Redefining the Workforce: When Robots Pay Union Dues and Learn Too

This is a guest blog by Susan Harper as a companion to the Voice America interview with Dale Meyerrose, PhD, Redefining the Workforce: When Robots Pay Union Dues and Learn Too


What are the current statistics of our work force? As leaders, it is important to be aware of trends within the work force.  In January of 2019, the US economy had 7.6 million unfilled jobs and not enough applicants to fill them.  It is a trend that has been increasing 5-8% for the last two years.  It is predicted by Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, that these numbers will get worse before they will get better.  Korn Ferry has also predicted the US will lose $435 billion dollars in lost productivity due to the lack of available talent.  This is not just a US problem as every industrialized economy will experience this lack of work force but most likely on a smaller scale.  This labor force shortage is a real concern for leaders as the potential to leave revenue unrealized due to the inability to have a work force to complete the work.

How do leaders find a solution for this work force shortage? In our current culture, not only is the work force changing rapidly, but also the nature of work is being changed by technology.   Recent statistics suggest that half of all the current work force will be affected by automated work force in the next four year.  The digital worker, an RPA (Robotic Process Automation) will automate the repetitive elements of the job and leave the highly valued, cognitive functions for the human work force.  Leaders need to be looking for ways to train their work force to be prepared to step into the highly valued, cognitive functions and leave those repetitive tasks to the automated work force in order to effectively use their work force rather than be in a work force shortage.

What are some of the tasks RPAs (Robotic Process Automation) can accomplish? RPAs can simulate human work activities such as sending emails, logging into applications, entering data, auditing activity, searching through data and compiling search results.  Identifying these tasks in each job would allow modern jobs to become more flexible and keeps the work force from being bogged down by repetitive, mundane tasks.

What does it look like to employ RPAs? A digital work force can be employed by any size of business.  It is best to employ these RPAs integrated with your human work force.  These RPAs would be credentialed to do specific tasks and then educate and train the RPAs just as you would do with a human work force.  Also, there is a point where the RPA may need to be “retired”, while this doesn’t mean a pension it does mean planning to replace outdated technology.

What view should we take of best practices of employing the digital work force? Rather than focusing on individual tasks and solutions, leaders need to focus on the enterprise-wide solutions to make the biggest impact.  Consider what your enterprise most often does and how to automate that.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Career Pivots are Driven by Values

Values drive the pivotThis blog is an excerpt from the International Award winning book,  Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers. The post is a companion to the Voice America show that aired on April 2, 2019 Making the Pivot, Leveraging Opportunities talking with two very successful leader,Greg Moran and Nicholas Papanicolaou, about the evolution of their careers.

First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. Values are deeply held views of what we find worthwhile. They come from many sources:  parents, religion, schools, peers, people we admire, and culture. Many go back to childhood; others are taken on as adults. Values help us define how we live our lives and accomplish our purpose.

  • Step 1: Define what you value most: From the list of values (both work and personal), select the ten that are most important to you—as guides for how to behave, or as components of a valued way of life. Feel free to add any values of your own to this list.

Innovative Leadership Personal Values Checklist


Step 2: Elimination: Now that you have identified ten values, imagine that you are only permitted to have five. Which five would you give up? Cross them off. Now cross off another two to bring your list down to three.

Step 3: Integration:Take a look at the top three values on your list.

      • How would your life be different if those values were prominent and practiced?
      • What does each value mean, exactly? What do you expect from yourself, even in difficult times?
      • Does the personal vision you’ve outlined reflect those values? If not, should your personal vision be expanded? Again, if not, are you prepared and willing to reconsider those values?
      • Are you willing to create a life in which these values are paramount, and help an organization put those values into action?

Which one item on the list do you care most about?

In our recent post, Demetrius told us his vision, now he indicates his values.

Top three values in rank order:

  1. Family
  2. Integrity
  3. Humility

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Leadership Lessons from Star Wars

You don’t need to be a Star Wars devotee to recognize the franchise’s most iconic characters and moments. They’re so well-known that they became memes long before the internet was a thing. Talk about staying power!

While intergalactic adventures might not be for everyone, the themes and messages that creator and director George Lucas instilled in every leap to hyperdrive are. They’re particularly important for leaders of all stripes to take to heart, even if they’re more Team Trekkie than gaga over one Leia Organa.

Ready to soak up some knowledge straight from the stars? Read on for our favorite leadership lessons from Star Wars.

Know When to Ask for Help

One of the hallmarks of a great leader isn’t that they have all the answers; it’s that they know what they don’t know and they’re not afraid to ask for help. Case in point: Leia, princess of Alderaan and general in the Resistance.

Our introduction to Leia as a character is through her holographic SOS call to Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. While she seems like a damsel in distress, that illusion is quickly destroyed. Instead, Leia is revealed to be a fierce leader who can and does join the fight. Still, she knows she won’t win without assistance—and neither will you. Go ahead, raise your hand and make the ask, already!

Put Your Plans into Action – Remember, Real Leadership is More Experimentation than Certainty

The most effective Leaders know that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Sound familiar? It’s Murphy’s Law, and 99 percent of the time, it’s right on the money. Just because you’re worried about your next great idea taking a nosedive, though, it doesn’t mean you should stay in perpetual planning mode. At some point, you need to leap. You need to do.

When leaders take the on the “mindset of a scientist” they don’t expect to be right. They will be directionally correct and take action that is scaled appropriately for an experiment or proof of concept before they take big action that could increase the organizational risk profile.

Leadership is about the right balance between thinking, preparing and. This iconic Yoda moment says it all: Do or do not. There is no try.

A leader doesn’t pussyfoot around an issue. Leaders minimize risk—that’s where the preparation comes in. When they’re reasonably sure they have a handle on a situation (good at developing experiments), they go for it, knowing that the results won’t be perfect. There will be course corrections. There will be mistakes. There will be starts and stops and learning along the way. But if you don’t start—if you don’t push that big red button—you’re never going to move forward. And, as a leader, that’s your job.

Trust Your Instincts and Verify

Our instincts have evolved over 200,000 years to become highly accurate sensors for risky situations. That gut instinct we talk about is valuable because it tells you instantly when something is a no-go and when you should proceed with caution. Whether you live in the Star Wars universe or your feet are firmly planted on planet Earth, this sort of heads-up system is essential to making good choices for the future.

Of the original trio of Star Wars characters, Luke is the most emotional. He’s the most in touch with his feelings and his instincts, which makes sense, given his natural talent for channeling the Force. And, goodness knows, he needs it! From the moment Luke Skywalker encounters R2D2 and C3PO, his life is a wild ride packed with death traps, rescue missions, and daredevil stunts. He relies on his instincts the way any leader or future leader should: to let him know when he should proceed and to decide if he needs more preparation. The best leaders balance the ability to trust their instincts with a highly developed ability to analyze situations and get input from others. Luke looked to Yoda and others as he honed this ability. By balancing inner wisdom (the force) with strong reliance on data and trusted others who will see your blind spots, you will be well prepared to act and learn.

Give Prompt Feedback

Saving up all your dos and don’ts for an end-of-year review isn’t an effective management strategy. To get the most out of your team, you should offer in-the-moment feedback when it’s most useful—and when they can apply your corrections and make changes on the fly. Sitting on your complaints and stewing over pet peeves isn’t good for anyone, and it won’t result in a top-notch project.

Feedback can and should take the form of learning from your action/experiments in the form of “after action analysis” for the team and project. It should also include personal learning – what was each individual’s role in the success and contribution to the short falls? Having the courage as a leader and as a participant to build on strengths and correct mistakes and short falls is necessary. This also assumes you as the leader have created a culture where mistakes are the fuel of learning not torture. Think of the many hours Jedi’s trained with Yoda. With each success and each failure, they took the feedback as an opportunity to build skills. If Yoda was not brutally honest, the Jedi would die in battle. Withholding honest feedback reflects weakness in the leader. Yes, it is hard and required to create a world class organization.

To be clear: Do not Force-choke or otherwise torture, assault, or threaten your employees. Whether you have thousands of followers awaiting your command or not, it’s better to lead by respect rather than fear like Darth Vader. Still, we appreciate that he … ahem … nips problems in the bud instead of lets them fester.

Always Look for Silver Linings – Positivity is Contagious

Cynicism and snark might be popular, but they won’t do you any good when you’re leading a group of people. Hope inspires. Optimism motivates. Purpose inspires. Results inspire. Opportunities for growth inspire.

You don’t have to go around like a modern-day Pollyanna but do try to keep one eye on the good in every situation, even while you take stock of the bad. As we build a culture of action and experimentation, each action will have successes and failures. It is the leader and the organization that can honestly learn and grow that will win. This is only possible by finding the success along with the course correction. Everyone’s favorite bad boy does it, so can you!

It always seems a little incongruous that someone so rough-around-the-edges and practical as Han is also so positive when the Rebels, and, later, the Resistance, are fighting a seemingly unwinnable war against the Dark Side. The hope he has is what keeps him pushing forward, and that’s something we could all do with a little more of.

At the end of every Star Wars movie, the prevailing lesson is that a win doesn’t come straight from the top. While leadership is essential, it’s a team exercise—and that’s a lesson George Lucas and his cast of characters never let us forget.

As you apply these Star Wars leadership lessons to real-world situations, we have one more tidbit to share: May the Force be with you.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

The Position Success Indicator (PSI): Your Job Fit Solution for the Future of Work

This blog is a guest post by Mark Palmer as a companion to the November, 13 Voice America show interview with Mr. Palmer, Managing Partner, Hire-Directions and Principal, Innovative Leadership Institute. The interview focuses on the Position Success Indicator assessment to help hone find where they fit professionally. 


The future of work is already here: the gig economy, automation, and artificial intelligence. These trends are part of a growing narrative that suggest an increasingly complex and unpredictable workforce.

Studies indicate that by 2025, the global population will reach nearly 10 billion people, with only 15% of that population living and working in high-income economies. In fact, according to a recent Oxford Study, it’s predicted that 47% of jobs will disappear in the next 25 years.


Workforce disruptions already force you to make employment decisions faster, smarter, and more often than any previous generation of professionals. Consequently, the coming era of work will produce thrivers, strivers, and survivors.

To thrive in this future workforce—and to navigate new realities while staying authentic to your dreams and interests—you will need a better way to prepare, respond, and adapt to a constant stream of occupational change.


Two-thirds of your adult waking life will be spent creating and maintaining a livelihood. Your ability to make quality professional decisions, quickly and consistently, is more critical than ever.

This ability to adapt and intelligently respond to new professional situations will require occupational fitness: the capacity to quickly identify the right opportunities, communicate how you add value, and consistently choose ventures that align with your strengths and competencies.


“Quantified self”, or life-logging technology, has transformed the way we maximize physical fitness. If you’ve used an activity tracker or a DNA kit, you’re already familiar with how “quantified self” can be used to improve wellness goals.

Using a new breakthrough called “talent DNA” sequencing, this “quantified self” technology can now be applied to support professional wellness, too. It builds on current life-logging advancements to accelerate occupational fitness, and can be used to enhance job matching and career mapping.


Every person has a unique “talent DNA” code, or occupational talent signature made of [32] quantifiable performance markers. These markers correlate with specific job requirements used by organizations to build roles.

The Position Success Indicator (PSI) reveals key professional knowledge—based on your exclusive “talent DNA”—that can be used to match you to the right jobs, build resumes, setup interview strategies, uncover career advancement opportunities, and enhance your networking capability.

We encourage you to take the PSI assessment. You get free overview results and can purchase more detailed report. You can use the results of your report to take the actions recommended below and also use them when you listen to the interview with Mark.


PSI reveals how you ideally fit an organization’s goals, team projects, and job requirements. You get precise, custom language needed to communicate YOUR unique value in ways that will speak to executives, clients, and venture partners.

Once you take the free assessment, maximize your results—combined with the Professional and Interview Success Plans—in two (2) simple steps:


Use the plans to identify your operational strengths and fit with common organizational goals, projects, and job roles:

  1. Trace your universal job fit using the world’s only position requirements blueprint used to design ALL jobs (Professional Success Plan, Alignment Plan)
  2. Locate your operational impact points (Alignment Plan highlighted strengths)
  3. Identify your high level fit – best fit with organization needs (Professional Success Plan, Org Fit Map)
  4. Identify your detailed level fit – best fit with specific job functions (Professional Success Plan, Alignment Plan, Jobs Matrix, Requirements Insert)
  5. Pinpoint your “thrive zones” – fit with key performance objectives, where you will be most successful in jobs and career development (and understand where you WON’T)


Utilize the free results and plans to enhance your professional CV, resume, social media, and live interactions:

  • Use the Professional Summary (your free professional brand statement):
    • as an opening for professional social media, CV, and resume descriptions
    • to create a 30-second networking “pitch” (don’t just network, FIT-work!)
    • as a companion to your custom interviewing strategy (Interview Success Plan)
  • Use the Requirements Insert in the Professional Success Plan to summarize your value (your strengths converted to an organizational grade “job description”):
    • submit this insert with your resume, and stand out in interviews and job fairs
    • use with recruiters and hiring managers to assess fit for new jobs or performance reviews
    • use in cover letter style emails used in conjunction with job applications
    • get the right wording to communicate with executives or project stakeholders to articulate where you fit and add value


Our talent coding technology gives you the opportunity to personally make a difference in improving the future workforce by participating in a new kind of research—online, from anywhere.

By taking PSI, you are contributing your unique “talent DNA”, thereby helping to build the world’s first generation talent genome library.

This global “talent DNA” data repository will be used to enhance future workforce readiness, and to improve job design, job matching and recruiting. It will also optimize merit-based diversity, and protect workers everywhere from displacements caused by increasing job and market disruptions.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the

Mark Palmer is co-creator of the Position Success Indicator; The Job Fit Calculator; and LaborGenome™ Talent Mapping technology.

He is co-author of the Innovative Leader Fieldbook, and senior editor for the Innovative Leadership Guide to Transforming Organizations. Mark is also a consultant, and Principal and Advisor with the Innovative Leadership Institute., a management consulting firm offering progressive leadership development, team building and organizational effectiveness. He was also a TEDx OSU Speaker in 2012.

What Does the Future of Work Look Like?

This blog is a guest post by Anna Kucirkova as a companion to the October 30 Voice America show with K R Ravi, CEO and Co-founder of Metcalf – Innovative Leadership Institute India. The interview focuses on Enterprise-Wide Success As A Result of Talent Development and the ATD BEST Award

When this country began, our hunter-gatherer, farming ancestors worked to live. Not a single iota of energy was wasted in a day. Wasted time equaled starvation.

In this new century, our country is working from the fruits of the industrial revolution, the robotics revolution, and the technology revolution.

Just as our ancestors might have wondered what the future held in working, we are living their future and wondering about our own.

What exactly does the future of work look like?

The Fluctuating Current Work Environment

The worlds of industry, commerce, healthcare, education, and many others are fluctuating, which is causing considerable anxiety. Labor-market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment, stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households, and income inequality demonstrate that the job market is already trending toward the future.

Automation and artificial intelligence promise higher productivity, economic growth, increased efficiency, job safety, and convenience. But these technologies also have a broader impact on jobs, wages, skills, and the nature of work itself.

Lots of tasks that workers handle today could be automated. Simultaneously, job-searching sites like LinkedIn and Monster are altering and increasing the ways people look for work and how companies recruit talent. Freelance work has become very enticing with digital platforms like Uber, Upwork, and Etsy making working for yourself much easier.

Another newer trend, especially in tech companies, is remote and virtual employees. This not only allows things to get done around the clock, without commuting, but also provides companies with employees who have hard-to-find skill sets and is a way to accommodate employees who don’t want to move to work for the company.

These shifts in how jobs are done as well as how talent is recruited create both uncertainty and benefits. One of the biggest questions is what role automation will play.

Automation Is Coming

Through current technology, about half the tasks people are paid to do could hypothetically be automated. It is encouraging to note that less than 5 percent of all jobs consist of tasks that could be completely automated.

But, in about 60% of professions, at least a third of the tasks could be automated, which could lead to workplace transformations and redefinition of job duties for workers. Taking a look at current technology and estimating how quickly automation could replace human workers, only about 30% of hours worked globally could be automated in the next decade.

The impact of automation on employment depends greatly on occupation and job title. Automation jobs would most likely include physical ones in predictable surroundings, like making fast food or operating factory machinery. Data collection and data processing are two other jobs that have the potential to be done better and faster with machines. This particular AI innovation could displace hundreds of workers in mortgage origination, accounting, paralegal work, and back-office transaction processing.

There are, of course, jobs that absolutely require human labor forces, such as management, scientific research, and customer service. So, will the displaced workers have to change careers to keep a job?

What Job Sectors Will Sustain or Grow Their Numbers?

Displaced workers are easily identified, but new jobs that are created due to advancements in technology are less obvious and exist in different sectors and regions.

Experts estimate that, globally, 250 million to 280 million new jobs could be created due to rising incomes on consumer goods, with an additional 50 million to 85 million jobs created in health care and education spending.

In 2030, researchers estimate there will be at least 300 million more people aged 65 and older than in 2014. As people age, their spending on healthcare and other personal services increases, taking their consumer dollars out of retail and luxury purchases. This will increase new demand for doctors, nurses, and health technicians, as well as home-health aides, personal-care aides, and nursing assistants. There could be 50 million to 85 million new jobs in healthcare by 2030.

And let’s not forget the jobs created by the development and implementation of new technology. Spending on technology will double between 2015 and 2030. About half the spending would be on information-technology services. This could create 20 million to 50 million new jobs by 2030.

Even with substantial growth in technology and AI, there are still jobs that require human labor: architects, electricians, engineers, carpenters, and construction trades. The world is also increasing its interest in renewable energy, so there will be more jobs in renewable energy, like manufacturing, construction, and installation of new energy options.

So, it’s possible for a former auto factory worker from Detroit could be retrained quite efficiently in manufacturing for renewable energy. But, what would that training entail?

Job Training for the Future

To make sure the human labor force can accommodate newer jobs, people must be prepared to learn new skills. According to Pew, automation and AI are “taking a bite out of manufacturing; automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologists, insurance claims adjusters, lawyers, seismic testers in oil fields, sports journalists and financial reporters, crew members on guided-missile destroyers, hiring managers, psychological testers, retail salespeople, and border patrol agents.”

People will not just train for the jobs of the future, they will create them, and technology is ready and waiting. Pew Research conducted extensive polls to find out what the members of the current job market see for the future:

Theme 1: The training ecosystem will evolve, with a mix of innovation in all education formats

The next decade will bring a diversified world of education and training options where various entities design and deliver services to those who want to learn. They expect that some innovation will be aimed at emphasizing the development of human talents that machines cannot match and at helping humans partner with technology.

They say some parts of the ecosystem will concentrate on delivering real-time learning to workers, often in formats that are self-taught. Also, more learning systems will go online. Workers will be expected to learn continuously. Educators have always found new ways to train the next generation of students for jobs of the future.

Theme 2: Learners must cultivate 21stcentury skills, capabilities and attributes

Will training for skills most important in the jobs of the future work well in large-scale settings in upcoming years? Improvements in education are expected to continue. But, many of the most vital skills are not easy to teach, learn or evaluate in any educational setting.

Those skills, capabilities and attributes include emotional intelligence, curiosity, creativity, adaptability, resilience and critical thinking. The skills needed to succeed in the future are curiosity, creativity, taking initiative, multi-disciplinary thinking and empathy, skills that machines cannot yet demonstrate.

Theme 3: New credentialing systems will arise as self-directed learning expands

While the traditional college degree will still be a necessity in the near future, more employers may be willing to accept alternate credentialing systems because traditional college is becoming less popular. Online learning is the education of the future.

Employers will also begin to consider experience and skill sets over education. It is likely that employers will appreciate a college degree, as it does demonstrate a willingness to attain goals with determination and discipline. However, those characteristics can also be demonstrated in the workplace. Deeply detailed reference letters may begin to carry more weight than a college degree.

Theme 4: Training and learning systems will not meet 21stcentury needs by 2026

Jobs of the future may change too quickly to allow today’s workers to get up to speed in time to fill positions. Many workers are unable to take on or unwilling to make the self-directed sacrifices they must to fine-tune their skills.

This leads educators to emphasize STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in our public schools. Teachers and politicians are working to ensure the next generation is well-trained in technology in the hopes of staving off a job market starving for qualified candidates.

Theme 5: Technological forces will fundamentally change work and the economic landscape

There is a loud cry in the job marketplace that advances in technology will overtake the time it takes to train new people. Many see a society where AI programs and machines do most of the work.

There is no doubt there will be many millions more people and millions fewer jobs in the future. But, if industry does a good job increasing skills training, technology may not quite take over at the rate many see as inevitable.


Regardless of automation and AI, there will always be a need for a human labor force. While robots and smart computers can take over some menial tasks, as well as cognitive driven tasks, humans will be required to maintain and program our artificial workforce.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Anna Kucirkova works as a copywriter for over 4 years. She speaks 3 languages, loves traveling and has a passion for kids and writing. While she has been to many places in Europe and South East Asia, she still wants to explore the rest of the world.

The Difference Between Entitlement and Awareness

This post is written by guest Eric Termuende as a companion to his interview, Changing the Way We Think About Work on the Voice America Radio Show, “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations” on July 3, 2018.

We’ve all heard the stereotypes around the Millennial generation. They’re narcissistic, job-hop, aren’t loyal, and most of all, entitled. They think they deserve more than they work for, and have unrealistic expectations. Right? Isn’t that what we’re lead to believe when we talk about a generation that populates such a large portion of the workplace? It seems like it, but doesn’t necessarily have to.

The Millennial demographic, as big as it is, is brought up in a technological world that didn’t exist for the generation the preceded it. This generation has better access to internet, cell phones, social media, and information that simply wasn’t nearly as accessible as it was 15-20 years ago. Job postings aren’t posted on a cork board and the resumé is only a small portion of what educating a potential employer looks like.

This means that the expectations are bigger because this next generation knows what can, and is being done.

Let’s take fairly recent news that came out of Sweden, for example. In Sweden, there is talk about moving to a 6 hour work day. Now, as someone in Canada who may not like their job, there are two options. The first is to apply for a job in Sweden with the hopes that the application will be accepted and I can work only six hours a day. The second is that I could ask my employer or government why it is that Sweden is the only country that is doing this, and why we can’t look at a similar practice here in our hometown.

Another example would be around office aesthetics. One office may have a beautiful open concept style and another may be stuck in the ‘70’s with cubicles that limit communication and interaction between employees. Because of the hyper-connected world we live in, information about these great places to work is spreading faster than it ever has before. As a result, people are asking ‘why not me too?’.

No, things haven’t changed around what people need to do to progress another step in the organization, or to work in a more efficient manner by changing the structure and aesthetics of the office, but the way we talk about it might. People need to know that the grass will always be greener, the story is always bigger than the one that is being told, and that there are always exceptions. It is too easy for a story to be posted and go viral, only to be the flavor of the hour and forgotten about shortly after, while still having impact on the people in the office and what they are aware could be taking place.

The world of work is ever changing and the ways we work and the environments we work in are changing just as quickly. Telling stories of the newest office space are nice, but rarely do they paint a full picture of what the office culture is, or what it is like to work there. The next generation is right to ask about the opportunity to advance the workplace they are in, but shouldn’t have expectations to do so. There needs to be open communication within the office from the top-down and from the bottom-up to ensure that the environment created is one the provides the tools necessary and the environment that allows people to naturally do the best work they possible can. This awareness and hyper connectivity, paired with curiosity and desire to change, adapt, and grow, shouldn’t be confused with entitlement, which is a completely different topic.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the author

Eric Termuende is on a mission to change the way we talk about work and get fulfillment from it. A bestselling author, speaker, and entrepreneur, Eric is co-founder of NoW Innovations, and Lead Content Strategist for True Calling Canada., Eric has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Thrive Global, the Huffington Post and many others. In 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. Eric sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. He is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. Eric is currently signed by the National Speakers Bureau and travels the world talking about the future of work and multiple generations in the workplace. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work.’ Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world. His new book, Rethink Work is now available on Amazon.

Maximizing Team Interactions: Moving Beyond the Lowest Common Denominator’s Reign

Building Thriving TeamsThis blog is drawn from a paper published by Jim Ritchie-Dunham & Maureen Metcalf, Co-hosting: Creating Optimal Experience for Team Interactions, Integral Leadership Review, November 2016. Jim and Maureen also recorded a Voice America Interview airing on February 14, 2017.

Christopher, the CEO, walked into a planning session with the intent of getting his full team on the same page for how to move key initiatives forward for the upcoming year. His leaders were all in alignment on the core purpose of the organization and how to accomplish it. During the discussion, everyone gave unbiased input intended to move the organization forward irrespective of personal interest. Christopher was highly skilled at understanding the point of view of all participants and synthesizing the various points of view of his trusted leaders to create solutions everyone could support.

Does this scenario describe your normal business meetings? How is it different?

We would like to explore the idea that groups can leverage the skills of individuals across five key perspectives and create an environment in which each participant operates at his greatest level of contribution. We call this the alchemy of co-hosting, whereby the co-host, in conjunction with the participants, invokes a very different mindset and process for the team to function.

The Challenge

“Less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces [since 2000]. According to Gallup Daily tracking, 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged — meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged.” – Gallup

Much of our work is done within teams comprised of many highly effective and highly compensated people. We have found that these teams often function at the level of the least common denominator. Many people, especially leaders, move from meeting to meeting all day, every day. They often do this with little awareness of the specific role they play in the meeting and the value they bring. This is the culture of many organizations. When asking a cohort of vibrancy community members what they experienced in these teams, they suggested that while the participants were generally strong employees with good skills, they were often disengaged and some actively disrupted the work or found ways to interfere with the meeting goals. In some cases, the participants did this as passive aggressive response, and in some worse cases, did it just for personal entertainment. So, what is the antidote to this high level of disengagement considering five key factors other than the highest rank present? How do we capture the highest level of input from each person to create a higher level “field” of operation than any individual would have access to by working alone?

The Approach

We look at five different perspectives or measures of intelligence, then explore how the art of co-hosting can leverage all five intelligences of the participants to create an environment that calls forth the greatest possible capacity in the group.

The five perspectives are:

  • Leadership maturity – describes how adults mature throughout their lifespan, attending to ever increasing levels of complexity in their thinking, emotions, and behaviors
  • State development – describes where people focus their attention ranging from what is immediately in front of them to what is abstract and spiritual
  • Years of experience
  • Skill to identify the perspectives in the room
  • Co-hosting skill – the ability to identify the perspectives in the room and create an environment and approach that leverages the maturity, state, and skills of the participants

It is interesting to note that each of these perspectives is important for an organization to create holistic solutions to the many complex challenges they face. For that reason, it is important to recognize each of these perspectives and be able to identify, recruit, and create environments that genuinely leverage the gifts of each.

By integrating the five perspectives individually, an effective co-host can create the “container” or space to leverage each to the participants’ greatest potential rather than the traditional lowest common denominator.


During this era of increased complexity and accelerated need for change, it is imperative that we identify methods and processes to help us navigate the challenges we face. Optimally, these methods and processes would create the greatest impact for all involved—creating an optimal experience for the individuals and a holistic solution for the organizations or groups involved.

We believe that the solution integrates a solid process that integrates five key perspectives and a presence of being within the co-host to create the desired outcome. Both elements are critical.

We have an opportunity to enhance the experience and the impact we have in trying to solve problems. By building the capacity to co-host and using this process, we increase the probability of solving our most complex problems and enjoying the process. Knowing that this is possible helps us regain hope that we as a society can resolve the mounting list of intractable problems we hear of every day on the news.


Jim Ritchie-Dunham is president of the Institute for Strategic Clarity, a global research nonprofit, president of Vibrancy Ins., LLC, a global consultancy and publisher, president of the private operating foundation the Academy for Self-Discovery Leadership, an adjunct faculty member in Harvard’s program in sustainability leadership, and Adjunct Professor of Business Economics in the ITAM Business School in Mexico City.

Jim authored Ecosynomics: The Science of Abundance (2014), co-authored Managing from Clarity: Identifying, Aligning and Leveraging Strategic Resources (2001), has written many articles on systemic strategy for academic and practitioner journals, and blogs regularly at

As a student of human agreements, Jim Ritchie-Dunham brings over 25 years of research and insights gleaned from working with groups of all make-ups.  Jim named Ecosynomics, the emerging social science of the agreements that guide human interactions. Ecosynomics provides a framework rooted in economics and the sciences of human agreements that begins with an initial assumption of abundance, not scarcity, and a wider view of the human being.

Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Innovative Leadership Institute

, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach, whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. Maureen is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with a strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

Maureen has published several papers and articles and speaks regularly on innovative leadership, resilience, and organizational transformation. She is the author of the award-winning Innovative Leadership Workbook Series and the co-author of The Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, winner of an International Book Award for Best Business Reference Book. She is also a regular contributor to


Five Key Elements in Performance Management Design – Part 1

Blog post written by Rob HarmanPath to success cc traumaandissociation, II CPA, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP.  You have just received an email from your Human Resources Department advising you it is time to begin the annual performance review process. Do you react by thinking, great, I have an opportunity to showcase the great work I’ve done and provide meaningful feedback to others? Or do you suddenly feel the 12 week job assignment overseas is looking like a real opportunity? I think most of us will agree the performance management process is something that can be improved upon at most organizations. It is often a once or twice a year task that is required by the company in order to assess performance, determine promotions, discipline, or terminate employees who are not performing at a level that is expected.

While having the greatest intentions, many organizations come up with sophisticated competencies that are often very long, cumbersome, and complicated at best. The performance management process then becomes a necessary evil. Since most of us are being asked to do more with less, performance management becomes a low priority because the business of doing business always comes first. Often then, the performance management process becomes an annual exercise of trying to remember what you did for the year, what your team did, how well it was done, and what you can say about it in enough words to satisfy the owners of the process, while getting it done quickly enough to move on to your other tasks.

The sad part is that performance management is very much about running the business and meeting client needs, both internal and external. What is needed in today’s workplace is an efficient, effective, easy to use, continual performance management system that is transparent. Everyone needs to be trained on how to give effective feedback, and how to receive it. This should be an ongoing refrain! EVERYONE needs to be trained to give and receive feedback! Repeat – EVERYONE needs to use the training they received to give and receive feedback. Think of how many people you know who are ineffective at giving and receiving feedback and either are too busy to get better or think they are already good enough. The changes we recommend ONLY work if leaders and managers are GOOD at giving and receiving feedback!

With those criteria met, the performance management process will become a much easier task, one that is continual throughout the year, will deliver feedback, and will help set goals to help employees and the business.

In the following sections are five things to consider when building a successful performance management process and system. Use, design, measurement, output and competencies. We will cover use this week and the following four next week.

1. Use.

How will you use the system and what is your goal for the system? What organization and talent objectives are you trying to meet? Common uses are compensation decisions, promotion decisions, training, and what I’ll call leveling. Leveling can mean holding someone in their current position for a period of time, providing them with additional training, or finding other opportunities for them in the organization if their current position isn’t the right fit. Ultimately, it can mean counseling someone out of the organization.

As a side note, when making compensation decisions based on performance, many organizations are considering unlinking the direct connection between compensation decisions and the overall rating. Compensation decisions can still be made by performance, but other factors such as job position, job skills, market conditions, and contributions to the organization can be the main drivers1. This allows for more direct and honest feedback, and ultimately improving employee engagement and performance by honest coaching.

In part two, I will talk about what your intended use of the system should be, what to measure and how, as numeric ratings are falling out of style. We will also touch on competencies and how those are built into the system.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: traumaanddissociation

Nicholas Carr – Build the Bridge to the Cloud or be Disrupted by New Technology

Nicholas Carr wrapped up the Wednesday afternoon session at the TechColumbus Tech Tomorrow Conference.  Nicholas Carr writes about technology, culture, and economics. Nicholas authored The Big Switch (2008) and Does IT Matter? (2004). His writings – including columns for many periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Financial Times – have challenged mainstream thinking.  At the TechTomorrow Conference, he reflected on the impact – positive and negative – of technology on our businesses and in our lives, and will look to the possibilities of the future.

Nicholas indicated that we are on the precipice of a major disruptive change in technology.  When the internet took hold it changed how people related to technology.  Cloud computing will do the same.  What does this mean for your organization?  For your job?  As you read this post – you may want to think about how this change could impact you in the next 5-10 years and for some people, much sooner.

Nicholas compared cloud computing to companies generating power in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Because centralized energy generation and transmission had not yet been developed, companies had to create their own.  Once power companies were able to reliably generate power at a lower cost, companies “outsourced” their internal power production to the local power company.  It is likely we will see a similar transition with cloud computing.  I work with one IT company, Haladon Technologies, Inc., that advises their clients to move to the cloud rather than investing in the purchase of new servers. This means a monthly fee rather than large capital expenditure.  This monthly fee also means the maintenance of the serves is done off site so the company not only saves in hardware cost but also labor costs.  For many companies this is a significant cost.  The early transition is often companies deciding to move to the cloud for additional hardware needs while maintaining their existing hardware in house so it can be a dual pronged approach.  This makes sense on many levels because it allows the company to pilot the new approach and minimize risk.

What does this mean for the CIO?

  • With much of the current technology maintenance activities shifted to the cloud, the CIO and IT staff will be focused on more strategic functions critical to business operations.
  • The lines between IT and the business will blur as IT people become more focused on delivering business value.
  • The IT jobs within companies will change – more business analysis and less system maintenance.
  • Many jobs traditionally performed within companies will now be performed in “the cloud” and the staffing models will likely be different.

What does this mean for the business?

  • Reduced IT cost due to inefficiencies of building a system to handle peak capacity and also fragmentation
  • New opportunities to leverage IT in innovative ways to connect with customers (think mobile apps).
  • Shift capital expenditure to build data centers from all businesses to “cloud” related businesses
  • Higher data center efficiency based on centralized model

Why now?

  • Continued improvement of computing power (Moore’s law)
  • Improvement in fiber-optic performance making it possible for high speed data transmission at reasonable cost

There are still issues to be addressed before many companies will feel comfortable putting secure data on an external server.  The industry will need to address security and standards to mention a few.  It sounds like while some cloud providers are consistently delivering high quality services safely and consistently, like Amazon, others are not.  Just like with the electricity metaphor, the rate of adoption will track with the rate of progress within the providers of “cloud” services and also economic pressure.

There were five models for adoption – suggesting that this decision is far from an all or nothing proposition.  Those options range from gradual adoption, using the cloud as a supplement to full transition.  One of my clients built an internal cloud and immediately realized significant performance improvements.  Additionally, they had a system outage and because of the architecture of this new system they were back up and performing 2 hours compared to 4 days for prior outages.

Continued dependence on sustaining technology will become a strategic disadvantage at some point in time!

So, if we are facing a disruptive change in how cloud computing impacts businesses and the work people do within companies then what should proactive IT leaders be doing?

  • Look for gaps between what is happening now and the future goal and build bridges to close the gap in an orderly manner
  • Play a “broker” role between the cloud and the business
  • Understand new challenges and necessary skills.  Build your skills and your organization.
  • Understand how this transition can provide an advantage to your business and your customers and actively leverage the opportunity
  • Stay positive and focused, any disruptive change can take a strong emotional toll on the people impacted.
  • Communicate with the people who will be impacted and help them transition into appropriate roles to minimize the human cost.  Do this early and often!

This change promises to have a significant impact on the landscape of IT, the role it plays in the business and how it is delivered.  To learn more about the Central Ohio current skills gap and projected IT employment picture over the next five years, TechColumbus in Conjunction with Columbus State, Wright State and The Ohio Skills Bank released a report on the Skills Gap on Central Ohio IT Talent in October 2011.  This report did take into account the impact of cloud computing on the workforce.

If you are an IT professional, how will these changes impact you personally?  How do you want to participate in the change and how your role can help you succeed professionally?

To subscribe to this blog, please enter your email address in the box on the right side of this page.

Are you considering improving your ability to be an innovative leader?  If so, take this free on-line Innovative Leadership assessment to determine where you fall on the innovative leadership scale.  If you are looking for tools to help develop you ability to be an innovative leader, check out the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook.  Metcalf & Associates offers assessments, coaching and workshops to help you and your leadership team become more innovative.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

What are we doing to address Central Ohio IT Workforce Shortage?

Following is a guest post from Bill LaFayette of Regionomics LLC.  Regrionomics collaborated with TechColumbus and Metcalf & Associates on a report examining skills gaps in the Central Ohio Regional information technology workforce.  The overarching theme is that the speed of technological and business change is creating serious challenges for companies trying to match the skills of available job applicants with their business needs.  Because many of these jobs are outside IT companies, this problem affects companies throughout the economy.

To address the problem, we need to forge closer linkages between business and education to ensure that training programs are relevant to current and projected needs, increase collaboration between business and contracting companies that supply their talent, grow and develop new talent within the region, and actively recruit from other regions.  See the report for full details on recommended implementation plan.

The workforce analysis Bill undertook in support of this project is only excerpted in this report.  He am planning to share my more detailed analysis here soon.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.