What Leadership Will Look Like Over The Next 10 Years
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What will it take to lead effectively over the next decade? How can you prepare yourself for what will likely be called for as we navigate times ahead?
Well, according to the author of Future Leader Jacob Morgan, who interviewed 140 global CEOs (of companies like Audi, Mastercard, Unilever, Oracle, and SAP) and surveyed over 14,000 employees, there are four mindsets and five skills that our current business leaders believe will be needed in our future leaders.
Curious what they are?
Tune in to the full episode to learn about:
- What current global CEOs believe leadership will require over the next decade
- What mindsets and skillsets you should develop to position yourself strategically to lead effectively
- Micro and Macro trends that influence leadership
- What it takes to build a brand for yourself
- The dynamics involved in writing a book (hint: you might be surprised at the distribution of effort)
Connect with Jacob Morgan:
Jacob Morgan’s Story:
After graduating with honors in business management economics and psychology from the University of California Santa Cruz, Jacob was excited to join the corporate world.
At his first job he was told that he’d be traveling the country, meeting with executives and entrepreneurs, and doing all sorts of exciting work. A few months in, he was stuck doing data entry, cold calling, and PowerPoint presentations. One day the CEO came out of his nice corner office, handed Jacob a $10 bill, and said, “I’m late for a meeting, go grab me a cup of coffee, and get something for yourself as well.” That was the last corporate job he ever had.
Today, Jacob Morgan is a trained futurist and one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership, the future of work, employee experience, and leadership. He speaks in front of tens of thousands of people each year and his content is seen over a million times a year. Jacob is the best-selling author of four books: The Future Leader (Wiley 2020) The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley, 2017), The Future of Work (Wiley, 2014), and The Collaborative Organization (McGraw Hill, 2012). He speaks at over 50 conferences a year including TED Academy which is one of the largest TED events in the world. In addition, Jacob provides advisory and thought leadership services to various organizations around the world.
He is the founder of The Future of Work University at FutureOfWorkUniversity.com, an online education and training platform that helps individuals and organizations thrive in the rapidly changing world of work. Courses explore topics such as employee experience, the future of work, and leadership skills. Jacob also created “The Future If,” a global community of business leaders, authors and futurists who explore what our future can look like IF certain technologies, ideas, approaches and trends actually happen. The community looks at everything from AI and automation to leadership and management practices to augmented reality and virtual reality, the 4th industrial revolution and everything in between.
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Jacob Morgan: For leaders who are constantly being pulled in different directions where we constantly have notifications and things buzzing and binging all over the place, being able to listen is going to be very, very crucial, and it’s becoming very, very hard to do.
Tanya: That’s Jacob Morgan, four-time best-selling author, TED speaker, and Founder of The Future of Work University whose research explores what it takes to be an effective leader and what employees care most about in terms of their work. After interviewing more than 140 CEOs and 14,000 employees, Jacob Morgan shares critical learnings about what the next generation of leaders will look like and what leading organizations will do to attract, retain, and motivate their troops. He is also a guest writer for Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, the Harvard Business Review, and CNN, just to name a few. Jacob Morgan, you have a very interesting story, so you went from being a bad student to a four-time author, a speaker, and a thought leader. How exactly did that happen? What was your journey?
Jacob Morgan: It was a pretty nonlinear journey. Originally, I assumed my career path would be like what most students think their career path is going to be. You go to school. You go work for an organization after school. You maybe go back and get your MBA, and then you ascend the ranks of whatever organization you’re at and become a manager, SVP. For me, I had this dream of becoming the chief marketing officer of a big company, like a Coca-Cola or an IBM, and so mentally, when I graduated college from UC Santa Cruz, that’s where my mind was at. Okay, I was on climb the corporate ladder, do well, work hard, and everything will be okay.
My first job out of college, I went to interview for this organization in downtown Los Angeles, and anybody who is familiar with the L.A. area knows how terrible the traffic is. I had a three-hour daily commute, an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half back from work every day. When I interviewed for this organization, they basically told me that I’m going to be doing these great things. I’ll be traveling, meeting with entrepreneurs and executives. It’ll be exciting and fun. I thought, all right, this is perfect. This is why I worked so hard in school.
I take the job. A couple months into my job I’m doing data entry and cold calling and PowerPoint presentations. Then the last straw was when this executive came out of his office, and he says, “I’m late for a meeting. I need you to go run and get me a cup of coffee, and by the way, get yourself a latte as well.” In my mind, I lost it. That was the last fulltime job I ever had working for anybody else or one of. I had one more after that, and funny enough, a couple of weeks ago I actually saw this person at the airport.
Tanya: Oh, my God, how did you – did you say hi?
Jacob Morgan: He came up to – I didn’t recognize him, and he was sitting there with his son. He’s like, “Jacob Morgan Morgan?” I was like, “Yes.” I immediately saw him, and he’s like, “I saw your talk online where you mentioned this coffee story.”
Jacob Morgan: Yeah, I’m like, “What are you talking about? What coffee story?” Yeah, I don’t why – I didn’t want to get into this whole thing with him talking about it. That story’s propelled me, and I’ve used it in all my talks. I didn’t want to get into that whole thing because we’re sitting in an airport terminal. I was just like, “Oh, yeah, maybe I mentioned that once or twice. I’ll have to go back and check it out,” just played it off. I think he’s still doing the same thing that he’s doing. He’s working at a pharma company doing – managing ad spend and stuff like that, but it was just a very funny, awkward encounter.
Tanya: That’s so funny.
Jacob Morgan: He was with his son’s baseball team, and I can tell that – he turned to his friends. A group of guys are standing there. I could tell he was whispering to them. He’s like, “You see that guy behind me? I fired him. He used to work for me 15 years ago.” I could tell there was something like that going on. I got a kick out of it.
Tanya: Oh, my God, actually, okay, this is really funny. When I graduated college and I got my first job at Forbes, I was so excited and very similar experience. One of my bosses kept asking me every day for a coffee. I was like I can’t believe I went to school for this. Every time she’d say, “You’re such a rock star, Tanya.” I’m like really? Thank you so much.
Jacob Morgan: You’re a coffee rock star.
Tanya: Yeah, exactly. I get it. I totally get it. Okay, so from that decision, where – how did you get to being really a four-time author, speaker, thought leader on everything, employee experience, leadership related, company culture environments? How did you get there?
Jacob Morgan: After that, I ended up moving to the Bay Area. I had one more job out here in the Bay Area; long story short, similar experience, bad job working for somebody, and I quit. I actually started doing search engine optimization consulting work. That was the job that I had in the Bay Area, I don’t know, 15 years ago. I was doing a lot of search engine optimization stuff. At the time, social media was becoming popular, so I pivoted a little bit and did social media consulting. Then, shortly after that, using these tools internally became pretty popular, like getting employees to communicate and collaborate on things like Salesforce Chatter and Jive and Lithium. Those were the platforms of the day. That morphed a little bit into enterprise collaboration and social business, Enterprise 2.0, and then that evolved a little bit into the broader theme of the future of work. Then that became employee experience, and then that became the future leader. These were just natural evolutions from one topic to the other.
As I was participating in more conversations and as I was able to grow my personal brand and started to speak at conferences and events, I just started to think about what is missing? What are people talking about? When I wrote my first book in 2012, The Collaborative Organization, there was no guide for how to use these technologies internally, and when I wrote the book, The Future of Work, there was no book out there that talked about how employees and organizations and leaders are changing. When I wrote The Employee Experience Advantage, there was no book based on research that looks at what employee experience is and how to design it. Similarly, with this new book The Future Leader, there’s no book out there that looks at leadership over the next 10 years, which actually brings in the insights from 140 CEOs and 14,000 employees. I try to look at what’s missing, and then I try to create what – basically, what I would find interesting and what people are asking me for that I don’t always have answers to.
Tanya: Love the progression, very, very interesting. Where do you spend most of your time on? Is it writing, or what do you mostly do?
Jacob Morgan: A mix of a few things. I do quite a bit of speaking, so traveling is definitely a big part of what I do. I’d say that’s one aspect.
Tanya: Hopefully, not to Asia lately.
Jacob Morgan: No, yeah, I mean, I have traveled a lot to Asia. Not recently because what’s going on there, but I do travel a fair amount. During the summer, it slows down a bit. I mean, we’ll see what happens with the virus that’s out there now, but a lot of my time is spent traveling and speaking at conferences and events. I also create a lot of content in the form of videos, podcasts, courses, so a lot of time goes to that and then just planning for stuff. I have a course that’s coming out based on this book in a month or two so planning how to launch that. There’s a lot of content and creation stuff, but there’s also a lot of the behind the scenes of just running stuff and getting ready for things to go out.
For example, when this book came out – a lot of people don’t realize unless you’ve written a book, but most of the work actually goes into launching the book, not writing it, so reaching out to people. How do you get it on best-seller list, getting people to share it, promoting the book, running different ad campaigns in various places, reaching out to various communities? There’s a lot that goes into just the logistics of building the brand that I spend a lot of time on.
Tanya: Mm-hmm, absolutely. Yeah, somebody told me that the distribution is 30% writing, 70% marketing of whatever you write.
Jacob Morgan: Exactly, and it’s like that not just for the book but for the course. I find that building a personal brand is also a lot of work, just being out there, so to speak. I do spend a fair amount of time on that too.
Tanya: I actually would love to spend a little time on the recent book that you just launched as of two days ago, which is amazing, and I highly recommend everybody to go and get a copy. It’s called The Future Leader where you have interviewed 140 different CEOs of companies like Audi, Mastercard, Unilever, Oracle, SAP, some of the other big ones and then, like you mentioned, 14,000 employees. What did you learn?
Jacob Morgan: Yes, one shameless plug in case anyone is interested. We created a URL for it at getfutureleaderbook if anybody’s interested in grabbing one. We learned a couple of things, actually. First, the big thing that I wanted to figure out is what are the most important skills and mindsets that future leaders need to have? That’s one thing that I learned from the book is what are those skills and mindsets? I can share some of them with you here. I won’t go through all of them.
I created something called “the notable nine.” The notable nine are four mindsets and five skills. For each one of these mindsets and skills, I created clever names for them like the Explorer, the Chef, Yoda, the Futurist, but I’ll just talk maybe about some of the components of those. Some of the important mindsets are things like being able to think big picture, being able to surround yourself and be comfortable leading those who are not like you and being a part of teams, people of different cultures, backgrounds, geographies, etc. Another important mindset is learning to serve and also learning to serve yourself, like taking care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. Another crucial mindset is around balancing the humanity and the technology aspect of work and life.
I talk about the importance of curiosity; how to think like a Futurist, which means thinking in terms of scenarios and possibilities; being tech savvy and digitally fluent; listening and communication, which have always been around but are also two things that are changing more than anything else; emotional intelligence, specifically empathy and self-awareness; having a growth mindset and being able to help make other people more successful than you. Those are some of the things that I talk about in the book, just very high level, and of course, there’s a lot more in there than that.
Tanya: Okay, then you say – so two questions, let me start with one. Listening and communicating are key and have been around for a long time, but you said they’re changing. How so?
Jacob Morgan: In a lot of different ways. It’s very hard for us to listen nowadays. If you think about it, we’re so distracted. We have all these things going on all over the place. People want things from us. We have notifications popping up everywhere. It’s fricking hard to listen today, and what happens is inside of our organizations I found – and this is very true for our leaders as well. We do a very good job of hearing each other but not listening, and I’m sure a lot of people who are listening or reading this will be able to relate. We’ve all had that encounter where you are having a conversation with somebody, and somebody’s actually physically present. They’re looking at you, but you can tell that they’re not there. That’s a very good example of hearing but not listening.
Listening is when you put away the technology. You focus on your body language. You make the conversation feel collaborative. It’s conscious effort. It’s work. It’s time. It’s energy, whereas hearing – I hear an airplane flying overhead right now. It’s the unconscious act of letting sound enter your ear. For leaders who are constantly being pulled in different directions where we constantly have notifications and things buzzing and binging all over the place, being able to listen is going to be very, very crucial, and it’s becoming very, very hard to do. We also have these different platforms on which to listen to.
Communication is the same. One CEO I interviewed, he said, on average, an employee will maybe hear me speak 20 times – or 20 minutes a year. This was Nick Nagano. He’s the CEO of a company called Tokio Main. I believe based in Japan. He has 32,000 people who work for him, and he said that, if an employee is only maybe going to hear from me 20 minutes a year, I better make sure that what I say get across, regardless of what the channel is. If I’m texting, if I’m Skyping, if I’m writing an email, if I’m in person, whatever it is, we need to learn how to get our message across regardless of what the channel is that we’re using.
I’ll give you an example. If you’re going to have a serious conversation with somebody about let’s say letting them go, don’t send them a text message with frowny face. If you’re trying to get a project update from your team, don’t send them a text message because now they have to respond to you with their thumbs while they have to write 2,000 words. We’ve all gotten those emails from people that look like they are letters that should be written to a therapist where they just unload. It’s 5,000 words of who know what. Those are very clear examples of people who don’t understand the channel they’re using on how to get their point across. Listening and communication have always been important, but again, they are changing more than ever.
I mentioned that these were the skills and mindsets, the notable nine. You asked me earlier what I learned, and the most shocking thing that I learned is that leaders around the world think they are doing a fairly good job of practicing these skills and mindsets. If you want, I can send you the exact numbers afterwards. These are midlevel leaders and senior executives around the world think they’re doing either a reasonably well or a very good job of practicing these skills and mindsets. The crazy thing is that people who work for these leaders say that their leaders are doing a terrible job of practicing these skills and mindsets. The more senior you are, the bigger that gap is, the more disconnected you get from the company, and this I thought was very scary. Leaders don’t see anything wrong with how they’re leading, but the people who work for these leaders are saying, oh, my God, my leader’s a disaster. That to me is the worrisome part that we need to fix.
Tanya: Mm-hmm. As you’re talking, I’m thinking about all the sessions that we’ve had with clients that actually addresses exactly what you’re talking about, the gap. Everything from the CEO bubble where literally, by virtue of that position, if they’re not extremely conscious to breakdown that barrier, they live in a bubble. They are completely disconnected with the pulse of what’s happening in their organization, and I have a very clear example of this that happened. It’s not somebody that we worked with, but yeah, it didn’t end so well for him. He got pushed out. Yeah, so I agree, there’s a gap between where people think they’re leading versus the actual effectiveness on the ground of how they are leading.
Jacob Morgan, I’d love to – you said you have four mindsets, five skills, and that was at the core of what you learned. How did you come up with that framework?
Jacob Morgan: It’s from interviewing all these CEOs, and I would ask them – I asked all of them a series of 12 questions. One of the questions I asked them – well, two of them, I should say, are what are the most important mindsets that leaders over the next ten years are going to need to have? In other words, how should leaders of the future think? Then I also asked them what are the skills that future leaders need to have, meaning what should future leaders actually need to know how to do? I’d say most of these conversations were – some were done in person. Some were done via phone calls, and a couple of them were done via email. Most were either in person, or via phone, or Skype.
I asked all these CEOs these things, and then I took the 140 transcripts. We had to read through all 140 of them, and I had a team I worked with. We looked at what are the most common skills and mindsets that keep coming up, and which ones can be grouped together that basically mean the same thing but CEOs call them different things? That’s where we came up with this notable nine. It’s the insights directly from these 140 CEOs.
Tanya: Do you have any guidance on how to access that mindset? If people know that they really have to think big picture and be able to lead those that are not like them or develop this ability to serve, serve themselves, if they don’t currently have that mindset or access to that, how do they get access to it and train themselves.
Jacob Morgan: Yeah, I mean, that’s a big, big question. The way that I structure it in the book is that, for each mindset that I talk about, I give techniques for how to practice and embrace that particular mindset. In the case of embracing diversity, the way you practice that is you surround yourself with people who are not like you. You ask to be a part of teams, or you have friends, or networks, or communities of people who are not like you, meaning that they don’t look like you. They don’t have the same cultural background, attitudes, values. Basically, they’re not like you, and so if you look around and you find that, hey, wait a minute, everybody’s a white person with the same religious background, same upbringing that I have, chances are you’re going to have a very hard time embracing people who are different than you.
It’s really important, whether you are an entrepreneur, part of a small team or a big team, that you make the effort. I say make the effort because it’s not just about being okay being a part of diverse teams. You need to actually seek these things out. If you get put on a team, for example, where everyone is like you, raise your hand and say, hey, you know what? This is a great team. Everyone here is super smart, but it’s not very diverse. Do you think we can bring in some more diverse people here just to get some various perspectives? You need to really make a conscious effort to do these types of things, so that’s an example for how to practice the diversity piece.
For thinking something like big picture, that one also doesn’t take a ton of work, but if you’re part of an organization or part of an – or if you’re an entrepreneur, you just pay attention to what’s happening in the world. If you’re part of a team, for example, don’t just focus on your product, your geography, the day-to-day stuff that you’re working on. Try to understand the business as a whole. Try to talk to some of your coworkers and peers and other teams in maybe different part of the world and say, hey, what are you seeing? What are you thinking? Build these relationships with others so you can get a sense of what’s happening on a big picture level.
Those are, at least for that aspect, things that you can do. Again, I mean, it depends which one you want to talk about. I have emotional intelligence in there, the futurist, the technology stuff, but if there are any others you want to explore, I’m happy to give some techniques or tactics on how to practice them.
Tanya: Yeah. You know what? It’s very, very interesting, and I think, ultimately, what it comes down to is just be conscious and work your way into practicing whatever is the mess, right?
Jacob Morgan: Yes.
Tanya: Yeah, I get that. That’s great. Okay, so I’d like to talk about your – not your most recent book, The Future Leader, but the one right before that, The Employee Experience Advantage. In that book, you come up with – you did a lot of research, and you came up with three things that were really important to people in intentionally designing the experience that employees have. What are those?
Jacob Morgan: There are three environments that shape every single employee experience for every employee around the world and those three environments are culture, technology and physical space. Culture is, basically, how employees feel working for you. The technology aspect is about the tools and resources that employees have access to to do their jobs, and the space is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the spaces in which employees work. Those are really the three things that organizations, that leaders of organizations can control to create great experiences for their people: culture, technology, and space.
Tanya: This actually comes from a previous conversation that you and I had. I was writing up something about culture, and I was actually quoting you on one of my articles. You talked about having ten elements for culture, four for space, and three for technology. What is that? Can you go into a little bit more depth?
Jacob Morgan: Sure, oh, my goodness, you’re going to test me on this now, aren’t you? Yeah, so there are 17 things in total, and I’ll give you examples of some of them. For culture, as an example, health and wellness programs was one aspect, employees feeling valued, having learning and growth and development opportunities. Even things like compensation went into there, coaching and mentoring, leaders who are coaches and mentors. All of those things went into the cultural aspect. Like you said, there’s ten of them.
For the physical space, there were things in there like leveraging multiple workspace options, so not just having one option but having multiple workspace options. Another thing that I found is does your organization have this practice of allowing friends and family members to visit the space, kind of show it off? Do you have that ability to show the space to others? That speaks to how the leaders view their space. Are you comfortable having people coming in and seeing your space? A lot of companies where it’s all gray cubicles and brown walls, they’re like, no, we don’t want anybody coming in here, and so leveraging multiple workspace options I think is important. Offers workspace flexibility was another one. Do employees have the opportunity to, basically, work when and where and how they want?
When we look at technology, there were three things such as having consumer grade technology and having platforms that are based on the needs of employees, not just the requirements of the business. Those were a few of them in there, but there are 17 in total. Oh, and by the way, I forgot one more for physical space. The most important one probably is the values of the organization are reflected in the spaces in which employees work.
Tanya: Ultimately, the big learning of the need to create employee experiences is what? Why now? Why is that important? Why should business leaders really keep their eye on that?
Jacob Morgan: We’re starting to see how hard it is becoming to attract and retain top talent, and the power has shifted from the organizations to employees. Years ago, when your organization had a job that it wanted to fill, the employees would show up, and they would try to convince the organization why they should work there. Today, what we’re starting to see is that now it’s the organizations who are trying to convince the employees why they should work there, and this shift means that we have to move from creating an organization where we assume people need to be there to create an environment where people genuinely want to be there. How do you create an environment where people want to be there? You design experiences for them where they actually want to show up, and this is what allows them to bring in their full selves to work, bring in their passions, do their best for you, unlock opportunities, identify potential threats that might be coming your way. This is ultimately what you need to do to attract and retain the best people and to, I think, really succeed and thrive in the future.
Tanya: Absolutely, no, I love the idea of intentionally designing an experience for people to come and work in. It’s brilliant. In terms of creating and sustaining a company culture that really attracts and empowers people, how do you do that? Forget the theory. What have you seen people actually do that really works, or what have you seen people do that really doesn’t work?
Jacob Morgan: There are a lot of different aspects of this because there are some organizations who do well in some of these aspects and not so well in others. I can give you just a few examples of companies that I like. When it comes to physical space as an example, I love what Airbnb does because Airbnb brings the values of their organization to life. They have conference rooms and spaces that are actually designed like Airbnb listings so that you can actually feel like you belong anywhere, which is part of their mission, their values. They actually let a lot of their employees design their workspaces, and they treat their physical space like something that they test and experiment.
They’re constantly tinkering and seeing what spaces work? What spaces don’t work? What makes employees productive and efficient? They do a very good job of bringing those values to life, giving employees that flexibility as far as where they want to work, leveraging multiple workspace options. I think they do a good job. I’m trying to remember when I visited their offices. It was probably a few years ago now. I don’t know if anything has changed since then, but from what I recall, they were doing quite well.
Looking at the culture piece, organizations like a Cisco, or Facebook, or a Google do tremendous work just in terms of the investment they make in diversity and inclusion programs, in their leadership development and training programs, their ability to coach and mentor others. I think they do a phenomenal job there. They do unconscious bias training. They really make employees feel like they belong, and they create these diverse teams, and they let employees feel valued. Everybody has a voice there, so I think they do tremendous work there.
A lot of these companies also do a good job with technology. Accenture is a good example that comes to mind. PwC comes to mind where they really use technologies that emulate the experiences that you would want to have in your personal life. PwC, for example, has an app called Digital Fitness that helps employees get more tech savvy. It’s an app that you download. It looks like just any consumer grade app that you might find, and it gives you access to articles and talks and podcasts so that employees at the company can learn about these different technologies that are out there. It doesn’t feel like a corporate learning management system. It feels like some modern tech startup that just launched an app.
These are some of the examples that pop into mind. Adobe I think does a good job across the board at all three of these environments, and in the book, I think I have a couple pages devoted to what they’re doing for all of these things. There are a lot of wonderful organizations out there that I think are really starting to make progress. In fact, in 2020, the top talent identified by LinkedIn is employee experience, so when I wrote the book, I think it was still very much early. The book is actually selling better now than when it did two, three years ago. It just goes to show that I think it’s still – or it was early. Now I think it’s becoming much more mainstream and people are talking about it and really make change happen, so I’m excited.
Tanya: In terms of culture, do you know much about Bridgewater & Associates?
Jacob Morgan: A little bit.
Tanya: What are your thoughts on having raw transparency, everybody rating each other, having a score associated to whether or not you did good in meetings, and that brutal feedback? How do you think that contributes to culture?
Jacob Morgan: That is what works for them. I don’t think that that would work for a lot of people. That’s the thing. It doesn’t need to work for a lot of people as long as it works for you. When employees interview there, they know what they’re getting into, and so if you’re not comfortable with that, then simply don’t apply there. Don’t work there. Don’t do that sort of stuff. At the same time, if I were running a company, I wouldn’t look at what Bridgewater does and say, oh, we should do that because they’re doing it.
Every company culture I think is a little bit different. They all have practices that are unique to them, and I know that Ray Dalio is a big believer of radical transparency. Like you said, everybody sees everything. Not everybody’s going to be comfortable with that. It works for them, which is great. Do I think everybody should be doing it (absolutely not)?
Tanya: Yeah, so one size definitely does not fit all.
Jacob Morgan: No.
Tanya: A takeaway.
Jacob Morgan: Yeah, absolutely not. I mean, like I said, you have to do what works for you.
Tanya: What feels right, yeah. Each company has a personality in a way.
Jacob Morgan: Yeah, I think I also read something like 30% of the new hires there leave within 18 months of working at the company.
Tanya: Yeah, the turn is unbelievably high.
Jacob Morgan: Yeah. It’s like is that good? Is that bad? His turnover is higher than most organization out there, so maybe that’s not the greatest thing. I think he also had, if you talked behind an employee’s back for three times, then you get fired. If they think it works for them, that’s great, but as we can see with the turnover, maybe it’s not the best. It’s a little bit of a Big Brother. Maybe a little bit of a creepy vibe going on there. Like I said, if it works for the employees there and they like it, more power to them, but I don’t think other people should just blatantly be copying that.
Tanya: Right, and is there anything that you think is important that we should talk about that we haven’t?
Jacob Morgan: Oh, my goodness, anything important to talk about that we haven’t. I think a lot of what we talked about has to start with the leaders inside of organizations. I think it’s really, really crucial. Whether you are someone who wants to be a leader, a new potential leader, or somebody who has been a leader for many, many years, it’s important to understand and embrace the fact that the world is changing. Leadership is changing. Our businesses are going to change, and therefore, as leaders, you are going to have to change as well. Don’t assume that what worked in the past is necessarily going to work in the future, and invest in yourself. Nobody is going to look out for you but you. If you keep investing in yourself and learning and growing, then I think you will do fine in whatever the future brings.
Tanya: I’m just bringing this up because it recently came up with one of our clients is this idea that sometimes you might not be in a position to lead, in other words, be appointed or have the authority to lead, but you need to lead. One of that is, for example, leading your boss. Sometimes bosses actually need leading, and that’s very powerful too. People don’t necessarily think of that. What’s your stance on that?
Jacob Morgan: Oh, absolutely, I mean, I have somebody I work with who does this to me all the time. I shared this story a couple weeks ago with somebody. One of the ways that she leads me – she’s somebody who helps me with a lot of content and research, stuff around writing, and what happened was a little while ago I was giving her a bunch of projects and things to do. It was clearly overwhelming, and in most cases, somebody will just say, yeah, it’s too much work. I can’t do it. Then you get tension. Then you’re like what do you mean you can’t do it? I’m telling you to do it. You got to do it. It just causes this tension between employees at the company.
What she started to do is she would respond to me and say, okay, you gave me all these different things. How do you want me to prioritize this? What would you like me to work on first? What was doing was she was leading me to understand that, (A), this was a lot of work, and (B), not all the things I was giving her are the same priority. It forced me to figure out what is top priority and what isn’t? That’s at least how somebody who’s done that to me on my team. I think that it’s – there are, of course, ways that you should be able to lead your leaders because sometimes they can be a little stupid. Sometimes they can be a little oblivious, right? I mean, I was a little stupid.
It’s very easy to just assign things and say, okay, here are 40 things I need you to do without actually sitting down and thinking through how much work is this? What should be done first and why? Leaders can make mistakes all the time. I think if you work for leader or if you are a leader, you should encourage employees to challenge you, to question you, to ask you things, and if you work for a leader, I think you can do these things in a non-confrontational way. Don’t just say no, or I can’t, or anything like that. Try to come up with solutions, and I think that’s probably the best way that you can lead your leader.
Tanya: That’s brilliant. First of all, you sound like a joy to work with, and she’s for sure a keeper.
Jacob Morgan: Yes, she is. I hope I’m a joy to work with. I don’t know. Hopefully, everybody says that about me.
Tanya: You know what? Just the fact that you are able to really admit when you’re being a little stupid and when you need to be led, that’s very powerful.
Jacob Morgan: Oh, yeah, I’ve been stupid plenty of times.
Tanya: Haven’t we all? Okay, so how do we get – how do people get a copy of The Future Leader?
Jacob Morgan: There are actually a few resources that are available depending on what people are interested in. Just the book itself, you can go to getfutureleaderbook.com. It’s super easy to go there, but there are some cool resources that we also created for the book. You can also take an assessment if you want to see how well you’re practicing these skills and mindsets, and to do that, you can go to futureleadersurvey.com. The other cool resource that I created was I asked all these CEOs what is your top leadership hack? This was stuff that unfortunately I wasn’t able to fit in the book, but I decided to put together a series of 31 videos where each video shares a leadership hack from one of the CEOs that I interviewed, my favorite 31. If you want those leadership hacks, you can go to leadershipreset.com, and you’ll be able to grab all those videos there too.
Tanya: Amazing! Jacob Morgan, thank you so much for being on the Unmessable podcast today. Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge, and congratulations on The Future Leader. I mean, it’s a really, really well done, thought out, insightful book.
Jacob Morgan: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you very much for having me, and I appreciate the kind words.
Tanya: Unmessable is recorded in the heart of New York City, and a special thanks to all the team involved in producing the show. Visit tanyaprive.com/unmessable to find a transcript of this episode, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.