you know nothing about. Read a book in a genre you don’t typically read or a non-fiction book about something completely new. Let your mind ask questions as you read and wonder about the things you see.
- Let your mind wander. Give yourself time to simply relax and let your mind be free. For some people this means meditation, while others let their mind wander while they spend time outside or exercise. Forget your to-do list and let your thoughts go wherever they want. Take time to dig deep and really think about things and different possibilities. You might find yourself on a completely new thought or question than where you originally began.
- Explore with a partner. You might need the buddy system to become more curious. If you’re afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, try doing it with a friend. Find a new hobby or explore somewhere new together. Even just walking in someone else’s shoes can open your mind to new perspectives and curious possibilities.
- Talk to new people. Most of us fall into the trap of simply searching online when we have a question, getting the answer, and moving on. Instead, try talking to new people. Find someone who is an expert or who can answer your questions and have a real conversation with them. You’ll likely go beyond where your internet search would have taken you. Talk to people wherever you go, listen to their ideas, and think of things from their point of view.
People are naturally curious, but those tendencies often get squashed and replaced by to-do lists and busyness. Finding time to tap into your natural curiosity and building the skill can drive your personal creativity and innovation and help you create the future of work.
Direct download: Are_You_Finding_Time_To_Be_Curious.mp3
-- posted at: 5:00am PDT
Mon, 13 January 2020
Rita McGrath is a professor at Columbia Business School and author of the new book, Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen. She was also recently ranked #5 on the Thinkers50 list for her work in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship and for being a champion of harnessing disruptive influences for competitive advantage.
What does it actually mean to see around corners? Rita says it’s not about predicting the future, because predictions are hard, but it is about paying attention to signals. She says, “it's more about expanding your range of possibilities that you're considering, and then really being prepared to challenge your own assumptions. And I think that's really where the seeing around corners part is so valuable, because if you think about it, any business grows up with a set of assumptions about what's possible and what's not. And what an inflection point does is it really changes the nature of those assumptions.”
Companies have to be able to pay attention to possible disruptions that could affect the way they do business. But what tends to happen is companies get comfortable doing the same thing and they think as long as it is working now, it will continue to work in the future. Companies such as Blockbuster and Toys R Us didn’t pay attention to signals all around that would have allowed them to adapt with the times and because they failed to pay attention they are no longer around.
Rita explains that the way to keep a lookout for inflection points is to think of a disaster scenario that would have a huge impact on your company and then work backwards from that “time zero event” to see if it has merit. For example, for someone working at a business school an example of a scenario would be students lose interest and employers don’t really care about business degrees. So the time zero event could be 50% of all existing business programs shut down, working backwards what would have to happen for that to take place?
And by looking at all the evidence you can figure out either this is not a likely scenario at all so just forget about it, or it is a very real possibility so what can I do to shift my strategy.
So what can you start doing now to improve your ability to “see around corners”? Rita says, “I think the first thing is this idea of the edges, that you really need to embed ways of learning about what's happening, that isn't right in front of you, that's farther out. Go to conferences that aren't directly related to what you do, maybe take a training course. Today, you can learn almost anything in 10 minutes a day on YouTube, and that's really interesting. I read a lot. I actually... One of the reasons I really like my Twitter feed, and to some extent, LinkedIn, is a lot of the people that I interact with introduce me to sources I wouldn't necessarily have run across on my own. And I think that's another kind of interesting practice. I would say, this takes time. Now, it doesn't take huge amounts of time, but if you're spending every waking moment nose to the grindstone, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, you're much more vulnerable to missing things than if you give yourself a little bit of that imagination space.”
What you will learn:
- What it means to see around corners
- Why leaders struggle to see around corners
- How to spot inflection points and avoid downfalls in business
- Real life examples of companies who survived disruption
- How is the role of CEO going to change in the next 5-10 years
Direct download: Rita_McGrath_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 8 January 2020
As AI and automation grow, employees are concerned for their job security. Adding to that fact is uncertainty about the unknown future of work and what it will take to succeed over the next decade and beyond.
There are lots of ideas of what it will take to future-proof your career, but the simplest and best thing you can do is this: be a coach and mentor.
All leaders should be coaches and mentors, but it’s not just limited to leaders. Employees at all levels can find people to coach and mentor, either at work or outside of work. A coach is different from a traditional boss. A coach gives honest feedback to their mentee, pushes them, unlocks their potential, and removes obstacles from their path. In fact, the ultimate goal of a coach or mentor is to make the person they’re mentoring more successful than them.
This isn’t how it’s always been. It used to be that leaders and managers sat at the top of organizations and pushed down anyone with talent who threatened their success. Today, we’re seeing more leaders embrace the coaching and mentoring philosophy. And it’s the best thing they could do for their careers.
As technology becomes more prevalent and starts to automate tasks and take over parts of our companies, what helps us stand out the most is our ability to be human. A machine will never be able to coach or mentor as well as a human, which means coaches and mentors will have a role in any organization. Every company would love to have an employee, no matter if they are a junior associate or a top executive, who cares about people enough to help them on their way and bring them to greater success. All it takes is a human who wants to help others.
The future of work is uncertain and can be scary at times. But the need to be human and help other people will always exist. If you want to future-proof your career, start by finding someone to coach or mentor.
Mon, 6 January 2020
Tom Rath is a bestselling author and researcher who has spent the past two decades studying how work can improve human health and well-being. He has written several books, his newest one comes out in February and it is titled, Life’s Great Question: Discover How You Contribute to the World.
Tom set out to write this book as a result of his personal reflections over the last several years. He says, “I've really been personally reflecting on, given my own health challenges and threats and my mortality, what are the most important things for people to get focused on? In particular, most of my writing and research is focused on that nexus of people and organizations, and how can we help people to lead better lives through the organizations that they're a part of? And one thing I've observed after 20 years of, kind of following this area is that we're often so quick to look inward and think about self-development and our own brand and how we can improve personally, and the more I have studied these topics, my big takeaway is that we can get more done and life is less stressful and more liberating when we find real concrete ways to focus almost all of our energies on the contribution we're making to other people”
The book addresses topics such as how to separate our identity from our job title, why following our dreams is not always the best approach, and the things teams need to address in order to be effective.
One thing Tom has observed over the years is that the relationship between organizations and employees is broken. Why? Mostly because the basic structure of organizations today is outdated and ineffective for the modern age. It no longer suffices to bribe employees to work with monetary rewards, people today want more than that. They want purpose and meaning in the work that they do. They want to feel that they are contributing something to the organization and the world.
As Tom shares, “I think the question is how quickly can we get to a place where each of us as individuals and organizations start to say, "Are we producing people who are better off when they go home at night?" They're healthier and they're more financially secured, that does matter. They have better relationships with their family members because they chose to be a part of this organization.”
But this isn’t just up to the organizations to fix, individuals have a role as well. “Each of us has the responsibility to make sure that we're not tolerating a job or a work that's making our lives worse at the end of the day than we were when we showed up in the morning. And we need to start to ask some of those critical questions, ask the people around us, ask your best friend or your spouse, "Do you think I'm a better person because I'm doing this job right now versus where I was a year ago?" And sometimes they can help hold up a mirror where we need it as well.”
What you will learn:
- Why Tom first started writing, even though it is not what he originally planned on doing
- How he approaches his day to day work and life
- What’s wrong with the employee-organization relationship and how do we fix it?
- Advice for leaders who want to be role models
- How to discover what you contribute to the world
- Why following your passions and dreams is not the best approach
Direct download: Tom_Rath_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:03am PDT
Wed, 1 January 2020
Like most people, I’m constantly bombarded with requests from other people in both my personal and professional lives. I’m asked to meet friends for coffee, attend a conference, conduct an interview, answer questions for someone — the list goes on and on.
I used to say yes to everything because I didn’t want to miss out on making a new connection. But over time, I felt myself becoming exhausted and depleted. I could never meet my own goals because I was spending all of my time helping other people. So I started saying no. It was difficult at first, but I learned that in order to see my own professional and personal success, I had to invest time in myself. When you say no, you’re really saying yes to something you want to do. Something for yourself that gives you purpose and meaning.
As we become more connected with new technology, we’ll be even more inundated with requests. Learning how to say no is one of the most valuable things we can learn. You don’t need to be rude, but you also need to stand up for yourself. Here are three tips for saying no:
Think of the most important things that you want to protect. Be selfish. If you really want to write a book or start a new business, decide from the beginning that you’ll say no to anything that gets in the way of those goals. With pre-determined boundaries, you don’t have to think about every offer but can quickly say yes or no.
Don’t say maybe if you really want to say no. Be firm in your response and don’t leave the door open for the possibility that you might change your mind.
Don’t offer an explanation
Don’t feel like you have to give an excuse or explain yourself. Offering an explanation leaves the door open to saying yes in the future. If you feel you have to add something after saying no, give an alternative like introducing the person to someone else who could help.
Learning how to say no is an invaluable skill for both your career and personal life. With practice, you can start saying no and start saying yes to yourself.
Mon, 30 December 2019
Dan Helfrich is the Chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting, where he has worked for over 20 years. Although he had always wanted to be a sportscaster, once he graduated from Georgetown University, he had a choice between broadcasting and consulting and he ended up choosing consulting. And that choice has led him to where he is now, which is leading a team of 56,000 people.
Dan is very passionate about diversity and inclusion, which seems to be at the center of a lot of conversations today inside of organizations. Dan says, “I actually think some are talking about it as a theme, and I think that's wrong. Diversity and inclusion is an imperative, not a management fad, and not something to pay lip service to. And what we're doing is, we are putting diversity and inclusion, and I view those as related concepts, but that have distinct elements to them. We're putting that at the center of everything we do, we're striving for increasing the representation of our teams on a ton of dimensions, in terms of gender, and in terms of race, and in terms of sexual orientation, and in terms of veterans, and in terms of parents.”
So how does he make sure that diversity and inclusion is part of the DNA of an organization with a team of 56,000 people? First of all, Deloitte puts all of their leaders through unconcious bias training. Also, at the end of every meeting Dan personally asks two questions to the group--how can this team be more diverse and how can this team be more inclusive?
As Dan shares, “No team is ever diverse enough, and no environment is ever inclusive enough. And so, opening the conversation to that set of topics unleashes a whole lot of great thinking and a whole lot of dialogue that creates comfort level in an organization about talking about things like race, and talking about things like different ages in the workplace, and what that means, and what the implications are. And that, I have found to be incredibly powerful.”
His suggestion to leaders or even individuals inside of organizations is to ask questions and be curious. He says we need to be vulnerable and we should always seek to improve ourselves and our cultural awareness.
As a CEO Dan sees himself as a “captain”. He says, “I've played competitive sports my whole life, and there's many different ways that I see people showing up as the chief executive of an organization. The way I view it is, I've been bestowed a responsibility by a group of peers. And the best captains aren't necessarily the best players. They have leadership characteristics to coalesce and make the team perform at an optimal way, but there are superstars on my team that are way better than me at a bunch of different... A bunch of different dimensions of being a consultant. And I show up as a captain, knowing that I get the privilege to lead a group of peers, but I never forget that I'm serving that group of peers, and that's how I think of the role.”
What you will learn:
- How Dan leads a team of 56,000
- How to candidly talk about diversity and inclusion inside your organization
- What makes a great leader
- How Dan makes tough choices
- Examples of how Dan has used empathy in his career
- How Dan fosters an environment of inclusion with the large number of individuals on his team
Direct download: Dan_Helfrich_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:29am PDT
Wed, 25 December 2019
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s a question I’ve asked of hundreds of CEOs and top business leaders around the world. They almost always tell me the same thing: they don’t have a typical day. Every day is full of different activities and meetings. If you want to follow in the footsteps of some of the most successful business leaders, avoid having a typical day. These people still have habits and commonalities throughout their days, but they avoid falling into the routine of doing the same mundane things every day. Avoiding a typical day can make you more creative and energized, which is good for your sanity and the success of your business.
So how do you avoid having a typical day? Here are five tips:
- Get out of the office. It’s easy to fall into the same routine when you’re in the same place all day, every day. Get out of the office and take your work on the road. Work from home or a coffee shop or even a communal workspace in your building. Visit customers and distributors. Take your team for an off-site meeting. Changing your scenery can change your mood and outlook.
- Find a hobby. Try to find time every day to pursue a hobby. Having something to look forward to after work can motivate you to try something different at work. The hobby can be anything from cooking to exercising to basket weaving. Hobbies break up the monotonous schedule and get your creative juices flowing.
- Avoid screens. One of the quickest ways to get sucked into a mundane routine is to spend all day looking at a screen. In our connected world, it may seem impossible to put your phone, tablet, and computer away, but it can be a good exercise in creative thinking that pushes you outside your regular day. Give your mind a break and spend screen-free time talking with people in person and seeing other parts of the business.
- Talk to new people. Open your mind to new ideas and people. Invite a new co-worker out for coffee or just swing by the desk of someone you usually only communicate with via email. Face-to-face communication builds relationships and expands your network beyond just the people you see every day.
- Change your schedule. Try mixing up your day by changing your schedule. Even small changes, like waking up 15 minutes earlier to run or read before work, can be a nudge to get out of your routine. If you normally do something after work, try doing it before work. Change your weekly meeting time, stay up late, or take a longer lunch break. These small changes can propel your day to something new.
Avoiding a typical day can get you out of a rut and help you be more connected and creative. These five simple steps can move your typical day to an unexpected and unique, atypical day.
Direct download: You_Shouldnt_Have_A_Typical_Day_Heres_Why.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Mon, 23 December 2019
Barri Rafferty is the President and CEO of Ketchum, a leading global public relations firm serving clients in over 70 countries. Ketchum has been named PR Agency of the Year and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive Campaign of the Year Awards.
She became the first female CEO of a top-five global public relations firm at the beginning of 2018. In total, she has worked for Ketchum for 24 years. When asked what her leadership style is, Barri says, “My goal is to bring out the best in the people that work for me. So I feel like as a leader, I'm very much of a coach. I go... I move really fast, so I have to trust the people around me. And I really encourage us to all collaborate and work together. We have a lot of debate on... Any leadership team I ever have, I always think if people aren't debating and pushing back on me and there's not a few raised voices, or curse words every now and then, that it's probably not a good thing, right? We've gotta get in it, but we lock arms when we get out. And I also think I am a very nurturing leader too in a lot of ways. I still write birthday and anniversary cards, do personal gifts for the holidays”
As a leader Barri believes that communication is crucial. Having open, honest communication between employees and leaders really makes a difference in the culture of an organization. One of the ways she listens to her employees is through Glint Pulse surveys that take place three times per year at Ketchum. These surveys allow her to see what issues matter to employees and one issue they are focusing on currently is workplace flexibility.
In order to fully embrace this flexibility Barri understands it is important to make employees know it is available and allow them to take advantage of it without feeling bad about it. They have implemented flex February where everyone shares pictures of where they are working remotely on the company’s social media. They also believe in “Leaving Loudly” which means that instead of trying to sneak out or be quiet about leaving early due to a doctor’s appointment, child’s recital, family event, etc...you should tell people and feel good about it.
Diversity and inclusion is also very important to Barri and her team at Ketchum, especially as they are helping organizations create a message and reach potential clients. So they are working hard to make sure they have diversity in age, race, gender, location, political views, backgrounds, etc…
When asked to give advice to anyone looking to be a better leader, Barri says, “I would say build a style that's authentic to you, right? I think if you have to put on one persona at home, and one persona at work, it's hard to be an authentic leader. So if you can build it from your personality, some of us are introverts, some of us are more introverts some are more expressive, some are more amiable, right, you have to start with that foundation and then build around it the leadership skills, but if you can show up at work as a leader true to your core, I think you're gonna be a better leader, no matter what.”
What you will learn:
- How to build confidence as a leader
- How Barri keeps up with the fast pace of change
- A look at how the company fully embraces workplace flexibility
- How Ketchum is removing bias from the hiring process
- How Barri describes her leadership style
- A look at how Ketchum upskills and trains employees
Direct download: Barri_Rafferty_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 12:30am PDT
Wed, 18 December 2019
Employee experience is the next big battleground for organizations. It’s crucial for building a place where people want to come to work because they are engaged and satisfied, not just because they have to be there. Many people think that employee experience is determined by executives, but in reality, it is something employees at all levels can control and shape.
A few decades ago, employees didn’t have any power. If they were frustrated with something at work, their only choice was to go home and complain to family and friends because they could make any real changes. But today’s world is different, and employees now have the power to shape their own work experiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entry level employee, mid-level manager, or executive. Here are five things you can do to shape your employee experience:
- Talk to your manager. Have open and honest conversations with your manager about what you like about your experience and what you want to change. Don’t just complain; come with a solution. If you want to have more regular performance reviews, come prepared with a schedule and set time for regular feedback.
- Let your voice be heard. Speak up at work to make real change. Many organizations send out employee surveys to measure engagement and get suggestions. Respond to those surveys with thoughtful comments and share your ideas at focus groups and town hall meetings.
- Volunteer. Get involved in your company by joining employee feedback groups or beta testing groups. Put yourself in a position to learn more about the company and share your ideas with the change-makers.
- Use social media. Social media has given employees more power than ever before. Websites like Glassdoor allow employees to leave reviews and comments about their companies, and many organizations pay attention to what employees are saying. Use social media to share your experience and include suggestions for improvement.
- Rally co-workers. If you want to see a change in your experience, chances are your co-workers do as well. If you have a great idea, run it by your co-workers and see who you can get on board. Your voice is more powerful with more people behind it, so use your collaborative thinking to gain traction for change.
Don’t just complain about what you want to change at work; take the steps to make real change. Employee experience isn’t about the organization designing an experience for you, it’s about you designing an experience with your organization.
Mon, 16 December 2019
Martin Boehm is the Dean of IE Business School, one of the world’s leading higher education institutions. It is based in Madrid, Spain, but most of their programs consist of 80-90% international students.
The business school was ranked the 3rd European Business School by Financial Times, 1st Worldwide Distance Online MBA by QS, 1st Business School in Europe and 3rd in the world by The Aspen Institute, and 3rd Non-US MBA Business School by Forbes, just to name a few of their awards.
Education hasn’t changed much over the past 100+ years and it is becoming more apparent that we are in desperate need of change in this area. With all of the technological advances, the evolving workforce, and an incredibly face pace of change in the world today we have to update our way of educating to allow students to prepare for the future of work. And that is just what Martin and his team at IE Business School are doing.
One thing that has to change is we have to move from simply imparting knowledge and facts to students to helping students develop skills. In order for students to be prepared for the future they need to have skills like learning agility, curiosity, collaboration, problem solving, etc...So that instead of focusing in on one certain career path they have a wide set of skills that allow them to continually adapt and reinvent themselves when needed.
We are no longer living in a world where a person can study a specific field in college, graduate with a degree, and then work for the same company for 25, 30, or 40 years. With AI, automation, and new job creation individuals need to have a different set of skills and mindsets while in school as well as after graduation.
As Martin shares, “I think we have to reinvent ourselves or we're going to have to reinvent ourselves over our career multiple times. Maybe you might've heard people talk about the so-called T model, right? Where they actually say, well, education is about having a broad foundation. I mean some basic skills and then the T is essentially about, I have to specialize and become an expert in something. Right? And that's going to serve me for the rest of my life over the next 30-40 years. I'm going to, that's what I'm going to be doing. I think what we're going to have to do is we're going to have to evolve from this T model to more of an M model or W model, which means, I mean there's going to be multiple times and throughout your lifetime, throughout your career where you might have to reinvent yourself and specialize in something.”
So who is responsible for keeping individuals consistently learning and upskilling? Martin says that learning does take some “intrinsic motivation” on the part of the individual. We as individuals need to do our part to find ways to learn new skills. We cannot leave this up to universities and organizations.
But organizations do not get a free pass either. Martin says, “For instance, if I as a CEO, if I as an organization understand that my company is going or my industry for the matter of fact is undergoing a fundamental transformation that is going to leave many of my employees and their skills as obsolete. I think I have an obligation. I think I have a responsibility as well to push them, to help them to actually transform in line with the industry in order to be able to acquire these skills in order to remain and stay relevant.”
What you will learn:
- What is the IE Business School
- How education is changing and why it is critical that it changes now
- How types of degrees could change in the future
- How the IE Business School is experimenting with education technology
- Martin’s advice on what to major in or what degree to focus on
- Steps we can take to become lifelong learners
- What today’s organizations are looking for when recruiting new graduates
Direct download: Martin_Boehm_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:17am PDT
Wed, 11 December 2019
Believe it or not, there’s more to life than work. When we’re stuck in the repetitive day-to-day where the majority of our time is spent at work, that can be hard to believe. Many people struggle with separating themselves from work and focusing on other things. But the truth is that we don’t live to work; we work so we can live.
Everyone is unique, but everyone has more in their lives than just work. How do you discover your life outside of work? Try these five tips:
- Set boundaries. Work tends to expand to fit whatever time we have to get it done. Without limits, you may let yourself work all the time and feel like you have enough work that it needs to take all that time. If you set boundaries and decide you’ll leave the office or be done with work at a certain time every day, you’ll have more time for other activities and will likely find you can still get your work done in less time.
- Build relationships. For many people, one of the biggest parts of their life outside of work is relationships with other people, such as a spouse, kids, friends, or a significant other. Relationships of any kind encourage you to get out of the work mindset and enjoy time with other people. It could be meeting up with friends or making it to your kid’s soccer game. Building those relationships will motivate you to get out of the office.
- Find your passion. A hobby is a great way to decompress after work and fill your life with a meaningful pursuit. Hobbies come in all forms, from exercising or baking to reading or knitting. Try something new and step out of your comfort zone. If you’re stuck without a hobby, think about where your thoughts go when you let them wander or the type of websites or magazines you peruse when you have a little free time.
- Help others. Philanthropy and charity work is a great way to fill time. There are always ways we can help others in our communities and around the world. Volunteering and getting involved in charity work can provide a sense of purpose that acts as a motivator to step away from work.
- Set goals. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years? Consider your whole being, not just where you’ll be in your career. Then set goals to get there. It could be learning a new skill, traveling somewhere new, or pushing your body with a new activity. Goals are powerful motivation tools to keep your progress on track.
Even though work is a big part of our lives, ultimately, we’re working so we can live happier, more engaged lives. We’re not working so we can just work more. Find those relationships and activities outside of work to turn you into a balanced and happy person—both at work and at home.
Direct download: Theres_More_To_Life_Than_Work_Render_1.mp3
-- posted at: 4:23am PDT
Mon, 9 December 2019
Nir Eyal is the bestselling author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products (2014) and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life (2019). He started and sold two tech companies and he has taught at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design. He has been studying and writing about behavior design and habit formation for many years and he became fascinated with how technology persuades people to do things they normally wouldn’t do. This is ultimately what led him to write his bestselling booked Hooked.
Nir’s newest book came about as a result of his search for a solution to a problem he had with staying focused and getting things done. Nir says, “Hooked is about building good habits, Indistractable is about how do we break bad habits.”
Being distracted is not a new problem. These days we tend to place the blame on technology, social media, smartphones, etc… But as Nir points out, “People have always been finding ways to escape boredom. So it's not a new [being distracted]... I don't think that it's necessarily a technology problem. I think that what's changed is that if you are looking to escape, it's easier than ever, that you can find that escape because it's just sitting here in our pocket.”
Since the beginning of time people have been distracted by the news, by gossip, sports, movies and so on. Technology is something to turn to when we want to be distracted, but it is not the cause of our problem.
For example, during Nir’s 5 years of research for the book he found that one of the root causes for distraction in the workplace is a toxic corporate culture. When people are unhappy at work, when they feel like they have no say, when they feel like the work they do is meaningless they turn to distractions, and a lot of times they not only distract themselves, but they distract everyone around them.
Nir says that there are three attributes of companies who have an indistractable workplace culture. They are:
- They give people psychological safety
- They give employees a forum to talk about problems and issues
- The management exemplifies what it means to be indistractable
“When people do work in these type of toxic work environments with high expectations and low controls, the reason they get more distracted and get less done is because of that workplace culture that, in fact, by giving people agency and control over their time, ironically, they become way more productive because what are we doing, we're increasing their agency, that characteristic that's missing, the low control. Now we have high expectation with high control. That's a great work environment...The first step is to lead by example, follow the tactics in the book. There's hundreds of things that you can do, one at a time, you don't have to do everything all at once, but one at a time, you can start instituting these practices to become indistractable yourself to lead by example.”
What you will learn:
- A look at the root cause of distraction in the workplace (hint: it’s not technology)
- The three qualities of a company that has an indistractable workplace culture
- How to balance important things and urgent things
- Four steps to becoming indistractable
- Why Nir hates to-do lists
- Nir’s simple advice for leaders
- How to overcome distractions in the workplace
Direct download: Nir_Eyal_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:00am PDT
Wed, 4 December 2019
When was the last time you were noticed at work? Did you get recognized at a meeting or even just receive a compliment from a boss or colleague for a job well done? It can be difficult to get noticed at work, especially in large organizations. With lots of moving parts and ongoing projects, it takes effort to stand out and be recognized. It also comes with risks. There’s always the possibility that a big step to get recognized could backfire or a project could end up not being as successful as anticipated. But those risks are worth taking because being noticed is crucial for your career.
People who get noticed will grow and thrive in the future of work. They’re the people managers turn to when a new opportunity arises and they have a chance to grow and develop. Of course, it’s important to do good work simply to be a good employee, but it also helps to get extra recognition.
How do you get noticed at work? Make yourself visible and stand out. Here are three tips to getting noticed for the right reasons:
Don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re never going to get noticed if you sit in the back and don’t make your voice heard. Ask questions in meetings, start discussions, and ask for feedback. Share ideas on the organization’s internal collaboration system and join existing conversations. Give feedback and compliments to your co-workers, especially after big meetings or deadlines.
Nearly every company has some sort of employee group or needs beta testers. Be the first to volunteer, even if the job doesn’t seem glamorous. The jobs no one wants can be the most beneficial because it shows you aren’t above helping. Volunteering introduces you to new people and helps you look like a team player.
Don’t be scared to take on projects outside your comfort zone. Try to say yes more than you say no. When a new opportunity comes along, take it and hit the ground running. Your enthusiasm and boldness won’t go unnoticed. Pitching your own projects can even take it one step further.
Getting noticed at work helps build your personal brand. It creates and adds to your professional identity, which will be essential in the future. It takes a strong brand to have a future-proof career. Putting in the effort to step outside your comfort zone and get noticed at work can pay off with great opportunities, a larger network, and better prospects in the unknown future of work.
Mon, 2 December 2019
Diane Hoskins is the co-CEO at Gensler, the largest global design and architecture firm with over 6,000 professionals across 50 offices. You may have seen some of the structures they have worked on, including the Shanghai Tower, the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, the Microsoft headquarters in Ireland, the Ford Foundation Center in New York, and countless others all over the world.
When speaking about the work that Gensler does, Diane says, “We bring insight-driven and research-driven design solutions to some of the most challenging and most amazing opportunities out there, all around the world. Working with leading companies in the tech industry and governments, and law firms, and organizations all over the world and also projects like airports, and sports stadiums and hospitality and even health and wellness. And really bringing a full 360 understanding of really the transformation of live, work, and play. And our deep research is helping us to bring insight into the design solutions that we offer with a goal of, at the center, really at the center of all of our work is the human experience.”
Traditionally we have thought of workspaces as a place where people just show up to work, but it is really so much more than that now. It’s no longer just a space where we go from 9 to 5, because of the integration of work and life that is happening. As Diane shares the workspace is what allows people to connect, collaborate, share, innovate, and make a difference. A workspace should reflect the culture, the mission, and the purpose of the organization. This is a major shift that is taking place in workspace design.
The old debate between open and closed spaces in the workplace is quickly becoming something of the past. It is becoming more apparent that it is a diverse work environment that is what makes the most sense. It’s important to have a mixture of open spaces that encourage collaboration and interactions as well as some closed spaces for phone calls, meetings, and individual work.
Gensler is utilizing a lot of new technologies to help design workspaces that make sense for the needs of their individual clients. The ability to use data sensors, wearables, and algorithms in the design process is something that couldn’t have been done years ago and it is impacting the future of workspace design.
So with all of these updates and changes, how do you keep your workplace relevant for years to come? Diane says, “There used to be a lot more specific design around the process, almost this idea of taking apart the process and then overlaying that on the floor plan and designing each department in its own way, and really looking at the actual work activity. And with the rate of change of what people do, and how companies are transforming, to your point, you basically can design something that will be obsolete you in a year, six months, or two years. And so the the understanding of what work is and how people work, is less about the process, which is probably a little bit more of a factory mindset, and more about, as we were talking earlier, it's about really supporting individual work, group work, and the organization itself. And ultimately then, there's total flexibility to be able to then support any work process, any new type of offering that that organization is going to bring to the markets, new kinds of people they may be bringing in, different generations and so on and so on.”
What you will learn:
- A look at the new role workspaces play
- How real estate impacts climate change and how Gensler is addressing the problem
- What role technology plays in workspace design
- What it’s like to work at Gensler
- How to keep your organization’s workspace relevant for years to come
- A look at the future of workspace design
Direct download: Diane_Hoskins_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:26am PDT
Wed, 27 November 2019
Humans have changed naturally over time. There’s a reason we don’t live in caves and work over fires any more—we’ve found a better and more efficient way. Human evolution didn’t stop with technology or modern times. We’re still changing and evolving as we find better ways to do things and as our values and concerns change.
Many people think of employee experience as something that just happens at work. Organizations want to create a great environment where employees are happy to come each day, but they only think about what happens during normal business hours and only for things that are work-related. That’s the old way of thinking.
Employee experience relates to every aspect of a person’s life, not just their time at work. When they feel engaged and empowered at work, they likely feel calmer and more confident outside of work. They know they are welcome to bring their true selves to work without judgement, and they don’t feel the pressure of dividing their lives into strict boxes between their personal and professional time. The lines between work and home are blurring as a part of human evolution. Work isn’t something we do from just 9-5. It’s a part of who we are, but it isn’t all that we are.
Human evolution has also led to a greater emphasis on sustainability, health, and social causes. We build habits in these areas in our personal lives as more people try to create healthy and meaningful lives. But in many cases, those habits aren’t supported at work. In order to match the personal expectations employees bring with them, organizations need to change to create an all-encompassing employee experience.
Human values and thoughts are changing. People expect more out of their jobs and lives, and the two areas are no longer completely separate. That’s the nature of human evolution: our desires have grown and improved over time. In order to develop a strong and sustainable employee experience, organizations need to become more human and consider all aspects of their employees’ lives. Employee experience isn’t just a work thing—it’s a human evolution thing.
Mon, 25 November 2019
Don Tapscott is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman at the Blockchain Research Institute and bestselling author of 16 books. His most recent book is Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World.
Don has been on the Thinkers50 list 5 times, most recently in 2017 when he was ranked #2 on the list. He also wrote the afterword for my 2012 book, The Collaborative Organization.
At the Blockchain Research Institute, Don and his team study hundreds of cases and stories within 15 industries in order to document the strategic implications of blockchain. Because of this research they are able to help leaders in business and government navigate the blockchain revolution.
Why do we need blockchain? As Don explains up until now we have had intermediaries such as banks, brockers, credit card companies, governments, etc… in order to make sure that assets are safe. But these intermediaries are getting hacked and they sometimes have processes that are outdated, lengthy and costly. That is where blockchain comes in.
The intermediaries will not disappear altogether, but the value will change. He says, “I think the opportunity to create new value, may be bigger than the old disintermediation. I mean, look at... Barnes and Noble suffered, but look at Amazon, it's the most valuable company in the world now. It's in the middle, right in that space. So I said, "The problem is, the leaders of the old middle are not typically the ones to create the new middles." So what happens to these people? Well, we're of the view the future is not something to be predicted, it's something to be achieved. It depends on what they do. And traditional people in the middle, I'd say Western Union, I wouldn't think that they have a huge chance. I don't know the company very well, but I don't see a lot of signs that they're trying to innovate a whole new model for remittances globally, using this technology. So it's really up to you.”
Blockchain still has a long way to go, it’s still, as Don says, “relatively immature”. It’s going to take awhile to fully implement it, but it is still a profound advancement and it is definitely going to impact the way we live and work.
Don’s advice to individuals and leaders is to be curious and look into blockchain to learn what you can about it. He says if you run a large corporation it doesn’t matter what function you are in--whether you are the CEO, in HR, even in marketing--you will be affected by blockchain and there will be big opportunities to utilize it.
What you will learn:
- What is blockchain and how is it impacting the future of work
- Don’s advice for the younger generation currently in college
- The implications of AI--will they be positive or negative?
- A look at specific trends that are forcing organizations to take blockchain more seriously now
- Don’s advice for both non-leaders and leaders on what we should be doing about blockchain
Direct download: Don_Tapscott_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 2:21am PDT
Wed, 20 November 2019
The world of work is constantly changing. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is how we attract new talent. It used to be that whenever a company had a job to fill, people would line up to interview. They would share all of their qualifications and accomplishments to show the company why they should work there.
Things are different now. Just because a company has a job opening doesn’t mean people are automatically lining up to fill it. When potential job candidates come in, they’re more concerned about making sure the organization is the right fit for them instead of proving why they would be the best new employee. Instead of candidates convincing companies why they should work there, companies now have to convince job candidates why they should work for them.
What makes a potential employee want to work for an organization? They want to feel confident the company is the best fit for their interests, values, and skills. Job candidates want to be convinced in the following areas:
- Sense of purpose. Potential employees want to know the organization’s values and culture align with their own values. They want to feel a sense of purpose and know the work they are doing makes a difference. Companies that are the best at attracting top talent showcase their sense of purpose and make it evident in everything the company does.
- Tools. What technology and software do employees use? Is it updated regularly? Employees want tools that allow them to get their jobs done well instead of being held back by slow or outdated supplies. A company that uses consumer-grade technology and is regularly updating will have an easier time convincing job candidates they are the right place to work.
- Space. The physical space can tell a lot about an organization. When coming in for an interview, job candidates often want to walk through the space to get a feel of the company. Are co-workers collaborating, or is everyone working in silent cubicles? Is the layout welcoming? Physical space is one of the most tangible ways to showcase a company’s culture and can make a huge difference in how potential employees feel about the organization.
- Leadership. What’s the organizational structure of the company? How involved are leaders? Job candidates want to know if leaders are open and transparent, or if the company follows a more outdated hierarchal structure. They likely want a manager who encourages open communication and who can become a mentor of sorts.
In today’s competitive talent landscape, companies need to convince people why they should work for you. Take time to showcase your company and ensure your culture, technology, structure, and physical space align with what job candidates are looking for.
Mon, 18 November 2019
Ben Marcus is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Airmap, a company that develops the digital infrastructure, standards, and services for drones to fly safely at scale. Basically they create the digital highways that allow for drones to fly. He grew up near an airport and was always fascinated with aviation.
He became a pilot, a flight instructor and eventually a flight test engineer who certified planes. And it was while he was learning to fly that he began his journey to come up with the idea for AirMap.
Ben says, “When I was a flight instructor flying over Los Angeles, I used to fly every day, and have a student next to me, look down at the freeways, and they're jammed packed with people. These cars are just stopped, and I felt so bad for all these miserable people stuck in traffic and I'm the only one up here in the sky. And I was like, "Why is there not more people in the sky with me?" And so, I've dedicated my life and my career to helping extend the benefits of flight to more and more people in their daily lives.”
So what do drones have to do with the future of work? The fact is drones are already being used in a lot of industries to help with cost savings, employee safety, and training. Ben gave an example of how the telecommunications industry is using drones to help with the process of inspecting their antennas. This process is usually dangerous for human workers as well as time consuming, but now the drones are easily and safely able to take video of the equipment that employees can then review to ensure everything is working properly.
In the future we will also see drones used in more science fiction-like ways. Ben believes that drones will have a huge impact on the world of talent because we will be able to fly to work. This will change how organizations think about where to put their headquarters and how individual employees think about where to live.
“If you can fly to work, you can avoid all of that lost productivity, all of that expense, and you can basically live where you want. If you can fly at 100 miles an hour instead of being stuck in traffic at 20 miles an hour, you could live five times further away and have the same commute time. So I actually think that this is gonna lead to a de-urbanization trend and I think it will counter a lot of the negative consequences that have come from urbanization. I think we can have a lot more green space, we need far fewer parking lots and fewer roads. We can have a much more environmentally sustainable way of life going forward. So that's a really exciting future.”
Ben’s advice to business leaders is if you haven’t started working with drones yet and implementing them in ways across your organization, you should start now, because your competitors are most likely already working with drones.
“Many of these large enterprises that have been experimenting with drones are now moving from an experimentation phase into a scaling phase where they maybe have had a drone initiative in their innovation department and they're now moving that across the enterprise and figuring out how they can really make this a part of their workflow, how the data that's collected from drones can be integrated into their ERP systems, how do you really make this a part of the fabric of how our company operates? That's happening now in a lot of businesses across lots of industries all around the world. So, it's not too late, but you should get started right now.”
What you will learn:
- How Ben got involved with drones and AirMap
- What do drones have to do with work, jobs, careers and the business world
- The impact drones will have on the world of talent
- Some cool examples of how drones could affect our daily lives
- How to ensure drone safety
- What listeners need to know or think about when it comes to drones
Direct download: Ben_Marcus_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:54am PDT
Wed, 13 November 2019
When you’re at work, do you spend more time hearing or listening? They may seem similar, but the differences between just hearing and actually listening are astounding. With all the technology and distractions we have today, it’s crucial for us to be able to take a step back and really listen to what’s being said. As automation and AI become more prevalent at work, listening is a distinctly human attribute that sets us apart. Robots and technology can hear, but they can’t truly listen.
How do you move from hearing to really listening? Here are three tips:
- Practice active listening
Most people can tell when someone is actually listening to them and when they’re distracted and not really paying attention. It comes down to active listening. Hearing is a passive action, but really listening is active. To practice active listening, eliminate any distractions. Put your phone down, step away from the computer, or go into a quiet room. Make eye contact with the person speaking and show you’re paying attention and interested in what they’re saying. Active listening turns a conversation into a collaboration, not just a one-way street.
- Try to apply and understand
Shift your mindset to try to find value in what each person says. When you listen to understand, you start to see things from their point of view and can have your horizons expanded. Really focus on how you can understand and apply what the person is saying. The extra effort will increase how well you remember the conversation details in the future and make you a better listener.
- Focus on more than just your response
Many of us fall into the trap of focusing on what we’re going to say next instead of actually listening to the person speaking. We’re thinking of a counterargument or a point that will make us look good instead of actually focusing on what’s being said. If you need to respond to something, set those thoughts aside and focus on just listening to the speaker. Then take a few minutes after the conversation to gather your thoughts and craft a response.
The old saying, “Hearing is through the ears, listening is through the mind” has never been more true. To thrive in the future, organizations need to stay human, and that starts with employees and leaders who focus on the uniquely human attribute of listening. Listening instead of just hearing turns you into a better employee, leader, and individual. Put these tips into action to stop hearing and start listening.
Direct download: Stop_Hearing_And_Start_Listening.mp3
-- posted at: 4:11am PDT
Mon, 11 November 2019
Chuck Kosal is the Chief Transformation Officer at Deloitte Tax, the tax function of the global firm Deloitte. Deloitte has a total of around 312,000 employees around the world and the tax function is made up of around 12,000 of those employees. They were actually named “Americas Tax Technology Firm of the Year” for the 2nd year in a row by the International Tax Review.
Deloitte’s mission is to create digital innovation that helps its clients adapt to accelerating globalization, increased regulatory and business complexities and other significant transformational changes in the corporate landscape. And in order to accomplish this the organization has to continually evolve to keep up with the needs of their clients.
Part of Chuck’s role is to help the organization navigate change and transformation. This can be a very challenging task because people tend to resist change. Chuck says, “You think in any conversation people always embrace change, they talk about how they want things to be better, how they want things to be different, but the reality is often, human nature is they want everybody around them to change, they think what they're doing is pretty spiffy, right? And so I could share an anecdotal example of a current technology we have in place, that everybody has complained about for a number of years. We announce that we're gonna change it and people scream and yell and drop to the floor and kick and scream like my youngest child, that, “don't take it away for me this terrible technology.” So, it's every day is spent navigating the organization, navigating the stakeholders, doing audience analysis to ensure I understand what's in it for the other side, showing empathy.”
Deloitte Tax is going through a digital transformation. As Chuck describes it, they are “trying to go from doing digital to being digital”. They realize that their clients are used to the quick and seamless interactions with companies like Amazon, Uber, Google, and these clients are going to expect the same service from Deloitte as well.
When it comes to organizational transformation Chuck says one of the biggest pitfalls companies encounter is the fear of taking the first step. “You'll hear a lot and I'm sure on your podcast, this idea of being bold. You don't actually need to be bold, you need to be brave. And you need to take the first step towards a change and I see that in the context of transformation. Digital or otherwise, any types of business transformation, even personal transformation, it's the first step that's the hardest. When you think about, it's that first workout that's the hardest, it's the first investment you make that's the hardest. And so I would say that's the biggest challenge that I would tell people. It's an easy challenge to overcome, just take your first step. Big or small, just take a step and see how it goes. And you might find that it's not as bad as you think and you might actually get some results that will inspire you to take a bigger step next time. But don't let paralysis be the enemy. Don't let this idea of how change might... What the outcome of change might be to not actually try it. And so I would say that's it, it's taking that first step.”
What you will learn:
- What does a Chief Transformation Officer do
- A look at the trends Chuck is paying attention to
- How Deloitte is moving from doing digital to being digital
- How Chuck and his team are utilizing technology
- How companies can keep up with new technologies
- How to deal with change and approach people who are resistant to change
- The role of empathy in business
- Some of the pitfalls or mistakes companies make when going through transformation
Direct download: Chuck_Kosal_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:00am PDT
Wed, 6 November 2019
How we work today is drastically different than it was even just a few years ago. It might seem like everything about the world of work is changing, but I narrowed it down to three main areas:
- Technology and Connectivity
The idea of working without a smartphone or the internet seems crazy, but that was standard practice not too long ago. Technology, especially AI and the Internet of Things, is constantly growing and evolving and bringing with it new opportunities for growth. Technology impacts how we work, where we work, and the type of work we do. Companies best positioned for the future leverage technology to increase productivity and efficiency.
A power shift has been happening in recent years that puts employees in the driver’s seat. Instead of having to explain to companies why they need to work there, companies now must explain to employees why then need them to work there. With more power comes increased transparency and an openness between organizations and employees. It’s led to a greater emphasis on employee experience and better workspaces, diversity, and flexibility as organizations work to recruit and keep the best employees.
- Creating Human Organizations and Leadership
No company can exist without people. As technology increases and can be used to automate mundane tasks, organizations must find a way to become more human. Employees and leaders are emphasizing those uniquely human characteristics, such as collaboration, creativity, and vulnerability that can’t be replicated by machines. Human organizations allow employees to be unique and thrive and encourage leaders to act as coaches and mentors instead of just telling everyone what to do.
These three changes to the world of work—plus countless others—are hugely positive in creating a forward-thinking and welcoming environment. As technology takes over repetitive tasks, humans are free to work as they please, improve themselves, and work together to make huge strides. Organizations need to continually grow and improve to match the overall changes. Companies that embrace these changes instead of running away will be the most prepared for the future of work.
Direct download: 1._How_The_World_Of_Work_Is_Changing.mp3
-- posted at: 2:58am PDT
Mon, 4 November 2019
Blake Morgan is a best-selling author, speaker and futurist who focuses on customer experience. Her new book, The Customer of the Future: Ten Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow’s Business, was just released on October 29.
Creating great customer experience is critical for organizations looking to get and stay ahead. With all of the technologies we have and use on a daily basis (Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, etc…) as consumers we have come to expect personalized, easy, quick experiences. The problem is so many organizations are not keeping up with technology. Most, if not all, of us have stories about horrible experiences when interacting with insurance companies or cable companies or airlines.
Creating great customer experience is intertwined with creating great employee experience, because it is employees who are fulfilled, happy, and engaged who are going to be willing to go above and beyond for the customers. Employees who do not have the resources, tools, and training to do their job correctly are not going to provide great customer experience.
Blake shares a story that she heard from an HR executive at Workday, that proves this point completely. There was a salesperson who worked at the company, but he had a very hard time selling the software. The software itself was very hard to sell because it is only replaced every 10 years, but on top of that the salesperson was going through some difficult times personally, which made selling even harder. He had found out his daughter was suffering from an illness and the insurance he had through the company would not cover the medical attention his daughter would need.
He approached HR to ask for an exception and surprisingly they were able to change his policy to cover what his daughter needed. He was so grateful and relieved that he had a complete turn around professionally. He became the highest grossing sales person at the company and he started bringing in million dollar deals.
Blake says, “What I love about this story is that the head of HR didn't even remember approving this policy change for this young man because it was just so normal to be a human being and do the right thing for the human beings that work for you. And I think most companies, they've become so procedure obsessed, so operations obsessed, so money obsessed that they completely miss the human element, they treat their employees like robots, which is ironic because we're all afraid of being replaced by robots. Well, most companies already treat their employees like robots and their employees treat customers like robots.”
Think of how much our customer experience would change if we could start by treating our employees with empathy, compassion, and kindness.
“Being a successful business today takes hard work, but if you're just the one who has common sense, if you have integrity, if you have fair business practices, I believe that you can make it based on these old principles of integrity, of a commitment to being better. Jeff Bezos recently said, "I believe that one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt." And that's this humility, this awareness of... His company's own mortality. Like even Amazon could disappear overnight. That keeps him humble. And earning our keep every single day, no matter if it's in our relationships with our family, with our employees, with our customers, it's that humility. All of this could just go away. So every single day we need to try our best and commit to our originally established own vision and not let it lose its luster over time.”
What you will learn:
- How Blake got involved in the customer experience space
- What is the difference between customer service and customer experience
- A look at the biggest trend causing organizations to spend more time on customer experience
- How does employee experience fit in with customer experience
- Examples of companies who are getting customer experience right
- A look at the 10 guiding principles in Blake’s new book
Direct download: Podcast_with_Blake_Morgan_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 1:16am PDT
Wed, 30 October 2019
Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book The Future Leader, go to http://bit.ly/vmwaregiveaways
Today’s world is incredibly fast-paced and competitive. How do you stand out and build your career? By developing your personal brand.
Just like each company has a brand, each person also has a brand. It’s what you stand for and what you want people to know about you. Your personal brand could be a subject you are passionate about, a cause you care deeply for, or a message you want to share. A strong personal brand solidifies you as a subject matter expert and makes you more valuable in your company or in your own entrepreneurial endeavors. Building a personal brand takes time and effort. To build a maintain a strong personal brand, you need to focus on three areas:
Choose a brand and stick with it. What are you going to share with people? What do you want them to know about you? Decide on one thing and be consistent. Your brand could be talking about the future of work (like mine) or being an expert on new medicine or aviation. Once you decide your brand and message, stay consistent. Don’t jump around to other topics, but instead stay in your lane and build your brand.
Your brand becomes what you talk about all the time. The more often you talk about something, the more it will stick with people. Talk about your message in person, on social media, and in other personal and professional outlets. The goal is for people to instantly match you to your personal brand, but that only comes from talking about it often.
To build your personal brand, you’ve got to get out there! Your message doesn’t mean anything if you don’t share it in a visible way. Post on social media, contribute to other websites and blogs, speak at conferences—the list goes on and on. Be visible and spread your message.
Building a personal brand is a continual process and doesn’t happen overnight. Choose a message or brand you’re passionate about and make it part of how you live and work. Your personal brand should be part of your walk and talk every day. Following these three steps can help you build a strong brand over time and make you stand out in our competitive world.
Direct download: Why_And_How_To_Build_Your_Personal_Brand.mp3
-- posted at: 4:27am PDT
Mon, 28 October 2019
Daniel Martinez-Valle is the CEO of Orbia, a global leader in polymers, materials, and infrastructure. Orbia has over 22,000 employees in 41 countries around the world. They are committed to “help the world take shape and create a more livable, lovable planet for everyone”.
The company has been undergoing a major transformation, including a recent name change, from Mexichem to Orbia. There are three main components to the transformation they are going through, when explaining them Daniel says, “The first one has to do with articulating a very clear purpose, that people in our organization and our stakeholders can really understand and connect to. The second one, our values, which is very important as we move along, and as people make daily choices within our organization and within our extended organizations. And then the third one is to really transform our company and to become truly, a customer-centric organization.” They are changing to be a more human company, one that cares about the world, the environment, people and society.
Orbia’s transformation is holistic, it is not just about a name change or a website update or a change in strategy, every single aspect of the organization has been affected by this transformation. So why are they going through this change? As an organization Orbia wants to make sure that they are impacting the world around them in a positive way. There are many world issues that need to be addressed, including food and water shortages and pollution.
As they go through this transformation one of the fundamental steps is articulating a very clear company purpose that employees and stakeholders can connect to. Daniel says, “For us purpose means what is the fundamental reason why we exist, and why we come to work every day, beyond sort of generating profits, generating dividends or having the ability to pay bi-weekly, or weekly wages. Why would people care if Orbia ceases to exist five years from now or 20 years from now? Why do we matter, why do we exist? And it's a combination of a number of individual reflections in terms of, how can we transcend in life, why are we here and how can we make sure that in our final hours we can look back and say, at least one life could breathe easier because we lived. And when we combine that as a collective, and when we move from a 'Me' mentality to a 'We' mentality, that's what purpose means.”
And they don’t just put values and mission statements up on the walls of their organization and hope that it will inspire employees. They are backing up their values and purpose with action in every aspect of the organization. From incentives, to training programs, to the way they onboard new employees, everything inside of the organization stems from the purpose of why the company exists.
“I think the very basic analogy that I give very colloquially to people is if this were acupuncture, we have to insert a needle in every single pore of the skin. And if this is not sort of a truly holistic process, then the transformation will not be effective down the road. So, in everything that people see and every interaction, they need to feel that they need to see this transformation in order for this to be real. And at the end of the day, it has to transform itself into a social movement. It's not something that people in corporate offices can say, "This will happen." People have to embrace: What are our values? What is our purpose? Where do wanna take the company? How do we define success? How are we gonna make sure that we are making the right choices? How are we gonna embrace failure? And how are we gonna change the culture in order to make this transformation happen? And if I am one of those 22,000 employees, how do I need to understand my role in this transformation journey, and then that's when it becomes a social movement.”
What you will learn:
- What it is like to work at Orbia
- Why the company is going through a transformation
- How you can help employees find their purpose
- How to change corporate culture
- How purpose and profits can be fully aligned
- Daniel’s advice for people who want to be better leaders
Direct download: Daniel_Martinez_Valle_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 3:37am PDT
Wed, 23 October 2019
Every organization has values that showcase what it stands for. In most cases, these are words like innovation, collaboration, or integrity that are used in the company’s mission statement and emblazoned on the walls. As important as many companies think their values are, in reality, most companies have similar values. Nearly every organization emphasizes things like trust, quality work, and authenticity.
So if the words themselves aren’t unique, what makes your company different? Employees don’t care as much about the words themselves as they do with how the values come to life. It’s one thing to say your organization values transparency and another thing to actually showcase transparency every day. It should be evident what your company stands for just by looking around the office.
Here are five ways to make your company’s values come to life:
1. Do a value audit.
Look around the physical workspace to see if you can find the values in action. Look for employees who are live the values or procedures that encourage the values. If you can easily see the values, your organization is likely doing a good job of bringing them to life. However, if you can’t see the values or if you see the opposite values in action, it’s probably time for an overhaul.
2. Start at the top.
Values should be personified by top leaders at the company. If the CEO and other executives make things like innovation and empathy part of their mindsets and actions, those values will flow to the rest of the employees and become a crucial part of the company.
3. Get employee feedback.
Ask employees how they think the organization is doing. Can they name the values without looking at them? Employees who are in the trenches often have better recommendations of how to improve the values and overall culture.
4. Focus on purpose.
Modern employees want a sense of purpose at work. They’re more likely to be engaged and live the values if they see the impact of their work. Make sure each employee knows how their responsibilities impact customers and the company.
5. Reward values.
Back up the words with rewards. If your company values collaboration and teamwork, reward employees that showcase those characteristics. Employees naturally work towards whatever is rewarded, so focusing on values can encourage people to find their own way to apply the values.
Many companies have similar values, but that doesn’t mean every company is the same. Focus on bringing the values to life and turning them into the walk and talk of your company instead of just words on an inspirational poster. Truly applying the values will help separate your organization from the rest.
Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book The Future Leader, go to http://bit.ly/vmwareee
Sun, 20 October 2019
Pamela McCorduck is an artificial intelligence (AI) expert and author. She has written 10 books, the newest one comes out this month and it is titled: This Could Be Important: My Life and Times with the Artificial Intelligentsia.
Pamela first became interested in AI when she was studying at the University of California, Berkeley. She was an English major, but she had a job typing in the business school, which is where she met some of the “fathers of AI”. Two assistant professors in the business school who she became acquainted with through her job approached her to see if she could help them work on a book. The book was on the topic of AI, something that at that time Pamela knew nothing about.
When she asked one of the assistant professors what AI was he gave her a great definition. He said, “I would define it as machines doing something that if a human did that we would say, 'Oh that's intelligent behavior.” Pamela said that while working on the book in 1960 she fell in love with the field of AI and she has been learning all she can about it ever since.
Back when Pamela first started immersing herself in AI, it fascinated her so much that she decided she wanted to write a book on the history of artificial intelligence. With the help of AI experts at that time, she wrote Machines Who Think, which looks at the evolution AI has gone through from the time of the classic Greek poets to the 20th century.
Pamela states that the algorithms we use today were actually developed in the 80s, but at the time we didn’t have the advanced technology needed to use them. So the things we are seeing today in AI and machine learning which seem so futuristic, are actually from a few decades ago, we just didn’t have the technology needed until now.
When asked about the meaning behind the title of her new book, This Could Be Important, Pamela said, “This book is a memoir of sorts, and it starts from the time that AI really grabs me by the gut and goes on. So my husband was the chairman of the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon in the 70s. And in the late 70s, he was called to Columbia University because the Ivy League was among the last to establish computer science departments. And so he established the Computer Science Department at Columbia where he earned his Ph.D. and, of course, we moved to New York City, which I loved 'cause I'm a writer. And that was the writer's company town in those days. Anyway, I got into all kinds of literary circles 'cause I still thought of myself as a literary person, and I would run into various public intellectuals and I would say, "You know, this artificial intelligence, this could be important." And they would look at me as if I were absolutely nuts and laugh. I mean, what else could they do? And it went on for two decades at least.”
Pamela believes that AI will have a major impact on the future of work and the future in general. And there will be benefits as well as some challenges that come with it. She understands that AI will never make a perfect paradise because we as humans will never be perfect. But that doesn’t mean we should forget it altogether.
“It's not gonna be paradise, but it's gonna be a lot easier for a lot more people, and that gets to one of the things that really makes me unhappy about people like Musk who say, "Oh, we've just gotta stop AI." And I'm thinking "You live in a privileged society, and you live a life of great privilege in that society. Who are you to say nobody gets the benefits of AI because it might have some bad effects?" There is a world of need out there that AI could supply, and it's not up to us privileged white people, and privileged white men to say, "Oh no, sorry, we're not gonna have that because there are dangers." Well, yes, of course, there are dangers but boy, think of the benefits.”
What you will learn:
- How Pamela first got involved in the AI space
- A look at the history of AI
- What is symbolic intelligence and why is it so important for the future
- The impact AI will have on the future of work
- How the current industrial revolution is different than the first
- What is was like in the early days of AI and what Pamela learned from the “fathers of AI”
Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book 'The Future Leader', go to http://bit.ly/vmwareee
Direct download: Pamela_McCorduck_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 7:36pm PDT
Wed, 16 October 2019
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the majority of Americans say their job is the biggest cause of stress in their lives. As we push ourselves harder and are constantly connected, stress has started to take an even bigger toll on our lives. Many employees constantly feel burned out and overworked. When you’re stressed, you’re not as good of an employee or manager, and you’re definitely not as good of a friend, spouse, or parent outside of work.
A growing number of organizations have initiatives to promote health and wellness, but it really comes down to each employee taking control of his or her own mental and emotional health and control their stress.
Here are four ways to manage your stress at work:
Take a stress audit.
What causes you stress at work? Is it having to do the work of two people because a co-worker left? Is it being called into meetings at all hours of the day? Is it a client with a bad attitude? Analyze what triggers your stress and try to find solutions to control the trigger or avoid it altogether.
Stay in control of those stress-causing triggers. Talk to your boss and set boundaries. If always being on call is causing major stress, set limits of when you will and won’t respond to a work call. Openly share what is causing you to stress with your manager and find solutions that work for you and the company.
Your physical health is connected to your mental health. Take time to exercise and be active. Eat healthy meals, even if you’re stuck at your desk all day. Make sure you get a good night’s rest and make time to take care of yourself.
Oftentimes, stress is caused by creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Remember that you’re human and can’t do everything on your own. Learn what you are capable of accomplishing in one day, and divide the rest of your responsibilities for other days. With realistic expectations, you won’t feel overwhelmed when you can’t possibly get to everything in one day.
Managing stress is an ongoing process. Find ways to mitigate stress triggers and take care of yourself mentally and physically. If you find talking to your boss and setting boundaries at work isn’t working, don’t be afraid to leave that job behind and find something that is a better fit for your mental and emotional needs.
Huge thanks to VMware for sponsoring this episode! If you want a free copy of my upcoming book The Future Leader, go to http://bit.ly/vmwareee
Mon, 14 October 2019
Sanjay Poonen is the Chief Operating Officer at VMware, a global leader in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology. They are the 5th largest software company and they currently have around 26,000 employees in offices around the world.
Sanjay has been with VMware since 2013, prior to that he was President & Corporate Officer — Platform, Applications & Industries at SAP. He started his career as a software engineer at Microsoft followed by Apple.
Technology today is advancing more rapidly than ever before, and it’s hard to tell what the world will look like 10–15 years from now. But Sanjay says some things will never change and as we progress we still need to make sure that we are training our children the fundamental principles of science, technology, engineering, math, logic, physics, etc…He also believes storytelling is an important skill for the future.
He says, “I think it’s super important that we emphasize storytelling to our kids. And I hope that dinner table conversations are not obsessed by keeping the TV on and the device on. We try to keep a no device policy for a period of time in the evenings in our home. It’s super important we go back to that basic principle of what people did around the dinner table, which is telling stories.
And I hope that the classroom setting is the same time too. One of the dangers of this obsession with devices is that we move away from whatever friendship or family constructs that got people telling stories. I find often today, people are so obsessed with their devices, they’re not as good at carrying on a conversation, they’re looking down.”
Technology can be used for great things and it can be used to make our lives easier. But we also have to be careful because it can also be used in dangerous ways as well. Sanjay explains that just as fire can be used for good (keeping us warm, cooking food, giving light) and bad (arson) technology can be used either way as well.
For example, AI can be used to help doctors take more efficient, legible prescriptions via speech recognition technology rather than writing them out by hand. And it can be used in vehicles to help people park better or to drive more safely in heavy traffic.
But it can also be used in selfish or even evil ways. With facial recognition, there is a possibility that someone could be wrongfully identified and end up in trouble. Companies can sell data they have gathered from customers without permission. Because of these issues, Sanjay believes it is critical for technologists, leaders, and governments to constantly have conversations and debates in order to make technology a force for good.
As a leader, how does Sanjay attract and retain the best talent? He says it starts with practicing servant leadership.
“It’s super important that you’re always humble and hungry, and looking to learn. And part of it, being a servant-leader doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat that everybody steps over. I’m strongly opinionated, I’m passionate, I’m a hard negotiator, all those things. But I don’t want any smell of me that I’m arrogant, unwilling to learn, unwilling to listen. I make plenty of mistakes, I’m a work in progress. But I want my team to feel like, “You know what, this guy’s got a growth mindset, so I can give him feedback. And I want the person who’s at the lowest rung of my organization to feel like I’m approachable, as opposed to sitting in some ivory tower with a bunch of security guards around me that they can’t come and talk to me or send an email to me or walk into my office. And I’m always challenging myself to how I could continue to drive that servant leadership mindset, both in myself, and role model it to my organization.”
What you will learn:
- Sanjay’s general take on technology today
- The importance of leaders speaking up and taking a stance instead of staying neutral
- How to balance technology and humanity in the workplace
- How Sanjay brings in the best people and keeps them motivated
- The importance of storytelling
- Why Sanjay believes an A should be added to STEM to make it STEAM
- What technology freaks Sanjay out
Direct download: Sanjay_Poonen_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 7:22am PDT
Wed, 9 October 2019
Conversations about AI are nearly unavoidable these days. It seems like everyone has an opinion about how AI is taking jobs from humans and how it will impact and transform our work situations. Many of those conversations are full of fear that the machines are taking over and soon employees in all industries will be replaced.
Here’s the truth: yes, AI is impacting jobs. But we should let it.
That doesn’t mean that machines will soon leave us completely unemployed and take over our world. Instead, it means that AI is augmenting and transforming jobs to make them better. Just because it’s new and unknown doesn’t mean it has to be scary. Here are three reasons you should let AI impact your job.
AI removes mundane tasks.
AI is built to do repetitive tasks like data entry, analysis, and scheduling. The best applications for AI are areas where humans don’t typically want to spend their time. AI takes over those boring, mundane tasks and does them faster and more accurately than humans, which gives humans a chance to work on other projects that are more exciting and engaging. Think of AI as a skilled assistant who frees your schedule to work on more interesting things.
AI provides a chance to learn new skills.
A growing number of companies, including Accenture and McDonald’s, are re-vamping their workforces with AI without losing a single human employee. That’s because employees that are being replaced are being up-skilled to work in other areas of the company. Accenture replaced many of its entry-level data entry employees with machines but then trained the human employees on business strategy and moved them to other areas of the company where their skills could be better used. By allowing AI to work in areas where it thrives, humans have the chance to expand our skillsets and careers into new areas. AI could be the boost that takes your career to the next level and encourages you to learn something new.
AI allows us to focus on human qualities.
Even the most advanced robot can’t collaborate with humans or be as creative as a human can. There are certain skills that are uniquely human and can’t be duplicated by a machine. As AI takes over many of the mind-numbing tasks humans used to do, it frees us to focus on what makes us human. We get to build relationships and be innovative.
AI in the workforce is unavoidable. Instead of living in constant fear of being replaced by machines, we should be excited for the change. Embrace AI and encourage its growth in your organization. AI is going to impact your job, but with the right attitude, that impact could be a great starting spot for your next step forward.
Mon, 7 October 2019
Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup and Professor of Business Psychology at Columbia University and the University College in London. Tomas has written 10 books and over 150 scientific papers on the psychology of talent, leadership, innovation and AI. He has also delivered multiple TED Talks, including one on “The Power of Negative Thinking” and another on “Why do so Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders”.
What is a Chief Talent Scientist? In Tomas’ case it means combining his expertise and background in organizational psychology and analytics & assessments. Tomas says, “If you combine both things, and an interest in understanding human performance, then you get the kind of interface or the main area niche that I specialize. And at Manpower Group, our agreement is to really use all of our data, our tools and expertise to predict performance and understand human potential in a deeper way.”
ManpowerGroup’s main purpose is to “understand where people can be deployed most effectively, and where people will be thriving, and what role, job, or capacity. And then helping organizations not just deal with their current talents, but predict what their future talent issues might be.”
They are currently working to help match people with jobs that they have the potential for, but have never actually done in their lives. For example, there may be a marketing employee who would be great in more of a customer service role, but they have never worked directly with customers before. In the past, this employee may not have been considered for a role in customer service because of their lack of experience. But ManpowerGroup is looking at how data assessment and AI can be used to match the employee with a role that matches their skills without past experience.
One of the biggest trends that Tomas has been paying attention to is the growing need for soft skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, teamwork, resilience, and creativity. As technology advances and we start using more AI, automation, and data assessment inside of our organizations, there is going to be a greater need for people to be more human.
“The last things machines are going to be able to do is to show respect, appreciation, or care for others. So in a way, even though you would think that as technology and AI becomes a more prominent aspect of jobs and careers, we should all become data scientists, geeks of one sort or another, and learn coding, actually the real need is for people who develop and boost their human skills, the soft side of talent, which is actually the hardest one to develop and to find.”
Tomas’ advice to job candidates today and in the coming future is to be flexible, adaptable, and well-rounded. Things are changing and in order to succeed you can’t pigeon hole yourself into one role, or a specific job title. It is important to be curious and to constantly learn new skills. AI and automation will disrupt jobs, individuals can thrive, but they can’t expect to do so if they sit back and expect to be safe in one single role for the rest of their life.
“Fundamentally, we believe that there will always be three core employability skills that will continue to matter in the future. This is what we use when we assess candidates, when we evaluate potential and when we try to almost distill all the different jobs and careers to their fundamental core elements. These are learning ability, so the ability to learn new things, reason and acquire new knowledge and expertise. The second is work ethic or drive, determination. And the third is, people skills.”
What you will learn:
- What is the role of a Chief Talent Scientist
- Tomas’ view of science vs. intuition when it comes to hiring talent
- Why we need to rethink the way we promote and train leaders
- Tomas’ advice for candidates looking for a new job
- The best way to take criticism and negative feedback
- Why soft skills are becoming so important for the future of work
Wed, 2 October 2019
AI and technology are at the forefront of so many conversations today, but why is that when neither AI or tech are new concepts, they have been around for decades. The reason is there are 4 major elements that are working together to create the perfect storm that is causing AI and tech to progress more quickly than ever before.
The 4 elements are:
- We have more data than ever before
- The cost of technology is decreasing
- The speed of technology is increasing
- Moore’s Law: the number of transistors on a chip doubles every year while the costs are halved.
All of these things are coming together to cause AI and technology to progress at a much faster pace than we have ever seen before.
Direct download: 1._Why_The_AI_Conversation_Is_Everywhere.mp3
-- posted at: 6:47am PDT
Mon, 30 September 2019
John Jordan is the Head of the Academy at Bank of America, an award-winning employee development organization that trains around 40,000 people per year. As John puts it, The Academy is, “truly an environment where people can practice, where they can learn that goes beyond just the typical sort of learning environment into a really high-touch coaching environment and we've really seen great results so far.”
John has been with Bank of America for about 16 years in a wide variety of roles, all of which have prepared him to lead The Academy.
The Academy is used to onboard new employees, to support and train employees looking to move into a leadership position, to help employees enhance their current skills and more. They use a combination of web-based training and hands on practice. One example of training they have is a client engagement simulator that allows employees to practice using the online systems while having client conversations at the same time. This allows employees to get comfortable interacting with customers live on the phone before they officially step into their role.
Since starting The Academy, Bank of America has seen a lot of benefits from the program. Their turnover rate is the lowest it’s ever been and their client experience rating is the highest it’s ever been. John and his team understand the importance of investing in their people.
John says, “I've heard a stat that I've just sort of repeated over and over again, which is if you have a bad onboarding experience, you're six times more likely to leave the company within the first year. We saw a pretty high turnover amongst people within our first year and it just became a question of, were they onboarded well? Were they trained to do the job well? Did they get good practice?”
When you have great employee experience, you have people who want to stay at the organization a long time. And when you can have tenured employees who know what they are talking about and who can give great advice you get great customer experience.
One set of skills that The Academy is focused on teaching is soft skills such as empathy, problem solving, good communication, adaptability, creativity, etc...And John shares that they actually teach the basics such as how to give a proper handshake, make good eye contact, and how to hold a conversation.
“I think empathy is such an important skill in this day and age to really understand where the person sitting across the table is coming from. We have really put a lot of money where our mouth is on that front and through The Academy really invested in empathy. We feel like there's a lot left to do there. I believe talking about technology of the future, things like virtual reality are going to maybe help us with that, to put us in someone else's shoes or help us to see some of the challenges that our clients may be facing that we can't necessarily know or see on a daily basis. Lots to learn there and I'm really excited about and hopeful for just continuing to build a more and more empathetic workforce.”
What you will learn:
- What is The Academy and how does it work
- A look at how learning and development has evolved over the years
- How the program is impacting turnover rates
- How John and his team are leveraging AI for training
- How leadership has evolved over the years inside of Bank of America
- What skills will be needed for the future of work
Wed, 25 September 2019
There are a lot of people who feel like they are the lone changemaker in their organization. You may be in that position right now. It can feel extremely frustrating and lonely at times, but that shouldn’t stop you. Changemakers are persistent, resilient, and determined--they have to be.
As a changemaker you will probably get told ‘no’ a lot, you may be rejected, and you may find that people around you have a hard time keeping up. There is a price to pay to be a changemaker, but it is worth it.
Don’t give up! Keep pushing your organization and the people around you. The change will happen, maybe slower than you want, but it will.
Direct download: The_Price_Of_Being_A_Change_Maker.mp3
-- posted at: 1:08am PDT
Mon, 23 September 2019
Michelle Murphy is the Chief Diversity Officer and VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Ingersoll Rand, a manufacturing and sustainability company that creates products and services for commercial, industrial and residential customers. Some of their products include heating and air conditioning systems, golf carts, and power tools. They were formed in 1905 and today they have 40,000 employees around the world.
Michelle recently wrote an article, titled Truly Effective Diversity Training Can Be Measured in Goosebumps where she opened up about the moment when she realized the importance of diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the workplace. Her experience ignited a passion for creating a safe place to work inside of Ingersoll Rand as well as encouraging others to do the same in organizations around the world.
With the current world of work, where we are all so connected and where we can interact with customers and coworkers from countries all around the world the issue of diversity and inclusion is more important now than ever before. It is crucial for all of us to have empathy and compassion and to be able to see the world through the eyes of others.
Ingersoll Rand has some great programs in place to foster and develop a culture of diversity and inclusion. They include:
- Relaunch--a program offering the opportunity to help qualified engineers in the community relaunch their careers after having to step away for a time
- Level Up--A 1 ½ day immersive and experiential learning forum tailored to bring leaders and high potential black talent together to learn, further a sense of community, and convene a discussion among other companies for strategic initiatives to advance black leadership
- Strengthen Economic Mobility--A commitment to achieving a workforce that is reflective of their community populations – a maintaining livable market-competitive wages and progressive benefits; including broadening community access to well-being services including food/nutrition, housing and shelter, transportation, education and climate comfort.
- Paradigm for Parity--Ingersoll Rand has pledged to bring gender parity to leadership roles by 2030
The question is, is it possible to teach someone to be empathetic or to focus on diversity and inclusion? Michelle says, “When I think about how do you teach someone, I feel like what we do is we try to create opportunities to offer experiences for people, because I'm not sure that there's a training you could go to, or that you could teach people what it's like to feel certain ways. So, creating experiences where people get to watch others describe their feelings, and share in that, tend to take us a little bit further than I'll call maybe a typical training class. Because what you realize in that setting is, "These are the people I see and work with every day, and I know them pretty well, and I think they're smart people and good people, and I like them, and wow, I had no idea that that's what they were dealing with." Sometimes that acknowledgment is part of what helps create the opportunity for learning, for maybe that person who doesn't demonstrate empathy easily or well. Sometimes creating those experiences where they have those opportunities is the best way to do it.”
What you will learn:
- What events shaped Michelle’s view of diversity and inclusion
- How to teach diversity, inclusion, and empathy
- A look at some of the programs in place at Ingersoll Rand that help foster diversity and inclusion
- Michelle’s view on the current war for talent
- How to measure diversity and inclusion
- What skills will be needed in the future of work
- What Michelle looks for during the interview process
- Some of the future challenges we will face when it comes to diversity and inclusion
Direct download: Michelle_Murphy_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 2:58am PDT
Wed, 18 September 2019
One of the most important skills to have for the future of work is learning how to learn, but a major component that goes along with being a perpetual learner is consistently reinventing yourself. It’s not just about learning new things, it’s about how the outside world sees you.
Reinvention is about how you position yourself, it’s about how you market yourself and it is about the brand that you build. This is something that should be taking place consistently, whether it is every 3 years or every 10 years.
So when did you last reinvent yourself? If the answer is never, it’s time to start.
Direct download: Do_You_Know_How_to_Reinvent_Yourself.mp3
-- posted at: 6:09am PDT
Mon, 16 September 2019
My guest today is Maria Bartiromo, anchor and Global Markets Editor for FOX Business. Maria has been a journalist for 30 years, starting back in 1989 as a production assistant at CNN Business News. She has seen and reported on some of the world’s most major events which you will hear about in our discussion. Maria has an upcoming special debuting on September 22, 2019 tied to how Artificial Intelligence is changing the face of business and the workplace. Her research for this special included traveling across the country over the past year and interviewing the top tier CEOs leading the charge on this topic. In today’s conversation, you will hear some of her findings and what CEOs are saying about AI and technology. You will also hear Maria’s advice on how we should prepare for what’s to come, what assumptions she had at the beginning of the process that were proven wrong, what jobs will be most on-demand in the future, and how AI might impact leaders.
Maria Bartiromo is a FOX Business Global Markets Editor and Anchor. She has been a journalist for 30 years and has worked for CNN, CNBC, and FOX. She has received two Emmys and a Gracie Award and in 2009 the Financial Times named her one of the “50 Faces That Shaped The Decade”.
Maria was the first journalist to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on a daily basis and she was the first female journalist to be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame Class of 2011. She has written three books, The Weekend That Changed Wall Street, The 10 Laws of Enduring Success, and Use The News: How to Separate the Noise from the Investment Nuggets and Make Money in Any Economy.
She has a one-hour special coming up on September 22, 2019, called Artificial Intelligence: The Revolution Happening to Our Work and Our Lives, which will air on FOX News. The report is based on research Maria has been conducting for over a year on how Artificial Intelligence is changing the face of business and the workplace. She has traveled around and interviewed the leading technologists of the world, people like Marty Schmidt, Provost at MIT, Peter Thiel, founder of Palantir and co-founder of PayPal, Ginni Rometty, Chairman and CEO of IBM and Jim Hackett, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motors.
After all of her in-depth research, what does Maria think will happen to jobs in the next 5-10 years? “I mean this is today in 2019, we have more job openings than we have people. I mean, the labor force is so tight right now with a 51-year low in unemployment, and jobs are plentiful. I think that will only get worse, whereas there won't be enough people for the jobs that we need, and the jobs that we have will be able to be filled by computers. I think longer term, you are going to see a massive displacement in work and in jobs. I think the most important thing that people have to do is first of all recognize that machines are getting smarter and smarter, and they will take your job. You need to make sure to arm yourself with the right information and education, where you are savvy with technology, because if you're not savvy with technology in the next 10 years, you will be left out.”
There’s no doubt that AI is becoming smarter and smarter and implementing it into business can save money and time. It can also allow humans to get involved in more creative roles and it will free us up to do the things we actually want to do.
So what can we do as individuals to prepare for the future of AI and technology? Maria says first and foremost we have to enjoy every moment of everyday because life is short and it is precious. Secondly she says that education is key. Things are changing in a rapid pace and it’s not going to slow down. We need to be perpetual learners, constantly growing, innovating, dreaming, creating, and learning so that we can keep up in this upcoming world of work.
What you will learn:
How Maria conducted research for her upcoming piece on Artificial Intelligence
A look at the assumptions she had in her mind before she started working on this report and how they changed in the process
What Maria thinks will happen to jobs in the next 5-10 years
How AI and technology will specifically impact leaders
Who is responsible for upskilling? Organizations or individuals?
What jobs will be in demand in the future
Why some CEOs are worried about AI and some are optimistic
Advice for what individuals should do to prepare for the future of work
Direct download: Maria_Bartiromo_Podcast_-_DONE.mp3
-- posted at: 2:30am PDT
Wed, 11 September 2019
There are two things about the future of work that worry me.
The first is if executives at organizations will choose to use AI and automation to replace humans instead of using them to augment humans.
The second is that if we as individuals take a passive role in our lives and careers. We cannot just sit back and watch from the sidelines as the world changes. That is a surefire way to ensure we get replaced by technology.
If we can work on both of these issues, then the future of work is optimistic
Wed, 4 September 2019
Have you ever been asked a question that you don’t know the answer to? What was your response? Did you make something up? Did you talk around the question? One thing I have learned over the years is the power of saying three simple words---”I don’t know”.
It might seem like a scary phrase, you might think people will lose respect for you or that they will think you’re an idiot. But I have found that the opposite is true. People tend to have more respect for someone who admits they don’t know everything.
I think getting comfortable with this phrase is something that is going to be increasingly important in the days ahead as the pace of change gets faster and faster. We are never going to be able to know everything about everything. There is power in admitting you don’t have all the answers.
Direct download: The_Power_of_Saying_I_Dont_Know.mp3
-- posted at: 6:00am PDT
Mon, 2 September 2019
This week I am joined by Ann Anaya, the Chief Diversity Officer at 3M, a global company with 93,000 employees in 70 countries around the world. They use science and innovation to create and supply products for the fields of industry, worker safety, health care, and consumer goods. One of their most well-known products would be the Post-it Note.
In our conversation today you will hear Ann’s advice for people looking to make a career shift and why it is more important to focus on your skills rather than your past job titles. You will also hear how the Post-it was created, what people outside of HR need to know about diversity and inclusion, and what programs 3M has going on to emphasize and focus on diversity inside the organization.
Ann Anaya is the Chief Diversity Officer at 3M, a global company that creates and supplies products like the Post-it note. They have 93,000 employees in 70 countries around the world. Ann has been with 3M for six years. She actually began her career as a lawyer, first for the state court in Minnesota and then for the US Attorney’s Office focusing on major white collar and complex crime. Six years ago she was looking for a change in her career path and she applied into legal affairs for 3M. After working in legal affairs for four years she was asked to consider the newly opened position of Chief Diversity Officer.
Ann gave advice to others who are looking to change careers, she said there are three pieces in figuring out the best industry and role.
- What is your passion?
- What are you good at?
- Figure out where your skills and passions make a difference and then take action
She says, “we all know that we're really good at some ... a handful of particular skills and one of the things that I am fortunate to have as a skillset that I do well at is the ability to influence change and doing that through advocacy. Yes, those are skills for a trial lawyer or a litigator but those are skills that we use in so many other ways. Number one, is passion. Number two, what skills do we really have that we're really good at? Then, finally, I would say, where can we take our experiences and apply them in a way that there is a need to make change?”
Ann also had a mentor, who played a huge role in helping her figure out where her skills fit best. She believes everyone should have people in their lives who push them, challenge them, and stretch them in order to be better. As she puts it, “We all need champions. We can’t do it alone” no matter if you are a leader or an entry level employee.
3M has been focused on intentionally embedding diversity and inclusion into their brand, their mission, and their goals. They are going through a “new culture refresh” and it will be a part of all 3M does. And they are finding that having a diverse and inclusive organization not only impacts the employees, it also impacts the customers.
“Diversity is all about demographics and inclusion is about our environment or the atmosphere we create in our workplace. There is no one without the other. You can't have an inclusive workforce if there isn't diversity within the workforce and you can't be inclusive without the diversity of ideas, perspectives and backgrounds. You won't benefit from diversity, inclusion unless you have both.”
What you will learn:
- Why we should focus on skills rather than job titles
- Advice for people who would like to explore a new career path
- Why people outside of HR need to know about diversity and inclusion
- What is diversity and inclusion and why is it important
- Programs 3M has in place to embrace and promote diversity and inclusion
Direct download: Ann_Anaya_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 9:59pm PDT
Wed, 28 August 2019
In our increasingly connected world the way businesses compete has changed. It is no longer about competing within your industry or within your geographic location--you are competing with everyone. And that is especially true with talent.
The way that organizations compete has changed. It used to be that organizations would compete within their own industry or within their geographic location. But now with our world becoming more and more connected our organizations have to compete with everyone. And this is especially true in the war for talent.
Employees today have so many options. Organizations have to adapt if they want to attract and retain the best talent. It is not all about perks--you don’t have to have slides, ping pong tables, free food, and parties every week. The way to win the war is to bring humanity back into your organization. You have to treat your employees like humans.
Direct download: 3._The_New_Face_Of_Competition_Podcast.mp3
-- posted at: 1:24am PDT
Mon, 26 August 2019
My guest today is Farooq Kathwari, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc., an American furniture chain founded in 1932 with more than 300 stores across the world. Farooq has a new book coming out on September 3 titled: Trailblazer: From the Mountains of Kashmir to the Summit of Global Business and Beyond.
He has a truly fascinating life story, some of which you will get to hear today. Our discussion today covers a lot of ground including how his background shaped his approach to leadership, the immigrant mentality to work, the six leadership principles he created over 35 years ago that his team still follows today, and how to get people around you to think like an entrepreneur.
Farooq Kathwari is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc. an American furniture chain founded in 1932. The company now has more than 300 stores across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Farooq has been President of the company since 1985 and Chairman & CEO since 1988.
Farooq’s journey to his current role inside of Ethan Allen has been a very unique and inspiring one. He grew up in an area of conflict and he and his family became refugees and were forced to split up. At the age of 20, he made his way to Brooklyn, New York where he attended NYU at night and worked as a bookkeeper for a printing company during the day.
He also worked hard as an entrepreneur to sell arts and crafts to stores like Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor. He later was hired as a junior financial analyst at Bear Stearns on Wall Street where he succeeded and therefore was recruited to set up an investment company. All the while he still sold his arts and crafts. It was at the investment company that Farooq was introduced to the co-founder of Ethan Allen, Nat Ancell.
He had a partnership with Ethan Allen which later on led to a merger. When he was in his 30s, he became the head of Ethan Allen.
How has his past shaped his approach to work and entrepreneurship? Farooq says, “When you say immigrant, you can also use the word entrepreneur. When you leave your home, when I came here with enough money for, I think about five or six months to survive, well, you have to be entrepreneurial. So immigrants, by nature, who leave their homes, who travel, have more of an entrepreneurial attitude, because not everybody from every other world leaves. It's a few people who leave. They've got to have that DNA to be able to leave, to take risks. Immigrants also take risks.”
He also truly believes in treating all people with dignity and respect. He brings that belief into his role as a leader and tries to empower his employees. When he first started as the head of Ethan Allen he met several thousand employees from different locations and he said something shocking which was, “The main job of a leader is to help their people become better. If the leaders don't do that, people have a right to revolt.” Farooq says helping people become better is “a very critical factor in leadership. Leaders don't think that their job is to make people better.”
Farooq has all of the company’s managers and leaders write a report for him every single week. In the report, they can share things that are working well, things that need improvement, and issues they are having with any employees.
This practice came from one of the leadership principles Farooq created 35+ years ago. He still follows all of these principles today. They are:
- Leaders must have self-confidence. This also means leaders have to empower people. Leaders who don’t empower people don’t have self-confidence.
- Hard work--if leaders don’t work hard, how can they ask their people to work hard?
- Excellence in innovation--You have to have a passion for being the best
- Accessibility--leaders need to be approachable and they need to treat people with respect
- Customer focus--The customer is number one, you have to take care of them
- Prioritization--Leaders must constantly think about prioritization because not everything is important
What you will learn:
- A look at Farooq’s fascinating life story and how he went from an immigrant student at NYU to the Chairman, CEO and President of Ethan Allen
- How his background shaped his approach to leadership
- The leadership principles that Farooq created 35 years ago and why he and all the leaders at Ethan Allen follow them still today
- How he provides feedback to employees who are not performing well
- How to continue persevering in business when you keep getting told ‘no’
- How to create an entrepreneurial mindset inside of your organization
- What skills will be most relevant for employees in the future
Direct download: Farooq_Kathwari_podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:48am PDT
Tue, 20 August 2019
Artificial Intelligence is not a new concept. Actually, it has been around for thousands of years and you can see representations of the concept throughout history starting with Jason and the Golden Fleece.
Did you know that the concept of Artificial Intelligence has been around for thousands of years? One of the first representations of AI in history shows up in the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Jason had to travel to get the golden fleece and along the way, he had to battle it out with Talos, a huge non-human man made of bronze.
Representations of AI also appear in Judaism and Chinese, Greek and Indian Philosophy. The concept has been around for a very long time. Now we have things like Siri and Alexa and it shows that AI is part of our human nature to want something that is higher and greater than ourselves.
There is a quote from Pamela McCorduck that states, “Artificial Intelligence began with an ancient wish to forge the gods”. And that “ancient wish” is still around today. But, what happens when our wish comes true? Be careful what you wish for.
Sun, 18 August 2019
This week I am joined by Ragu Gurumurthy, the Chief Innovation and Digital Officer at Deloitte. Today we are talking about a hot topic--digital transformation. What it actually means, what it looks like to be a digitally transformed company, what skills are needed to achieve transformation and much more. Ragu actually authored a report on this topic back in March of this year titled, Pivoting to Digital Maturity: Seven Capabilities Central to Digital Transformation. In our discussion you will also hear Ragu talks through the seven digital pivots mentioned in his report and why they matter.
Ragu Gurumurthy is the Chief Innovation and Digital Officer at Deloitte, the world’s largest professional services company with 240,000 employees around the world. Ragu has been with Deloitte for over 13 years. Prior to that, he worked at companies like T-Mobile, Morgan Stanley, and AT&T.
In March 2019 Ragu authored a report titled, Pivoting to Digital Maturity: Seven Capabilities Central to Digital Transformation that looks at why some digital transformation efforts succeed while others fail. In the report, he explores seven digital pivots that can improve the chances of success for organizations going through digital transformation.
So what does digital transformation actually mean? Ragu says, “There are so many ways of defining digital transformation. It's an eye of the beholder, so to speak. Simply put, the way at least we would define digital transformation, it is about becoming a digital enterprise, holistically, by leveraging data, technology and people, data technology and people to evolve all aspects of the business; what they sell to their clients and customers, how they operate the business and how they sell to their customers. How do they relate to the... How do they reach their customers? How do they serve their customers in terms of customer experience? It is really thinking about all the aspects of business enabled by data, technology, and people.”
As a whole, when asked where the business world is at in terms of digital transformation, Ragu says we are still in the very early stages.
Ragu believes that although the digital era is upon us, it’s not all about technology. People are important, in the words of Ragu, “people are very important. I see them as the quarterback in this transformation.” A mixture of technological intelligence and human intelligence is what Ragu believes will get us to a new frontier.
The seven digital pivots Ragu explored in his report are:
- Flexible, secure infrastructure
- Data mastery
- Digitally savvy, open talent networks
- Ecosystem engagement
- Intelligent workflows
- Unified customer experience
- Business model adaptability
Ragu’s advice for organizations looking to go through digital transformation is, “the biggest advice I have is to do a thought experiment. Think about, how would I use technology, data and available AI software, voice recognition, it could be semantic language processing. You don't need to be a technologist. Read basic at the highest level, what do these things do and see how can I use it to solve the problem differently? That's my advice, think about doing things differently in different things as a supporter would say, what exactly you can do and go do it. Experiment and learn.”
What you will learn:
- A look at Ragu’s report: Pivoting to Digital Maturity
- What it looks like to be a digitally transformed organization
- Trends Ragu is paying attention to
- What skills are needed to go through digital transformation
- What Deloitte is doing internally to digitally transform
- How to overcome the challenge of change management
Direct download: Ragu_Gurumurthy_podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 8:18pm PDT
Wed, 14 August 2019
Over the years I have heard many different definitions of leadership.
One person might say that a leader is someone who has followers. Another person might say a leader is someone who has a clear vision and inspires others to move towards a certain goal. Someone else might say a leader is a person who is trustworthy, who acts with integrity and treats people well.
Everyone’s definition of leadership is different because it is a very subjective thing. What is your definition of leadership? After you define your view of leadership, look around, you might unexpectedly find people around you who meet your criteria.
Sun, 11 August 2019
My guest this week is Omar Hatamleh, the Chief Innovation Officer, Engineering at NASA and Executive Director of the Space Studies Program at the International Space University. In today’s discussion, you will hear how Omar has seen NASA change over the last 21 years, how they plan to use technology like 3D printing and AI in the future, and his thoughts on which technologies are overhyped. Omar also gives us a sneak peek into how NASA works including how they tackle problems, how they build effective teams and deal with failure, and how they focus on creative thinking.
Omar Hatamleh is the Chief Innovation Officer, Engineering at NASA and the Executive Director of the Space Studies Program at the International Space University. He is the former Deputy Chief Scientist Ames and he has been with NASA for the past 21 years.
Over his 21 years at the company, he has seen a lot of things change. Back at the time of the Apollo program, the whole environment at NASA was very competitive as several nations were racing to be the first to get to the moon. It then moved to a collaborative environment when several nations came together to put the space station into orbit.
Now, Omar says, they are in a third movement, which has been to get into the commercial sector. They are now using their expertise to help small companies and startups learn the technologies, knowledge, and ability they need to have an impact in the aerospace industry.
“Combined with the amazing corporate knowledge that we have, and amazing innovation and agility that the corporate sector has, I think that creates an excellent environment to create more jobs, improve the economy, and so on. Then, what you need to do, is basically, we're going to free up our resources, and go explore deep space. Our next goal is going to be, for example, going to the moon again by 2024. From there, we're going to go to Mars, hopefully soon after that, in a decade or so.”
Omar leads design thinking workshops at NASA where he tries to get people to think completely outside of the box. He shares some examples of real-life companies who have solved major problems by coming up with unconventional solutions.
One example he gave was regarding an electric bicycle company that produced bikes with a lot of electronics and sensitive pieces. They found that 60-70% of their orders were being returned damaged because the shipping companies saw that they were bikes and assumed they were durable. Someone at the company had a brilliant idea to print a picture of a flat screen TV on the outside of the box instead of a bike and it solved their problem.
NASA uses the latest technologies including AI, 3D printing, and quantum computing. Omar believes there are positives and negatives to all technology and the advances we are going to see in the future.
With driverless cars, for example, they can cut down on the number of cars each family needs, it can cut down on accidents, and it makes traveling easier because you can sleep or work along the way. Having autonomous cars can also create new jobs for technologies that will be needed, such as new gadgets that people can use now that they aren’t focused on the road. But it also could have a negative impact on manufacturing workers because we will need less cars. It will affect insurance companies. It will affect hotels because now people are able to sleep in the car while continuing towards their destination instead of stopping and staying somewhere overnight.
These new technologies will displace jobs, but they will also create new ones. The question is will it all balance out? Will there be more jobs lost than created or vice versa? Only time will tell.
What you will learn:
- How NASA has changed over the past 21 years
- How they plan to use 3D printing and AI in the future
- What skills will be needed for the future of work
- 5 technologies that Omar believes will have the biggest impact on the future
- How design thinking is used at NASA
- The importance of diverse teams and how to ensure you have truly diverse teams
- How they deal with failure at NASA
- Examples of real-life companies solving major problems by thinking outside the box
Direct download: Omar_Hatamleh_podcast_done.mp3
-- posted at: 7:39am PDT
Mon, 5 August 2019
Abe Greenspoon is the Program Lead for Canada’s Free Agents, a Government of Canada program launched in 2016 that proposes a new model for workforce mobilization. Abe has been in the public service of Canada for about 10 years.
The idea of creating a more autonomous, mobile workforce first came from a report released in 2012 from Deloitte. The report looked at how the government might reorganize itself to better respond to problems of the future and it proposed a concept of a cloud-based workforce based off of the IT cloud computing.
Essentially they have a group of workers in a database “available to do project-based work, move around the organization, solve problems, return to the cloud when they weren't needed anymore, and then just continue on to different projects.”
So when a position opens up, Abe and his team advertise for it within public service and those who are interested can apply. Abe says that this new way of flexible work has created greater employee satisfaction and better career decision making along with many other benefits.
The process to become a free agent is tough, not just anyone can become a free agent. In order to become one, you have to be willing to continuously learn and grow and you can’t get stuck in one technical field of work. They need to be willing to explore, they have to be curious, and they can’t be scared to fail. Free agents should be quick learners and they should easily be able to adapt because they move around to different roles in different offices quite frequently.
In order to make sure they are hiring the right people, Abe says they use a lot of unconventional hiring tactics including improv and puzzle solving. It tends to take about three months for people to go through the process of applying, interviewing, and then getting the official offer.
Even though these free agents are technically gig workers, they still receive the benefits a full-time regular employee would typically receive like pensions and health insurance.
Abe believes that this way of working also helps create a sense of purpose for employees as well. He says, “the opportunity to choose your job, to have that autonomy to make those decisions, I think puts you in a better position to find your purpose. I just think, naturally, you're going to try to look for those opportunities that suit you better, you're going to think more, and self-reflect more about what environments you'll thrive in, what environments you won't thrive in, and to have that ability to choose; it leads to all sorts of other kinds of downstream benefits, I think, once you give people that ability. So, finding your purpose, I think, it's something we realized over time is, it's a potentially really interesting outcome to giving people this sort of autonomy for their jobs.”
While this is only being implemented in the public service space at the moment, there are many ways that leaders in the private sector could learn from this concept as well.
What you will learn:
- How the government of Canada is implementing a cloud-based workforce
- What it takes to be a free agent
- How they use games and improv in the hiring process
- Abe’s view of Universal Basic Income
- How they handle benefits for flexible workers
- The benefits of giving employees flexibility and autonomy
Direct download: Abe_Greenspoon_Podcast_-_done.mp3
-- posted at: 1:55am PDT
Sun, 28 July 2019
Amber Grewal is the Chief Talent Officer at Intel, a company with over 107,000 employees in 36 countries around the world. Prior to Intel Amber was the Corporate Vice President, Head of Global Talent Acquisition at IBM and the Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at GE.
Some of the major trends Amber is paying attention to at the moment are:
- The pace at which technology is growing and changing
- The change in the average span of a company, which is now around 15 years and how to survive beyond that
- The growth in the gig economy
- The desire of employees to know they are doing meaningful work and making an impact
- Working with a multi-generational workforce
All of these trends are driving Intel to make changes internally and they are directing Amber to figure out how to evolve HR in order to address these challenges. At Intel, they have quite a few programs that their employees can take advantage of.
One of these programs is called Freelance Nation that launched in 2014 which gives employees more flexible working options and it helps them develop and refine their skill set. They can try out working in different roles and even different regions.
Another program focuses on training leadership on how to inspire employees in this new era of work. Leadership training and development is especially important now inside of Intel as they are going through some major cultural transformations.
When sharing some insight into Intel’s internal transformation, Amber said, “I would say, to the hard part of what transforming to a PC, to a data-centric company, at the foundation of it is culture. So we are going through, I would say, one of the largest transformations as a company, ever in our history. And the foundation of it is a culture transformation. So a culture of not only who we need to be today, but who we need to be tomorrow, in this dynamic business environment, and how we serve our customers, how our business model is shifting. So as we speak, we're going through a significant cultural transformation. And figuring out what are the behaviors that are needed in order to do this? Holding our, teams, and leaders accountable to that. We've completely have re-looked at, and are rethinking our whole performance management system, specifically to that.”
What advice would Amber give to employees who are trying to future proof their career and succeed in the future of work? She says, “I would say things are changing so fast, and the reality is it's never going to be this slow again. So being comfortable with uncomfortable is just the new way. And honestly, my advice, whether you're an individual contributor, new in your career, or you're a very senior leader, the one key area that I would tell everyone is, learning agility. That ability to constantly learn is going to be important. Because even if you're a leader who's been doing something for 20 years, you're going to be in a different environment, different workforce, disruptive technologies are changing our business model. So that means your ability to learn and adapt is critical.”
What you will learn:
- What the Chief Talent Officer at Intel actually does
- How to create meaningful work and help employees discover meaning in what they do
- What changes Amber is seeing in what talent wants and expects from organizations
- The role of AI and technology in the future
- How Intel equips employees for the future of work
- Advice to employees on how to succeed in the future
- Advice to leaders on what they can practice to stay relevant
Direct download: Amber_Grewal_Podcast_done.mp3
-- posted at: 7:14pm PDT
Thu, 25 July 2019
The term, “perpetual learner” has been thrown around a lot recently and while it is important to learn how to learn in today’s fast pace of change, the concept is not something new. We have always had to adapt throughout history, but the difference is now we have to be Super Perpetual Learners.
There are a lot of organizations and leaders talking about the concept of becoming a perpetual learner these days. I have spoken about it many times. But the truth is, this is not a new concept.
All throughout history we have had to adapt personally and professionally to new technology, new processes, new policies, etc...We have always had to be perpetual learners. The difference now is that we have to be SUPER perpetual learners.
The pace of change in our time is much faster than it has ever been in history. So now it is not just about learning to learn; it is about being a perpetual learner in a quick, applicable and frequent way.
Direct download: are_you_a_super_perpetual_learner.mp3
-- posted at: 7:39pm PDT
Mon, 22 July 2019
Anilu Vazquez-Ubarri is the Chief Human Resource Officer at TPG, one of the world’s largest private equity investment firms. Prior to moving to TPG, Anilu was the Chief Diversity Officer and Global Head of Talent Development at Goldman Sachs.
Anna Edwin, is the Global Head of Talent Development at TPG and she works very closely with Anilu. Prior to TPG Anna was the Head of Global Leadership Development at BlackRock and VP Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs.
Anilu is actually the first ever CHRO at TPG and she is enjoying being able to shape that role. She says the firm has gone through several different evolutions of paying attention to its people, but they are now at a place where they are ready to have a specific team in place to intentionally create these experiences to set TPG apart from all other organizations.
Some of the programs, benefits and perks that they are currently working on include:
- Updated parental leave that gives 12-18 weeks for primary care and 2-4 weeks for secondary care that can be taken anytime in the first year of becoming a parent
- Lunch is provided for employees
- They are currently working with Author of Radical Candor, Kim Scott to improve the ways they provide feedback to employees
- Updated performance review system that allows they to provide ongoing feedback rather than once or twice a year
At TPG they are also focusing on providing flexibility, diversity and inclusion, and career planning for their employees as these are the biggest trends they are seeing when it comes to the future of work.
Speaking to the growing trend of employees wanting a clear understanding of their career path inside the organization, Anna says, “I've noticed people lately, before accepting an offer, want to understand what their career trajectory is going to look like, asking for a little bit more of a, I won't call it a formula per se, but really wanting to have an understanding that they're going to be with an organization where they can grow. So they want to trust the organization that they're going with and hold people accountable in a different way than I'd say maybe historically you've seen in the market.”
When it comes to finding and retaining the top talent Anilu says, “I think that the reputation of your firm is something that you can never take for granted. Because it is definitely the calling card in the market, and if that doesn't align, or if you have a different understanding of how you're perceived in the market, you are going to run into trouble. So I think that we keep very humble on that, but I feel very good about how we're positioned.”
What you will learn in this episode:
- How TPG is shaping great experiences for their employees
- Anna and Anilu’s advice to managers on how to give intentional, effective feedback
- How hiring and retaining talent has changed
- Workforce trends they are paying attention to
- Changes they have made to the performance rating process
- Their thoughts on benefits and perks
Thu, 18 July 2019
We have come to understand that in order to attract and retain the best talent in the future of work, organizations must create a workplace where people want, not need, to show up to work. But in this effort to create great employee experience, we can sometimes get sidetracked with focusing solely on perks and benefits.
While perks and benefits can be very beneficial to employees, it can also be dangerous. There is a term in psychology known as the Hedonic Treadmill, also known as the Hedonic Adaptation. This is a tendency in humans that has been observed which shows that we quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.
What does this mean for organizations implementing the latest and greatest perks and benefits at the drop of a hat? Well, it means we adapt to our surroundings quickly. So, let’s say your organization implements a new policy stating that there will be free food everyday and every Friday is bring your dog to work day. You may notice that on Day 1 of the new policy people are excited and engaged, they think their employer is the best.
But eventually these new perks will become old news, everyone will adapt and people will essentially become numb to the perk. Which means the organization has to come up with new and better perks to top the last few to get engagement back up. And on and on it goes.
The truth is, perks are a nice tactic, but they are not a strategy.
Direct download: its_time_to_move_beyond_perks.mp3
-- posted at: 12:44am PDT
Mon, 15 July 2019
Chetan Dube is the CEO at IPsoft, an American multinational technology company which primarily focuses on Artificial Intelligence. IPsoft has just over 2,000 employees in 15 countries.
When you think of AI you might remember an experience you’ve had with a chatbot when trying to contact a company in order to ask a question, make a return, or purchase an item. Most of our experiences with chatbots are extremely frustrating and commonly end with us screaming “agent” into the phone. But IPsoft is working on solving this problem.
Chetan says the problem is the average IQ of the chatbots and virtual assistants is around that of a 5 or 6 year old human. How can you expect great customer service from a five year old? You can’t. So what IPsoft is doing is studying the human brain and finding ways to mimic the human hippocampus, ways to make chatbots and virtual assistants more flexible and able to read a customer’s mood.
So where are we now in the grand scheme of things being able to recreate human intelligence in AI? Chetan says, “It's not a discussion if true artificial intelligence will start to rival human intellect. The only thing that is of discussion nowadays is when. Is it going to be in, as you mentioned, the Curtswell, the singularity and you feel that, is it going to be in 2030-35, is it going to be as we maintain by 2025, you will pass someone in the hallway and you won't be able to tell if it's a human or an android. I think that's the real difference is that just the time horizon. If it's going to be in the next six years, if it's going to be in the next 11 years. It's inevitable at this point that you will get to the point where these agents start to mimic human intellect.”
With all of that said, Chetan still believes that AI will never be able to truly master human creativity. This is a skill that is unique to humans. Machines and Technology can complete tasks, find answers in their databases, use algorithms to solve math problems, but Chetan believes they won’t be able to cure cancer, create life, find a way to colonize Mars, etc…Humans will always have a role no matter how many jobs AI can take over, because of human creativity.
The fact is advances in AI and technology are coming, it is not a question of if, but when and how fast. So what is Chetan’s advice for how to prepare for what’s to come? He says, “Dust the rust off your brain and focus on creativity and coming up with things that are ... Do not play the machines on their playing field, you will lose. Do not play on mundane, ordinary chores and say I'm going to be the Luddite or neo-Luddite and try and stop the machines from driving cars or flying planes or driving trucks. They're going to. They're going to. That's what they do. They are just more effective at that. Humans are more effective at, and will continue to be, creativity.”
What you will learn in this episode:
- How Chetan defines AI
- What kind of AI IPsoft is designing and building
- Where we are in the grand scheme of things of being able to recreate human intelligence
- Is the world of AI over hyped?
- Whether or not we should be worried about AI
- How we can embrace AI and what’s coming
- Who or what Amelia is
Direct download: Chetan_Dube_podcast_done.mp3
-- posted at: 10:08am PDT
Thu, 11 July 2019
If I were to ask you, when was the last time you spent time or money on creating an experience for yourself, what would the answer be? Most likely, the answer would be a few weeks ago, a few days ago, or maybe even earlier today. Experiences are genuinely human things, we care about them a lot.
Experiences are connected to our thoughts, emotions and memories. Think back to a big moment in your life, perhaps it was when you bought your first house, the day you graduated from college, the birth of your first child, or the first day in a new job. I bet you can remember the emotions you felt and the things you were thinking. Were you happy, sad, excited, angry?
Our experiences have a huge impact on us and they shape our relationships with others. With experience being that influential, you can see why it is so important for organizations to create positive experiences for their people. It will impact the relationships between your people and management, each other, the organization and the brand.
So, what kind of experiences are you creating for your people today?
Sun, 7 July 2019
Cameron Hedrick is the Chief Learning Officer at Citi, a 200 year old financial services company with around 200,000 employees in 100 countries. Cameron has been with Citi for 16 years and prior to that he worked at Fidelity for over 7 years.
As Chief Learning Officer at Citi Cameron is responsible for the performance rating system inside the organization, defining the corporate culture, and of course the learning platforms.
Citi is addressing a lot of key issues including climate change, urbanization, AI and automation, changing demographics, and plenty of others. Some of these issues may make sense for an organization to focus on, such as AI and automation, but how does climate change and urbanization affect Citi and other organizations?
When it comes to urbanization Citi realizes that there is currently a higher concentration of people in big cities--New York, Chicago, LA, etc… and so in the past a lot of companies have focused on putting headquarters there to draw in the best talent. But what Citi has realized as well is that the cost of distance between the worker and the company is going down, because with current technology people are able to live anywhere and work.
Cameron explains why they are addressing climate change as well, “I think we think of it for at least two reasons, but the obvious one is that it changes business dynamics, right? When you have areas that are going to be dramatically impacted by climate change or over time, coastal flooding will change the sort of real estate outline of the coastal areas that we've come to know, many of which are heavily populated. When drought and rain patterns happen, that changes the flow of goods around the world. So those are some of the reasons we look at it from a business standpoint. And then from a social responsibility standpoint, we think about it as well. Are we being responsible as a firm to not contribute to the issue?”
What is the culture like inside of Citi? Cameron says especially because they are a financial institution the culture has a large focus on ethics and trust. It is also about creating harmony between “the mission and value proposition that we put forth with the way we rate and pay people with the policies and processes that we put in place and with the leadership behaviors we espouse.”
Citi uses something called the voice of the employees survey to measure culture and then they cross-pollinate that survey with other metrics such as performance rating patterns, attrition patterns, audit issues, etc.. and when you put all of these metrics together you start to see the company’s strengths and weaknesses. From there they can create actionable items to work on their weaknesses.
Citi is a 200 year old company, but they are not afraid to evolve and change with the times. Cameron attributes the company’s longevity to collaboration, local management, and the proper amount of risk.
What you will learn in this episode:
- How a 200 year old company has kept up with the changing world of work
- How learning has changed over the past decades
- Macro trends Citi is paying attention to
- How they are upskilling their employees
- Cameron’s view of AI and automation
- How Citi handles performance ratings
- How to measure corporate culture
Direct download: Cameron20Hedrick20podcast20done.mp3
-- posted at: 10:08pm PDT
Thu, 4 July 2019
In the past when we thought about work we mostly thought of it as a job where we put in our time and then we make money to pay the bills. But the mindset around work is shifting and work is much more than just a paycheck.
Now work is more about a sense of self, identity, and purpose. The impact that our work has on our customers, our communities and the world gives us a reason for being. People aren’t picking jobs for just salary anymore, they want to feel as though their work has meaning.
What are you doing as an organization to account for this new way of thinking about work? Are you still thinking about job openings in your organization as a position to fill with a warm body who has decent skills? Or are you thinking about how someone can use that job to bring meaning and purpose to their life and how they will be able to impact the world around them within that role?
Direct download: the_definition_of_work_has_changed.mp3
-- posted at: 11:41pm PDT
Mon, 1 July 2019
Haenim Sunim is the bestselling author of Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection and The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World. He is also a monk and a Zen Buddhist teacher. Haemin was born and raised in South Korea and moved to the US when he was 18 to study at Berkeley, Harvard, and Princeton. While he was working on his Master’s degree program he went back to South Korea and received the proper monastic training there.
He has over 1 million followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His first book sold over 3 million copies and he has taught Asian religions at Hampshire College in Massachusetts for seven years.
In our society today people always seem to be so busy. We get burnout, stressed, overworked, overwhelmed. Haemin believes it is because we are goal driven, striving to get the end result as quickly as possible, and we aren’t taking time to enjoy what we are doing. We have lost the joy of living and working.
Is it possible to reclaim our joy at work? Haemin says it is possible and suggests, “one of the ways to reclaim joy is to rediscover your own intention. What is your first reasons why you got into that particular industry? Or, that particular job. Usually that intention, first intention wasn't just make a lot of money and just do this kind of thing or that. But rather, it usually centers around helping other people or doing something good for the greater society or something. If you can just realign yourself with your first love, with your first intention, that's one step closer to reclaiming joy.”
He also suggests taking time off away from work to avoid burnout. Even if you only take one hour away from work to go for a walk and think about other things it can help you feel better.
In order to combat stress Haemin suggests we don’t keep everything compiled in our head, because that is what makes it worse. If you have too many things happening and you are overwhelmed, write everything down on paper and start with the easiest tasks first. Getting those first couple tasks done will motivate you to keep going.
Haemin’s daily routine is a very intense one, when he is at the monastery he is up by 3:00am and then throughout the day they have specific times blocked off for meditation, cleaning, and eating. When he is not at the monastery he is up by 5:00am and he always makes time to meditate and to walk before and after he goes in to work at The School of Broken Hearts in South Korea.
One of his pieces of advice to listeners is to go to bed an hour earlier than usual, and see how it affects your schedule and attitude. By going to bed earlier, you get up earlier in the morning which gives you more time in the morning to start your day right--whether you pray, meditate, workout, etc.. starting your day right can have a huge impact.
And if you are having trouble finding purpose and meaning at work, Haemin says, “people find it when you are doing something beyond your own self interests. If you are helping other people, no matter how small it is, you see that you are contributing something for the better. The reason why it provides you with the sense of meaning is because from a Buddhist perspective, there is nothing but one interconnected reality. If you just subscribe yourself only in terms of your conceptual thoughts, ideas, then you reside, you live your life mainly from the perspective of your own ego.”
What you will learn in this episode:
- How Haenim became a Zen Buddhist teacher and what a typical day looks like for him
- How we can reclaim joy in our lives and at work
- Haemin’s advice on combating stress
- His thoughts on technology and social media
- How to deal with loss in business
- How to disassociate ourselves from our career
- Advice to graduates figuring out what to do in life
- The importance of self care
Direct download: Haenim20Sunim20podcast20done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:10pm PDT
Thu, 27 June 2019
In Psychology there are two ways of thinking; System 1, which is a fast, intuitive way, almost like a gut reaction and then there is System 2, which is a more conscious, purposeful way of thinking.
A lot of times in our organizations we tend to make decisions about our people initiatives and employee experiences in a System 1 type thinking. We react quickly, we don’t think about it too deeply, we just do something for the sake of saying we did something.
We need to take a step back and be more conscious about our decisions around our initiatives to understand what we are doing and why. We need to act in a more mindful, purposeful way instead of reacting in a knee-jerk fashion. Our initiatives will be much more effective and successful if we can change our way of thinking.
Direct download: the_two_ways_of_thinking.mp3
-- posted at: 2:31am PDT
Mon, 24 June 2019
Christy Gillenwater is the President & CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. Christy has been in the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development field for over 20 years, mostly in various cities throughout Indiana. She moved to Chattanooga in 2017. Chattanooga is the first city to be twice named Outside Magazine’s “Best Town Ever” and it was recently ranked one of U.S. News’ Best Places to Live.
What does a Chamber of Commerce actually do? Christy shares that while every chamber has differences, one of the main focuses they all share is “the economic prosperity of their geographic region, so whether that's the county, their city, or a multi-state, multi-county area, they focus on making sure that their existing businesses can grow, thrive and prosper, that those companies have the talent they need to meet existing and future customer demands. They really think about and partner with their elected leaders, and business leaders, around what does their community need to continue to grow and diversify, and build their GDP in their area.”
One of the main focuses of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce is Velocity 2040, which allows the community to have a voice in the city’s preparation for the future. A committee of over 50 people conducted a series of workshops and then they went out into neighborhoods and surveyed citizens. These surveys were meant to find out the priorities, hopes, and dreams of the community. From there the committee put together the Velocity 2040 report, which is what is being used to create actionable plans that bring the dreams of the community to life.
The five priorities that were pinpointed by the surveys are:
- Learning--They are focused on educational excellence which means making sure students have what they need to learn and ensuring that everyone has access to good schools and good jobs.
- Thriving--They are thinking about the types of jobs that are being created and doing what they can to make sure the best talent is being recruited to the local area
- 20 Minutes or Less--This is in reference to their new transit standard to help families and individuals overcome “time poverty”
- Leadership--Making sure the community is intentionally inclusive and diverse
- Collaboration--They have a new collaboration process in order to solve issues with openness, respect, participation, and a shared vision.
For each of these five areas the community is working on specific strategies that will help achieve their goals to build a better Chattanooga over the next 20 years.
Christy says individual citizens are able to make a difference in their cities. She encourages everyone to reach out to and engage with their chamber members. “I would say call your elected officials. Call your city council member. If you have county commissioners, or a county mayor, reach out to them. How can I help? Call your state legislators if there's something you're passionate about, and figure out how to volunteer, how to get engaged. Call your United Way.”
What you will learn in this episode:
- What a Chamber of Commerce actually does
- Some of the big trends Christy is paying attention to when thinking about how the workforce is changing and how it’s impacting citizens
- A look at some of the initiatives the city of Chattanooga has going on, including Velocity 2040
- Christy’s view of the future of jobs and AI and automation
- What Christy believes the city of the future looks like
- What citizens can do to help shape their own city
- What role business plays in the future of cities
Velocity 2040 Information: https://velocity2040.com/welcome/
Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce: www.Chattanoogachamber.com
Direct download: Christy20Gillenwater20podcast20done.mp3
-- posted at: 10:21am PDT
Thu, 20 June 2019
Looking around at the world today it is so easy to get down, be negative, give up hope, and have a bad attitude. But in order to be successful in this new world of work it is crucial to be optimistic. We have to be positive, otherwise we lose our desire to take action and move forward.
So how can we be more optimistic when things seem to be so dark and crazy all around us? One thing we can do is to focus on the things we are grateful for. Come up with a list of 5 things each day that you are thankful for and think about those when you are stressed or overwhelmed. We can also think about what impact we can have and things that we can do to for our family, our community and our organizations that can make a difference. And maybe we need to limit the time we spend on social media or the time we spend watching or reading the news.
It may seem like a challenging thing to do, but it is so important to our success, in work and in life, that we be optimistic.
Mon, 17 June 2019
David Epstein is the author of two top 10 New York Bestselling books, The Sports Gene and Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, which is the topic of today’s discussion. David has a fascinating and very diverse background that led him to write both of these books.
David has a Master’s degree in environmental science and journalism. While he was in college studying to be a scientist he was also a competitive runner. When one of his teammates died in a race, David decided to merge his interests of science and sports together to figure out what happened and why extremely fit athletes can suffer sudden cardiac arrest.
While investigating the disease he ended up writing for Sports Illustrated. During his time at Sports Illustrated he wrote about things like the only living Olympian to have survived a concentration camp and the revelation that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was using steroids. He was also asked to speak at a conference about sports development where he and Malcolm Gladwell, Author of Outliers: The Story of Success, debated the best route to success in sports.
Through his research David has found that the best success comes from athletes who have a “sampling period” early on in their career. They don’t focus in on one sport, they try a wide variety therefore learning a broad range of skills and techniques. This goes against the typical view that athletes should train and specialize in one sport from early on in order to master that one sport.
David then applied this same theory to see if it was the same in the workplace as it is on the field, and his research showed that while specialists still have a place and they are still needed, they have been overvalued in our society whereas generalists have been greatly undervalued. It is generalists who are most likely going to triumph in the future of work.
David says, “If you go back through periods in history, there are times of more and less specialization. But, I'm thinking about it much more in a modern sense. I think some of that made sense, some of the science of management efficiency. Because, as industry grew, people were facing pretty repetitive challenges, or what the psychologist, Robin Hogarth, calls kind learning environments. Where you're doing the same thing over and over, the feedback is very clear, next steps are clear, all the information is available, and the feedback is always accurate, and so on, and patterns repeat.That made a lot of sense for industry, and I think it also influenced things like education, because that was preparing workers for that type of work, and so on. It totally made sense. But, I think in the knowledge economy, people aren't facing those repetitive challenges the same way, and they're having to re-invent themselves over their career.”
If you are a specialist now, David says, it’s never too late to make changes. But you don’t have to change the industry you are in to become a generalist. The problem comes when we get into a rut and keep doing the same thing day after day. After awhile of this we plateau, we stop growing and learning. We have to keep challenging ourselves and get out of our comfort zones.
“I don't think we have to think about taking flying leaps all the time. But, for me, I am, at all times, basically running little experiments to keep trying to triangulate what types of projects and work fit me. I'm just doing that all the time, and I'm sure I will for the rest of my life.”
What you will learn in this episode:
- What led David to write both of his bestselling books
- Why generalists are more successful leaders
- How you can develop your range
- When did the idea of specialization start and why
Direct download: David20Epstein20podcast20done.mp3
-- posted at: 12:48pm PDT
Thu, 13 June 2019
We tend to talk about technology as if it is its own entity that has its own mind, mission and agenda. “Technology is going to replace our jobs, it is going to get out of hand, it will take over the world!”
But the truth is we have control over technology, it is our choice how we use it. We can decide whether we want technology to replace us or augment us. There are already a lot of great organizations, like Accenture, Amazon and McDonald’s, making the conscious decision to use technology to augment their people.
Technology is a tool, how are you going to use that tool? Are you going to let it replace jobs, or are you going to find innovative ways to use technology to help your people get their work done?
Direct download: will_technology_replace_or_augment.mp3
-- posted at: 10:15am PDT