Books we Trust: Jacob Morgan’s The Future of Work

Future of WorkJacob Morgan is the author of the newly released, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization (Wiley). He is also the principal and co-founder of the future of work consulting firm Chess Media Group and the FOW Community, an invite only membership community dedicated to the future of work and collaboration.

I first met Jacob a few years ago before he started working on his book The Collaborative Organization, previously reviewed on this blog. Jacob has a new book coming out called, The Future of Work which promises to get readers to think differently about how they work, lead, and build their organizations. Most of us get that the world of work is changing but many of us still don’t realize why it’s changing, how exactly it’s changing, and what we need to do about it.

The book is very well-researched (I read it in manuscript) and has some great corporate stories. Its release date is today, September 2.

Charlie Green: Jacob, your previous book was endorsed and supported mainly by CIOs, CMOs, and folks that one could say lean more towards the IT or technical side of things. That’s quite a stark contrast to this book, where you’ve lined up impressive testimonials from CEOs and respected business leaders. How did you get these guys involved and why did you up the ante?

Jacob Morgan: Getting CEOs was challenging. I started the process quite early on, but the CEOs that endorsed this book (from companies like KPMG, SAP, Intuit, Whirlpool, and others) are all strong believers in changing how work gets done. They all their own initiatives along these lines. My previous book was also more geared towards a specific audience; mainly those who were running collaboration efforts or were interested in collaboration. It wasn’t a broad book that someone might see at the book store and say, “Ah, I need to read that.”

The Future of Work is much more appealing to a broader audience, I wanted to write something that was relevant to employees and managers alike. We all have or need jobs which means that we all need to be thinking about the future of work!

CG: I’ve heard you say numerous times that “work as we know it is dead.” What exactly are you referring to? Clearly we still need to work.

JM: What I mean is that the common notions that employees are cogs, managers are slave-drivers, and that work is drudgery, are all dead. By the way, these are actual synonyms that you will find if you look up the words in a dictionary. We spend more time working than doing anything else in our lives so it’s about time that we start thinking differently about work.

CG: Well then, just what does the future of work actually look like?

JM: I get asked this question a lot. It obviously includes a LOT of different things. But broadly speaking on the employee side we will see things like flexible work, freelancing, decreased employee tenure, and a shift towards focusing more on projects and tasks vs career paths. For managers we will see greater use of collective intelligence, an acceptance of vulnerability in the workplace, and mindset change from “employees should serve managers” to “managers should serve employees.” Organizations will become more distributed, they will shift to the cloud, and will have to measure success by more than just profit.

CG: I’m sure some companies out there are thinking, “things are going fine for us, we’re making a ton of money, no need to do anything differently.” What would you say to do those companies?

JM: I don’t think those companies realize what they are talking about. What’s going on today is unique. It’s not just the fact that change is happening that’s important, it’s the fact that the rate of change is increasing. That means that being a late adopter is tantamount to being out of business.

There are five trends driving the changes we are seeing today: globalization, millennials, new behaviors, technology, and mobility. We’re also seeing a complete shift in who guides and dictates how work gets done. This used to be very top down but now employees are starting to drive the conversation. I always tell companies, “if your organization doesn’t think about and plan for the future of work, then your organization has no future.”

CG: Jacob thanks for sharing with us. The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

JM: My pleasure!


25 Warning Signs You Have a Low-Trust Organization: Part 4 of 5

Are you part of a low-trust organization? There are a surprising number of symptoms and tip-offs; perhaps the least obvious are in the organization’s products and services. This is fourth in a series of five. The other posts address warning signs from:

Product/Service Warning Signs of a Low-Trust Organization

Take a hard look at YourCo’s products and services. Not only do they provide tipoffs about high or low trust – they are themselves the beneficiaries (or victims) of high or low trust. YourCo’s market offering is very much tied up with trust.

Here are some product/service indicators of low trust at YourCo:

1. Innovation is low in YourCo.

  • Pick five big-picture indicators of innovation and rank your organization vs. your competitors. If you rank high, you probably have a high-trust organization. Low? Then probably not so much.
  • If you don’t rank well, you’ve got well-rehearsed excuses. “We’re like Apple, we’re not first in but we get it right.” “We focus more on service quality than on innovation per se.”  But you know what? Apple innovates. Ritz-Carlton innovates. Just in different areas. What’s your area?
  • The simple truth is, high-trust organizations foster high levels of innovation; low-trust organizations don’t. The lack of innovation is a canary in the coal mine; innovation itself is one of the great benefits of high trust.

2. Complaints are considered routine at YourCo.

  • Nobody’s perfect? OK. But if a complaint about your product or service no longer produces pain or angst within YourCo, then you’ve lost trust. Customers will sense that you’re unreliable, and – worse – that you don’t care.
  • Maybe this is just us, but we think those “please take a moment and rate your service” approaches hurt trust. They are automated; they leave no room for creativity; worse, they are all about YourCo and YourCo’s internal evaluation scheme. And worst of all, they pretend to be about the customer.

3. You don’t offer guarantees.

  • If you’re a retailer offering $1.99 items, “satisfaction or your money back” is no big deal. But if you’re a professional services provider, the value you provide may be way beyond the cost you charge.
  • What would it cost you to guarantee the cost of your service? If you’d lose money doing that – then maybe you have a service quality problem. The perception of not standing behind your service is that you yourself don’t trust it.
  • If you do offer a guarantee but it’s in small print, and you quibble over it, you just lost the value of the guarantee. That means you view guarantees as a cost of doing business, and not as a sign of confidence and customer respect. That will cost you trust.

4. Information is not forthcoming.

  • In this day and age, all customers – B2B, B2C – want easy access to every question they might have. The organization that gives you easy access to answers is the one that gets your trust.  The organization that manages your access to information so that you only see what they want you to see when they want you to see it – that’s the organization that loses your trust.
  • Put everything you can imagine on your website. That doesn’t mean it has to be all above the fold on page one; it just means you have to make it very available, and reasonably accessible. If I can’t find it, I infer you must be hiding it.  And I don’t trust you.
  • There are some questions I want help with; that’s when you make 800 numbers available, click here for live chat…  If instead of those options I get, “this is a recorded message; please call back during the hours of…” that’s when trust declines.

5. You think you’ve got the hamburgers.

  • In the early days of McDonald’s in Moscow, I’m told, customer service attitudes were hard to change. As one employee told a hapless American from corporate, “You people don’t seem to understand.  You see, we have the hamburgers; the customers don’t. They should be nice to us.”
  • Working from trust in business means you don’t trap people into doing what you want. Instead, you give them what they want; then let them live up to their humanity and give you what you want. The best way to create trustworthy customers is to trust them with your products and services.

The next blogpost in this series will be the last: client and customer tip-offs about whether you’re a low-trust organization.


Many Trusted Advisor programs now offer CPE credits.  Please call Tracey DelCamp for more information at 856-981-5268–or drop us a note @ [email protected].

Speech-to-Text: My Killer Apps Part 2

I never liked podcasts.  I can read five times faster than I can listen to someone talk; thank god for transcripts.

And while I type over 100 words per minute, there’s no way I can type as fast as I can talk.

So it seems obvious: the killer app combines talking-as-input with reading-as-output.  Which is called Voice-to-Text.

Voice-to-Text: a Future Whose Time Has Come?

Voice-to-text has been around for quite a while, but it seems to me it’s making some serious inroads lately.  In part, the technology has gotten better; you used to spend more time correcting mistakes than you saved in using the tool.

But it’s also become ubiquitous.  I love voicemail-as-text, aka visual voicemail, which you can get through pretty much all phone service providers. Here’s the AT&T Blackberry version, and here’s the Vonage version.  Instead of dialing up and listening while someone drones on, I just get the transcription via email.  (Of course, some pretty funny errors arise…).

You may also have noticed voice-to-text is popping up in lots of cellphone and search engine uses.  Microsoft’s Bing offers voice search on my iPhone, and Google is building it into its Chrome Browser.  Apple is apparently baking dictation capability into its new iOS5 internal settings.  Droid users already have access to it in some form.

That Will be Then: This is Now

All that’s exciting; but what can you do right now, today?  The main company in the business is Nuance.  They have absorbed many companies over the years and incorporated them into their flagship product Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I use the product three ways: the desktop version, the desktop version on my laptop, and my smartphone.  I love them all, but the biggest story is the phone app.

Voice to Text on Computer

It’s absolutely amazing how much you can do by voice commands alone.  If you’re visually impaired, for example, this software is the key to freedom. For most of us, in fact, it’s like the Sunday New York Times—all you’d ever want, and then some.

Desktop. The trick is to restrict your use to the simple stuff you need. Learn to articulate well, learn the basic movement commands, and don’t worry about all the esoteric voice versions of all the menu offerings.

I followed the advice of many and got a really good microphone.  I’m sure it helps.  I use it to rough out blogs, or emails, or letters.  I also use it when my arms and hands are tired, or I just want to free-form some thoughts.  Interestingly, your thoughts come out differently when speaking than when typing—they are less constrained.  Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not.

Laptop. The most powerful impact of voice-to-text on the computer platform, though, is not on the desktop–it’s on my notebook (MacBook Air for me)–and all I need is my plain old apple iPhone earbuds.

Fire up the software, plug my earbuds into the laptop, and start speaking into email.

Let me say that again:

  1. Start software.
  2. Plug in iPhone earbuds.
  3. Talk into my email program
  4. Hit send.

How cool is that?

Voice-to-Text on Phone.

And yet, the poster child of voice-to-text has got to be phone apps.  Dragon has a 60-second free version available on the iPhone and iPad. Here’s what you can do.

Start the app.  Speak into the microphone (bottom of iPhone).  The app recognizes your speech, and displays it in text form.  You can make corrections, or choose to send directly (one button) to SMS, or to email (or, if you must, directly to your Twitter or Facebook account).  Or—to your clipboard, from where you can paste it into any other application.

To be clear:

  1. Press the red Talk button
  2. Talk
  3. Press the red Done button
  4. Select SMS
  5. Select your recipient (from your address book)
  6. Press the Send button–your text message is on its way.

Why would you hassle typing a message onto a tiny keyboard when you can simply say it? And it’s free!

You can thank me for this, or you can just send donations to the Charles H. Green Pizza Fund; all contributors gratefully acknowledged.

Part 1 of the My Killer Apps series discussed the notetaking and archiving application, Evernote.

What are your killer apps that make you more efficient and productive? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

19 Reasons I Love Evernote

Many people have asked me how I get so much done.

I just submitted my third book (with co-author @AndreaPHowe) to the publisher. I write a fair amount of blogs, articles, and presentations. I tweet. Plus the usual complement of email and other correspondence.

I’m not a super-technoid, though I do all right for someone who graduated high school in 1968.

I haven’t solved procrastination. But what I do, I do efficiently. Here’s how.

My Hardware/Software Setup

Hardware: an iMac at home, a MacBook Air (latest generation), most recent iPhone. I own an iPad but use it mainly for reading. (One tip: I buy multiple earbud pairs and power plugs, and leave them several places: briefcase, office, car, basement).

Software: My Big Four:

  • Voice-to-text programs
  • DropBox
  • Kindle on Mac/iPhone/iPad
  • Evernote

Today I want to tell you about Evernote.

Evernote: Not Your Father’s Memory Storage

Evernote saves files. Similarly, a Maserati is an automobile.

I could try and categorize for you what it does, but sometimes a straight-ahead list of features does best. So here are 19 Things I Love About Evernote.

  1. 1-2 click storage. At worst, it’s one click to open the program, and one more click to open a new folder—which saves automatically. At best, one click on a browser button, and the window is saved.
  2. Instant cloud. Everything I put into Evernote on my iPhone, iMac, iPad or MacBook Air is instantly available on Evernote in every other platform. Everything. Like instantly. This is how a cloud should work. (And yes, Evernote does Windows).
  3. Wanna save that browser page? Click the clipper icon in Firefox, Safari, Chrome—done.
  4. Wanna save that article? That .pdf? That selected section of text? Click.
  5. How do you take notes for your phone calls? I never had a great solution before Evernote. Now, before I pick up the ringing phone, I click Evernote. Boom, I’ve got a clean file ready to type notes. I label them “Notes, person-name.” That’s all I need, because it’s date-stamped, and I can search on anything.
  6. Search and retrieval is extremely fast.
  7. You can organize information by tags, or by folders you create. And you can create stacks of folders.
  8. Or–you don’t even have to organize information at all; Evernote searches on text within all files.
  9. You can forward, or send directly, email or email attachments to Evernote; it comes with a unique-to-you email address.
  10. Save photos and audio files—Evernote is Not Just About Text.
  11. Send scanned documents and faxes to be saved to Evernote. (I love using iPhone scanning software like JotNot Scanner Pro for receipts and contracts, then sending them directly as a .pdf to my Evernote email address).
  12. When I go to the airport, I no longer write down the floor/section where I left the car; I snapshot/Evernote it.
  13. Inventory all your personal belongings for insurance purposes.
  14. Dictate notes to Evernote—and have them not only saved as audio, but transcribed as well (this is an enormous timesaver, by the way).
  15. Dictate notes through a dedicated phone number; auto-saves and transcribes into Evernote.
  16. Send tweets direct to your Evernote account.
  17. Don’t have a smartphone? Any phone with a browser can use it.
  18. You can share on Facebook. If you do such things.
  19. It is free. Up to some pretty high level of storage and usage. Above which you can pay, and the rate is not at all unreasonable.

I’m cutting back on Delicious and Instapaper, because Evernote seems to have it covered.

If you’re not satisfied with my 19 reasons, check out Andrew Maxwell’s blogpost 100 Different Evernote Uses.

By the way, my take on Evernote is far from comprehensive, or even organized. You’ll find a far deeper example of how to use Evernote by @MichaelHyatt in his post How to Use Evernote as a Blogger. Pretty powerful example. And in turn, Hyatt recommends Brett Kelly’s Evernote Essentials–which looks pretty interesting too.

(For the record, I have absolutely no relationship with Evernote whatsoever, beyond being yet another satisfied customer).

Management is Still Fighting the Industrial Revolution

Let’s think big picture today.

Ideas lead technology. Technology leads organizations. Organizations lead institutions. Then ideology brings up the rear, lagging all the rest—that’s when things really get set in concrete.

Doubtful? Think the Catholic church.

Or, think the history of capitalism. The Industrial Revolution, depending on who’s counting, ran roughly the 19th century. As sweepingly mapped in Alfred Chandler’s classic The Visible Hand, the development of management followed the development of industry.

In his view, by 1920 the major lines were laid down. From 1920 to 1960, the theory of management basically just caught up to reality.

From the 1960s to basically today, it hasn’t changed a whole lot more, except for new approaches to strategy and process engineering. Most approaches to ‘strategy’ just quantified and clarified pre-existing notions of corporations competing for dominance against each other. The advances were incremental, in the application of sharper theories, models, metrics and data-crunching.

Today, just like in 1920, the reigning ideology of business is competitive, linear, behavioral, measurable, and quantifiable. Set financial goals. Define organizations, processes and procedures in cognitive terms. Convert all resources to financially fungible terms. Define finer and finer levels of behavioral objectives. Put financial incentives in place. Install sensors to micro-measure results. Step back and watch the machine run, tweaking the cheese rations as necessary.

What this view of business is NOT is everything that’s happening at the front of the chain—the technology-to-organization reality that drives all else.

It does not recognize cross-corporate borders, fluidity, collaboration, transparency, humanism in any serious sense, community, ethics, politics and the economics of the commons. All of which are critical business issues today.

We are stuck with a belief system rooted in the late 19th century.

Segue-way to a most interesting article by Gary Hamel in the February 2009 Harvard Business Review, titled Moon Shots for Management. Hamel, when at his best, is arguably the most creative business strategist extant; and here he is very, very good.

He reports out the results of a 2008 group brainstorming exercise aimed at nothing less than re-inventing management. From Management 1.0 to Management 2.0.

The article lists the Top Ten ideas from the group, including the following:

• Ensure the work of management serves a higher purpose
• Reconstruct management’s philosophical foundations
• Reduce fear and increase trust
• Reinvent the means of control (less compliance, more shared values)
• De-structure and dis-aggregate the organization
• Create a democracy of information.

And so on.

These are indeed Big Ideas, and it’s about time. Our old ideology is not only behind the times, not only holding us back, it is positively destroying value going forward.

We cannot afford another Sarbanes-Oxley bill to prevent the next Madoff. We cannot afford billions to simply re-capitalize Detroit. We cannot afford to teach people competitive dogma in a world that demands collaboration. And we cannot enforce ethics through processes and controls.

People like Hamel (and me, in this regard) are trying to reform ideologies. That is not easy, since the very terms of discussion are of and from the reigning ideology. How do you talk about things that people cannot conceptualize, given the tainted nature of the very language we use?  (A simple example: how to free the word ‘strategy’ from the unconsciously inferred adjective ‘competitive’)? 

Say "higher purpose" and "philosophical foundations" and you get glazed looks in most companies.  That is not a meausre of its craziness, but a measure of the power of the reigning ideology.  Copernicus sounded crazy too; but he wasn’t.

These ideas are directionally very right. I won’t say they have to come true. But I suspect Hamel would agree with me that if they don’t, we will not progress very far, if at all.


Trust and Noah’s Bar Mitzvah

I’m asked frequently what organizations can do to increase their perceived trustworthiness in the market. Part of the answer is to increase trust within the organization itself; after all, why should a customer or supplier trust an organization whose employees don’t even trust each other?

Which is why it’s interesting to look at practices of high-trust organizations.

Which brings us to Noah G.

I was privileged to be a guest at Noah’s bar mitzvah this past weekend in San Francisco. It was a moving event for many reasons. And that’s part of the lesson.

Being “moved” is a bonding event, creating a shared experience. Shared significant experiences are a basis for understanding each other—if it’s significant for you, and I’ve been there too, then to that extent I “get” you.

The bar mitzvah—like other bonding experiences–enhances that sense of unity, cohesion and collaboration among a group.

The service refers to the group’s shared values—in this case, embodied in the Torah. Which is written and read in the identical language used about 3,500 years ago. The values are literally—physically—walked around the room for all to touch—again, literally and physically.

As an observer, for me the heart of the bar mitzvah service involved Noah being asked to describe the meaning of an ancient piece of text for today’s world. Think values-driven management. Think demanding that even 13-year-olds learn and share how time-tested values are applicable to today’s world.

The dimension of time, I think, is critical for trusting experiences. Without something common that bridges time, we have nothing but a sequence of transactions (a great number of “best practices” these days in business are focused on transactions without reference to a time-based relationship). Relationships by definition presume constancy over time.

In Noah’s case, the after- party featured a slide show of Noah in relationship over time—Noah with his brother, his parents, his cousins. And, strikingly, photos of Noah’s father at his own bar mitzvah—and Noah’s grandfather at his.

The service, being held on the Sabbath, contains the Kaddish—recognition of those who have passed on but are still part of the Relationship—specifically including those for whom no one any longer exists who can speak for them directly. (Does your company actively cultivate “alumni”—or do you force them to sign non-competes and “leave the building?”)

Did I mention the ceremony was moving? My own tradition is that of ‘God’s frozen people,’ as Garrison Keillor puts it. To hear parents speak openly in public of their love for their child feels shockingly, achingly personal to me—both as a child and as a parent.

I felt the same ages ago sitting in the choir loft next to my Irish Catholic girlfriend at her father’s funeral, as she played Danny Boy on the flute and the congregation wept openly with every note. Personal.  Real.  It has to be personally moving, because relationships are personal.

And paradoxically, that’s one of the most important parts of building trust in an organization. Trust may be encouraged institutionally, but it has to be built personally. If you’re not moved yourself, how can you expect others to be moved by you–to trust you?

Trust minus passion leaves only statistical probabilities; not the road to building a trusted organization.  We don’t trust organizations very much; we trust the people in them—or not. Organizations who would be trusted had better not fear to get real, to get personal.  Like the bar mitzvah.