The statistics are, frankly, exasperating. Gender equality remains a mirage. For instance, the proportion of female CEOs at major companies in America struggles to break 10%. On Fortune 500 boards, only about 20% of the seats are held by women. The problems with achieving gender fairness go on and on. Fortunately, my guest Colleen Ammerman covers solid ways of addressing the injustices still present. Those steps include not tolerating bad behavior from “rainmakers”—even to the point of disallowing severance pay or other benefits if that person gets terminated due to sexual misconduct. Declining invitations to events that don’t prioritize gender diversity among its speakers is another avenue of applying pressure for change. For anybody who wants to witness both structural and cultural changes within companies, this episode is well worth a listen.
Almost all of the new jobs created in America come from small businesses. As Pamela Slim reports, the precise number may be as high as 99%. And those same small businesses also provide over 50% of the nation’s GDP. So why not focus more on these often-unheralded engines of growth? Slim honors small businesses with an expansive focus that includes Native American, Black, Latinx, Asian, disabled, and LGBTQ entrepreneurs. How can these businesses best find their respective niches, then expand them? Who’s their ideal customer? What kind of community partners can best further their mission and goals? Those and other vital topics are raised in this practical-minded episode.
Pamela Slim is an author, community builder, business coach, and former director of Training and Development at Barclays Global Investors. Among her accomplishments is partnering with author Susan Cain to build and launch The Quiet Revolution. Among her books is Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur.
The New York Times columnist David Brooks once joked that, ultimately, the “revolution” promised us by the Baby Boomers amounted to nothing much more than the founding of Whole Foods. What will Millennials bring us? Already it seems that the answer is employees and consumer-citizens for whom the values they want to live by and be known for on social media will be paramount. Why is that the case? As Nathalie Nahai argues, a primary reason is the looming environmental disaster of climate change. The stakes are high, and the result is that nothing can be taken for granted. With trust being the emotion of business, today’s agile, atomized and antagonized workforce wants some measure of justice: for women, for people of color, and in general for everyone who wants to rally around the mantra of “profit with purpose” rather than “profits ahead of people.” From topics ranging from cancel-culture to woke-washing, this is a very timely episode.
From Thom Hartmann’s perspective, the battle over whether America should provide universal healthcare has been warped first by racism, then by greed. From the 1880’s to the 1980’s the idea of universal American healthcare was often opposed because it would aid African-Americans, too. Then from the Reagan Revolution to today, greed explains the delay in adopting universal healthcare because the current system favors industry insiders. Meanwhile, the average American pays more for less than is true elsewhere in the so-called Developed World. Get ready for plenty of surprises in this episode, like how the debate about healthcare got launched by three Germans: Karl Marx, Otto von Bismarck, and a person named Frederick Ludwig Hoffman. Never heard of the third guy? Well, at a time when Prudential was the biggest insurer in America, Hoffman became the company’s leading advocate for denying healthcare on racist grounds, thereby blunting the momentum to adopt universal healthcare that the German leader Bismarck had decided was a way to counter the appeal of Marxism.
Ever feel like you’re “screaming” to be heard in today’s social-media saturated world, only to have your “messages” fall on deaf ears? If so, Jamie Mustard has a solution to offer: you need to follow the Primal Laws of Attention. What are those Laws? Go BIG, BRIGHT and BOLD if you’ve got any chance to break through the clutter. Also you need to leverage repetition, deliver an emotional jolt by addressing your audience’s primary emotional concern, and practice transparency to establish your authenticity. Most of all, engage in radical simplicity. If what you are saying can’t be readily, almost immediately understood, forget it. Start over. Then to back up radical simplicity, the “shaft” behind that arrowhead of simplicity is just enough salient details to make the messaging worthwhile. Now. Just. Do. It.
What do customers most want nowadays? According to David Avrin, the three-part answer consists of immediacy (instant gratification), individuality (flexible, customized assistance) and humanity (concern trumps indifference). Of them, while immediacy should in theory be the easiest to enact, ironically enough automation is making that goal more elusive. What else is of interest from Avrin’s version of ranting about the ills of customer service? For one thing, the desperate measures companies take to ward off negative reviews appearing on-line. For another, Avrin’s favorite exercise to help his clients improve their operations: have front-line employees imagine that they are creating a rival company, which benefits from knowledge about what customers really want most but aren’t getting right now. There’s nothing like the risk of losing existing customers, after all, to grab management’s attention!
David Avrin is a highly popular speaker and consultant on the topics of the customer experience as well as on marketing. He’s a former CEO group leader and speaker for Vistage International. This is his third book, following It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You and Visibility Marketing.
Sick of the frequent images of entrepreneurs as machismo, take-no-prisoner, Rambo-like action figures? Look no farther than this episode, in which Christine Kane admits that conquering bulimia was the test that gave her the fortitude to first enter the music industry on her own terms, and then help thousands of (often female) fans become entrepreneurs themselves. The key to Kane’s approach is acknowledging that the soul part of business is ultimately more important than focusing on strategy because, as an entrepreneur, your values inform your value proposition and how it gets enacted.
Maybe it’s because Kane has been a musician herself that I find her story connecting to a part of how I spent my Thanksgiving weekend: watching the Beatles’ documentary Get Back. In it the “quiet” Beatle, George Harrison, has a hard time getting Paul McCartney to show him respect. Two suggestions to add his song “All Things Must Pass” to the repertoire draw no acknowledgment, let alone endorsement from McCartney—even though that song and “Let It Be” are thematically of a piece. Even worse from Harrison’s perspective, McCartney all but dismisses the Harrison-inspired visit the band made to India, causing Harrison to visibly wince. How fitting that at the end of Part 1 of the 3-part series, Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity” (how we cause each other pain) plays as the credits roll.
Christine Kane is the founder of Uplevel You, a multimillion-dollar business coaching company, which evolved from her 15-year career as a touring singer-songwriter with her own record label. Both businesses were built without any investors.
The joke is that the only person in the world who normally welcomes change is a baby with a dirty diaper. Indeed, a change in the status quo means we have to exert energy to deal with that change and people are generally loath to expend more energy than necessary. Scientists call this phenomenon trying to avoid the “metabolic cost” of expending mental and physical energy. You and I call it preferring to live life like a house cat, if we only could! In this episode, April Rinne offers advice based on her eight rules for navigating change more adroitly. Part of her advice has to do with slowing down, setting a sustainable pace to avoid burnout in ever more demanding careers. But there’s more. How may higher education change, including MBA programs, in a world where more and more of us will be part of the Gig Economy? Listen in for Rinne’s unique perspective.
April Rinne is one of the 50 leading female futurists in the world, a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and a Fulbright Scholar. She’s also traveled to over 100 countries as part of having a front-row seat to a world in flux.
What goes around, comes around—and that is especially true when it comes to behavioral economics. Who was quick to recognize that emotions drive people’s financial decisions and behavior? The answer is Adam Smith, who was both instrumental in creating the field of economics and a moral philosopher to boot. In that same vein is my guest this week, Nika Kabiri, who knows the Confirmation Bias is among the most important factors to navigate in helping her clients make their investment choices. Along the way, this conversation takes in the movie The Big Short, Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell, and what may lay ahead for an economy trying to emerge from the ravages of Covid-19. Five types of investors are likewise discussed in this episode, from the more-is-better investor to the what-has-always-worked investor. Figure out which type of investor you are, and how you can become more confident about your investment strategy.
You’re helping South Africa make the transition from apartheid to democracy under Nelson Mandela. You’re helping end a half-century long civil war in Columbia. You’re working with the First Nations in Canada to secure more respect for their heritage and traditions. That’s a sampling of the work Adam Kahane has been involved in during his career, basically reconciling parties often barely on speaking terms before Kahane intervenes to bring them together. Kahane’s approach draws inspiration from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the German existential theologian Paul Tillich. What does that approach involve? Why should you care to listen to this episode? The answer to both questions is that love offers unity, power, and the opportunity for self-realization, while justice looks to ensure that power gets employed to bring equity for all parties involved. If you’ve ever sought to resolve a conflict, this episode is for you.