Imagine finding yourself working in the sponsorship arena because it’s the way to get a visa and stay in England. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jackie Fast. Fortunately, she happens to have been very good at that kind of work. Within a few years, Fast’s ability to put brands together as co-sponsors for a variety of brands meant she was spending time, for instance, doing work for Richard Branson on an island he owns in the Caribbean! Not bad work if you can get it. From the vantage point of her highly successful, entrepreneurial career, what strikes Ms. Fast is how fast the world is changing. Few if any older executives will manage the transition, she believes, to a world where the internet has democratized big business and where Millennials and Gen Z-ers favor a values-based approach that puts enjoyable and meaningful work front and center.
Jackie Fast is the founder of the venture capital firm Sandbox Studios, which invests in celebrity-owned brands and has worked with The Rolling Stones, Red Bull, Zoom, Formula One, Virgin, Allianz and Universal Music among others.
Greater social inclusivity can, at times, seem to take forever. It wasn’t until 1967, for instance, that bans on interracial marriages were finally declared unconstitutional in America. How appalling that such a hallmark of diversity would have taken so long. And yet a decade earlier, a mere 4% of surveyed Americans were in support of interracial marriages, a number that today stands at 87% approval. Clearly, progress has been made in a country whose citizens are often multiracial as well as in interracial marriages and relationships. How can the momentum for accepting people as they are be sustained in these divisive times? Soo Bong Peer’s suggestions are of both a personal and systemic nature, ranging from practicing greater empathy to having leaders dialogue more often with employees distinctly different in backgrounds, experiences and perspectives from themselves. One specific idea Peer suggests is that rather than lecture-style, lunch-n-learn sessions at company headquarters, why not try for Friday “movie lunches” instead! She cites as inspiration long-time movie critic Roger Ebert and his remark that “movies are like a machine that generates empathy.” If seeing is believing, then getting executives, managers and employees at large to see on screen lives lived in circumstances far different from their own might help enable a warmer, more inclusive spirit in corporate America.
Soo Bong Peer is a strategy consultant and executive coach for Fortune 500 companies. The daughter of a prominent South Korean general and ambassador to Mexico, she has lived in multiple countries, including the U.S. for the past 50 years.
Since the 1990s, the fade rate or inability of companies to stay ahead of their closest rivals, has gone from sustaining a lead, on average for 10 years, to now a single year. So focusing on innovation alone won’t suffice. A company that will survive and thrive must re-imagine every aspect of the its culture and operations in order to succeed. That re-imagining requires an open mind and an inquisitive spirit, not averse to surprises but instead, willing to embrace them. Who better than these two authors to take on that task? Martin Reeves is in his own words a “failed” musician and biologist turned businessperson, and Jack Fuller is versed in philosophical theology. Together, they are a perfect team for exploring how organizations can even change their very “souls”.
Martin Reeves is a Senior Partner and Managing Director at BCG, i.e., the Boston Consulting Group. He’s also the Chairman of the BCG Henderson Institute, BCG’s internal think tank. Jack Fuller is a former special project manager at the BCG Henderson Institute, and the founder of Casati Health, a company that re-imagines mental and physical health. He’s a Rhodes Scholar with a background that combines neuroscience and philosophical theology.
Why is it that so often companies work at cross-purposes? For example, companies recognize the need to be innovative. Change outside of HQ is everywhere. Over the next 10 years, it’s estimated that around 50% of the companies currently on the Fortune 500 will be replaced. And yet . . . they have mostly, barely added any female executives or executives of color despite the #MeToo Movement and Black Lives Matter protests.
Or here’s another example that inspired my latest book. American public companies report about $50 billion in annual restructuring charges. And yet . . . they never seem to get around to removing from their ranks the bullies who are estimated to comprise over 25% of the managers on staff. What’s the point of focusing on company culture and organizational change if you’re going to let internal bullies go unscathed?
So to do my small part in favor of reform, I’ve crowd-sourced the following:
Here’s the vaccine for office politics. Laugh. Smirk. Cry me a river. The one thing you won’t regret in life is buying yourself a copy of this book. While Blah, Blah, Blah: A Snarky Guide to Office Lingo may not save your career, it will help to save your sanity. Whatever you do on the job, remember: laughter is the key.
The correct answer is C, as it comes the closest to the actual percentage of Americans reporting that they feel lonely: 47%. In other words, nearly one of every two Americans feel psychologically if not physically isolated, too. At work, job insecurity and working-from-home (WFH) can be contributors. When I mentioned to HR consultant Caroline Stokes in a previous interview the estimate is that 25% of all bosses qualify as bullies, Stokes thought that percentage was too low. Add to that mix difficult bosses, then a worker’s day can seem even longer. When loneliness induces sadness (which it typically does), a sense of helplessness and hopelessness can settle in, depriving a person of the energy to get things done and also interact with others. A good manager might intervene to correct that vicious cycle, but not a bully boss. If you’re in an office setting, your desk may be near other colleagues but do you feel connected to them? My favorite statistic of late is that there are only 18 inches separating the head and the heart, but, oh-what-a-distance that can prove to be!
Eileen McDargh is the CEO (Chief Energy Officer) at the Resiliency Group. In 2019, Global Gurus International ranked her first among the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals. She’s also been elected into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, placing her among the top 3% of speakers in America.
The second point ensures the meeting has a primary purpose, with two or three desired outcomes.
Is that enough? Probably not suggests Ann Latham in her new book The Power of Clarity. After all, outcomes that come from meetings often amount to nothing more than “let’s study this further” or “so-and-so will circle back with some ideas for next time.” Instead, Latham argues in favor of a firmer standard: what is tangibly different as a result of discussing the issue during the meeting? Only then will real progress happen.
Ann Latham has consulted for major global companies like Boeing and Medtronic, as well as Public Television, and she’s the author of two other books: The Clarity Papers and Uncommon Meetings. She’s been interviewed by The New York times, Bloomberg Business Week, and Forbes, where she’s also an expert blogger.
The correct answer is four percent. So, in corporate America, while women constitute about 30% of the personnel in management, African-American women are only one eighth of that 30% total. Or to put it another way: in a more fair world, since black women collectively form 7.4% of the U.S. population, that four percent should be twice as large. You might ask “What are the percentages for other women of color?” The answer is 4.3% for Latinas, and 2.5% for Asian women. No wonder my eloquent guests on this episode refer to the situation women are facing as—not a glass wall—but a concrete wall! Remember Ronald Reagan telling the Soviets to “tear down that wall”? Just like the Berlin Wall, this issue is a matter of justice and liberty, too. To rectify the situation, more compelling steps must be undertaken than mere lectures about the need for greater diversity. For instance, Ella Bell Smith mentions that at Dartmouth’s Tuck School where she teaches, they’re about to take executive groups on an immersive experiential journey: visiting the anti-lynching museum in Alabama. Of all the interviews I’ve taped, this is one of my favorites.
Ella Bell Smith is a professor of business administration at the Tuck School of Business. She’s also the founder and president of ASCENT: Leading Multicultural Women to the Top. Stella M. Nkomo is a professor in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Pretoria. She was the founding president of the Africa Academy of Management.
The correct answer is Economic, twice over. Not only does it provide half of all the top-10 trends or “undercurrents” in Jonathan Brill’s seminal book Rogue Waves, those economic trends also garner the most prominence by laying down the changing landscape (or “seascape”) that companies must navigate to protect and enrich their futures. What goes first? Changing demographics: the cost and availability of a company’s most precious resources: its personnel and its customers. Aging populations, a skilled labor shortage, and accelerating urbanization are the key emerging patterns in that case. Other trends that belong in the Economic category consist of the data economy, automation, the rise of Asia, and cheap money. The technological category encompasses the closing innovation window, and what Brill calls “remixing and convergence” (new combinations of existing technologies). Finally, the Social category addresses digital trust and new social contracts. This week’s new episode dips into several of these top-10 factors; to get to them all, buy Brill’s book!
Jonathan Brill is the former Global Futurist and Research Director for HP, a board member and advisor to the Chairman at Frost & Sullivan, and the Futurist-in-Residence at Territory Studio. Companies he’s consulted for over the years have generated over $27 billion from new revenue sources.
There is NO correct answer to this week’s quiz, which poses one of the 401 philosophical questions explored in David Birch’s book, Pandora’s Box. While many, even most, of my recent blogs have focused on business, this week’s podcast and blog has to do with pondering the meaning of life as opposed to how to make a meaningful living. How you might answer the quiz will reveal the value system that underlies your life and gives it purpose and direction. Are there other versions of this quiz? Yes, one would be: what do you most want: wealth, fame, power or love? Another comes from Catholicism: of the seven deadly sins, which do you believe is the worst: wrath, sloth, gluttony, avarice, lust, envy or pride? When I had the opportunity to ask that last question of former U.S. presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy years ago, the former professor was quick to answer: “Envy. In politics, sloth is a virtue.” By that he meant, the laws and policies that get rushed into action are often, in hindsight, those that prove to be the most regrettable. An answer to live by.
Released today: episode #66 of my podcast series “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight,” featuring David Birch discussing Pandora’s Box: 401 Philosophical Questions to Help You Lose Your Mind (with Answers) and Fred Matser discussing his book, Beyond Us: A Humanitarian’s Perspective on Our Values, Beliefs and Way of Life. Click on https://newbooksnetwork.com/category/special-series/dan-hills-eq-spotlight to get to the new episode.
David Birch teaches philosophy and religious studies at Highgate School in London. Fred Matser is the founder and chairman of the Fred Foundation and a leading Dutch humanitarian.