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 Ram Ganeshan
Ram GaneshanEpisode 182: September 5, 2022
Supply Chain in 2022

Ram Ganeshan

Episode 182: September 5, 2022

Supply Chain in 2022

Last summer, William & Mary Business Professor Ram Ganeshan joined us on the podcast to talk about where supply chains stood in 2021. A year ago we were experiencing lumber shortages, new furniture was challenging to find, and chlorine for the backyard swimming pool was in short supply. Fast-forward one year to today and we're faced with new supply chain issues. Some we could never have imagined a year ago. For example, the baby formula shortage continues, semiconductors are in short supply, and the Russian-Ukrainian war has caused a number of critical shortages affecting people all over the world. Professor Ganeshan joins us again to talk about today's supply chain issues, how they began, and what might be ahead for customers, companies, and countries across the globe.

Podcast (audio)

Ram Ganeshan: Supply Chain in 2022 TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • How the baby formula shortage happened
  • What the federal government is doing to address supply chain shortages
  • How individual states are changing WIC baby formula regulations
  • When the baby formula shortage might ease up
  • How the semiconductor industry is similar to the baby formula industry
  • Why the semiconductor industry cannot rapidly increase production
  • How the CHIPS Act will address the semiconductor supply shortage
  • How the Russia-Ukraine war has affected the semiconductor and food industries
Transcript

Female Speaker

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business, produced by the William & Mary School of Business and its MBA program. Offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. For more information, visit wm.edu.

Ken White

Welcome to Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. Sharing strategies, information, and insight to help you become a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Well, last summer, William & Mary business Professor Ram Ganeshan joined us on the podcast, talked about where supply chain stood in 2021. A year ago, we were experiencing lumber shortages, new furniture was challenging to find, and chlorine for the backyard swimming pool was in short supply. We'll fast forward one year to today, and we're faced with new supply chain issues, some we could never have imagined a year ago. For example, the baby formula shortage continues, semiconductors are in short supply, and the Russian-Ukrainian war has caused a number of critical shortages affecting people all over the world. Professor Ganeshan joins us again to talk about today's supply chain issues, how they began, and what might be ahead for customers, companies, and countries across the globe. Here's our conversation with William & Mary business professor Ram Ganeshan.

Ken White

Ram, thanks very much for joining us. Nice to see you.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, nice to see you too, Ken. Nice being here.

Ken White

It's been a year. Last summer, you and I sat down. We were talking about the supply chain issues and where things might go. Did you expect the state of affairs to be where they are now? A year ago, when we talked.

Ram Ganeshan

Yes and no, things are improving in certain sectors, but we've had somewhat setbacks in the past years, like the war in Ukraine, for example, and the impending recession in America. So we don't know how that's going to sort of eventually resolve itself. But yes and no is the answer.

Ken White

There are a number of issues in terms of supply chain that it seems like everybody talks about. People are quite aware. The first one is the baby formula shortage. How did this happen?

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, interestingly, if you look at the baby formula, it's sort of like a microcosm of what has been happening in the pandemic. Interestingly, if you look at baby formula demand, I'm talking a little bit technical here. The demand is somewhat constant. The babies don't. It's not a seasonal thing. It's fairly constant. And it turns out that the average demand is around 60 million 8-ounce bottles, which is how they measure baby formula. And a typical baby, it's been a while, but my kids are teenagers now. But it's somewhere between seven and eight-ounce bottles a day. So that's 60 million a week of eight-ounce bottles is the demand. And that's been constant for the longest time. So as you can imagine, supply chains have sort of organized themselves to make 60 million as efficiently as they possibly can.

Ken White

Sure.

Ram Ganeshan

And one of the ways that the supply chain is organized it's become highly concentrated, which means three companies, if you take Abbott and Nestle, the folks who make Gerber and a couple of others, account for pretty much all the production. And Abbot Nutrition, just in their one plant in Sturgis, Michigan, makes 20% of all baby formula that's made.

Ken White

Wow.

Ram Ganeshan

And of course, baby formula being like a critical product, it's regulated by the FDA. And part of the FDA rules stop us from importing stuff from outside, even from Europe, where nutritionally they may be better. They don't use corn syrup, that sort of stuff. So we can't import there are a few people making it, and then 50% of those who buy baby formula from the shelves. The demand are through what is called the WIC program, which is the Women, Infant, and Children program, which is you get vouchers for families who can't afford it. And they would go and buy, and the vouchers would let them buy only certain types of baby formula. So if your vouchers would let you buy Similac, for example, that's what you'd buy, you can't buy another brand. So somewhat restricted in what you can buy that way too. Most of the demand now. So typically, this was last year, what they call an out-of-stock percentage. You go to the store, how often it's not there, it's about 1-2%, 3%. Right. So that's common. And then suddenly, though, in April, it started to be close to 40%. Geez, what's going on? It's got all the parents up in arms because they can't find baby formula. Turns out that one of the plants of Abbott, which is in Sturgis, which I just talked about, which makes 20% of all production, they found cronobacter bacteria there. I don't know if you know the history of Cronos, the Greek god. I mean, this is the guy who ate babies, so it's kind of named that way. So it's kind of dangerous for babies, but it's in your kitchen sink. So there was a lot of debate about, gee, our cronobacter that's causing it? Because it's such and the company insists it's not there, but I won't go there for a minute. So what essentially ended up happening is they shut the plant down because they wanted to make sure there's nothing wrong. Think about it. You just pulled 20% of the supply out of the market, right? And that's where the domino started. So you take 20% of the supply out, and they also recalled many of the products they made. So the supply started going. So 50 of the demand is taken off the market. And immediately you started seeing and interestingly, another thing that happened was the news broke in April that, oh, geez, this April, that the shortage of baby formula. And then, when I follow sales data, this company called IRI releases sales. So I talked about 60 million 8-ounce bottles being the demand. Suddenly now, it's 75 million 8-ounce bottles. Clearly, they're not more babies, right? So maybe people are holding it in their kitchen shelves. That's a possibility. So the demand bumped up by about 10% or 15%, and the supply reduced by 20%. And go figure, right? So that's what put us in this hole.

Ken White

Makes perfect sense.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah.

Ken White

Yeah, but now it's gone all the way to the White House to try to come up with solutions.

Ram Ganeshan

Absolutely. Clearly, it's a news story that you don't want to be linked to. Right. And the first thing people did is link it to the White House. So they had to do something about it, and they have. So the first thing Biden did was I talked about how the FDA rules didn't allow us to import. He relaxed some of those rules, saying, yeah, we can import. And he started this program called the Flight Freedom Program, where baby formula was being imported from other countries in Europe and Mexico and Australia, and so forth. But so far, we've only imported about a week's worth of supply. Sixty million bottles, nearly not enough. Right. But we have promises for six weeks worth of demand. So it's coming. And knowing supply chains, maybe sometime in the end of September, we're going to have way too many baby formula cans than we know what to do with. The second thing he did was invoke the Defense Production Act. So if you are baby formula manufacturers, all the things you need to make baby formula are now available to you. You're at the front of the line from these suppliers. Of course, you have our own Department of Defense planes, transport planes, moving these baby formula around, all the supply chain congestion, so trying to get it into the system quickly. Plus, he's doing all this. And all the companies involved Abbott, and Nestle, and Reckitt. They're all reconfiguring their production lines to make more. But that takes time. It's not quick. So there is still a significant supply drop. And to add to all this, the Abbot plant in Sturgis came online, and then there were floods in Michigan. So it got flooded, and they had to close it down again. So the supply hasn't caught up, and not enough has come in. So we're not able to bridge that gap. Another thing states are doing, I talked about the regulations, and the WIC program is now they're giving waivers so you can get those vouchers and buy anything on the shelf. From a state's perspective, you want contracts with some manufacturers because you can get a better deal, right, so large quantities. But now you can buy any on the shelf that are not contracted by you too. So that might give the other manufacturers a little bit more incentive to put stuff on the stuff. So it's still not caught up, the supply and demand. And retailers are now being able to ration these products too. So hopefully, I'm thinking maybe another six weeks or so. I mean, the White House is monitoring this very closely, and they're putting pressure on all these manufacturers. So hopefully, in six weeks, that's my guess. But let's keep our fingers crossed here.

Ken White

Yeah, it's amazing, and like you said, it takes time. It just takes time.

Ram Ganeshan

Yes, because of lead time, at least you're talking here a plant in Michigan, a phone call away, and you can drive there in a day, right, if you want to meet somebody. So the point really is how these supply chains are organized. They are highly concentrated and highly specialized. Few people do all things. And now you sort of expand this to the globe, right? Imagine it's not Michigan but somewhere in Taiwan. It just takes longer for everything to happen and get here. And that's what's happening. It's this crash in slow motion. Let me put it that way. And we're trying to recover from it.

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Professor Ram Ganeshan in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If your business or organization is interested in retaining your best people, consider enrolling them in one of our MBA programs for working professionals, William & Mary's online MBA, part-time MBA, and executive MBA programs are designed for the professional who works full-time. So both the employee and the organization benefit. Show your employees you care by investing in their growth. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary at wm.edu. Now back to our conversation with William & Mary business professor Ram Ganeshan.

Ken White

The semiconductor issue, the CHIPS Act, another area that is just people are watching it and kind of scratching their heads what's taking place there.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, so I think we had this conversation before. If you look at the semiconductor industry, it is very similar to baby formula in many ways because really three countries pretty much make all the semiconductors Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Not only that, but I would say maybe five firms make most of the semiconductors. So you got Taiwan Semiconductor, Samsung, LG, and maybe perhaps SMIC, which is in China. What had happened there was the pandemic had slowed the supply of these folks, and we couldn't get anything from SMIC, which was in China, because it was blacklisted by President Trump. So there was a supply drop, and there was a demand increase on the other side. So there was the same sort of things happened. So clearly, it has been a year, and obviously, for supply chains, semiconductor supply chains, trying to increase capacity is not an easy thing because these machines literally cost several hundred million dollars. Setting up clean rooms takes several months. So you can't just snap your finger and say, I'm going to make 20% more. It's going to take you eight to ten months to even get there. And they have been working towards that. But of course, on the flip side of it is, this has also gotten into the political discourse, saying, hey, why are we dependent on Taiwan and China? Why can't we make our own chips? And that seems to resonate with a lot of folks, and that's what the CHIPS Act was about, saying we make about less than 10% of the world's semiconductors. We just design them here in the United States. So the CHIPS Act is going to give incentives to set up fabrication facilities. Intel has already said they're going to put up some facilities in Ohio. Micron has said they're going to put up a facility, but those things are going to take a few years before they even go online. So until then, we are left with what we have, which is most of the semiconductor supply base is still in East Asia, and most of the largest companies, like Apple's biggest suppliers, are in China and Taiwan.

Ken White

And again, patience. Right? Wow. Yeah. I think people would love an easy answer, but I think they know there isn't one.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, but it's also the domino effect. If you think about semiconductors and ask people where it's used. You have to think hard to think about a product that does not use semiconductors, and it impacts everybody in cars gee, I can't go to work. Our car prices have increased, computers so on. So yeah, it's the downstream domino effect that's also quite important.

Ken White

And then the war Russia and Ukraine has just disrupted like we couldn't even imagine. What are we looking at now?

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, that was a surprise. I wouldn't say a surprise. I mean, we knew something was happening, but nobody really thought the war was going to actually happen, and it did. Keeping it semiconductors. Here's what we discovered when the war started. That Ukraine makes most of the world's ion, which is required ingredient in semiconductor manufacturing. In fact, two companies make 50% of the world's ion. One is in Mariupol. You've seen pictures on TV the city being destroyed.

Ken White

Yes.

Ram Ganeshan

They shuttered their operations immediately when the war started, and so did the other one, which is in the port city Odesa. So that's that. And if you think about Russia, they make 30% of the world's palladium. They are the second largest producer of nickel and the third largest producer of cobalt. And you might ask why this is important. I mean, if you think about palladium, it is one of the metals used in semiconductor manufacturing, and if you think about nickel, cadmium, and cobalt, they are all used in batteries and cars. So especially when the Biden administration is pushing electric cars and the future of energy has sort of got a setback here, and trying to mine these and get licenses is not easy. There are deposits available in Canada and Greenland, and Australia, but somebody has to prospect them, and somebody has to mine them, and it's not happening anytime soon. In the semiconductor industry, if you think about automobiles, if you look downstream in the supply chain, Ukraine also makes a lot of what they call wiring harnesses for cars. The first thing they do in a car is put the wiring harness in and hook everything up to it. And that's how it gets its power. Volkswagen and BMW, they were getting their wiring harnesses from Ukraine, and as soon as the war started, that dried up. These car companies are using what they call just in time. Right. Very efficient. So when something when their supplier stops, so they have to stop their lines, making the ID four car Volkswagen, for example, which has American market. So BMW had to stop their production and look for alternative sources in Tunisia and China. It's coming down.

Ken White

Yeah, and then the food aspect of it as well. I don't know that people realize how much food came out of those two countries.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, I knew Ukraine was the bread basket, but I didn't think it made so much wheat to feed so much of the world. I think the sad part of that is many countries, like Egypt and Sudan, for example, get almost 100% of their supply from Ukraine. So now they're left in the lurch. I think it's dependent on the developing countries to come and help them. I think some of that is happening, but there is a lot of fear that they might be famine in many parts of the world because of this war. Yeah, that's pretty sad.

Ken White

Do you see things beginning to ease? Are you thinking looking towards the future overall?

Ram Ganeshan

I hope so. I noticed two things. One is many of the supply chain constraints that were in the earlier part of the pandemic, like lumber and accompanying house prices. The usual, see if you take masks and sanitary kind of things, hand sanitizers. We don't have a shortage anymore like our toilet paper. So we found a way to solve it. Cost of lumber is going down. Inflation from everything we've seen has peaked, and hopefully, it's turned a corner. And, of course, the Fed is putting pressure on the demand side of things. So hopefully, the supply and demand will be more in line. Hopefully, we have a soft landing. We'll see about that. And things are easing. But of course, there's the storm clouds in the horizon. And when Russia attacked Ukraine, China didn't condemn Russia. Not only China but India and the Middle East. So I don't know how that bodes for us. Especially when Speaker Pelosi went to Taiwan, you saw the geopolitical risk of that. And interestingly, there was an article on the New York Times. I don't know if you saw that, but how her plane had to make a circuitous route to avoid all the streets just for political reasons. But interestingly enough, when she landed in Taiwan, not only did she meet the political leadership, but she also met the CEO of TSMC, which is a big chip manufacturer. So let's hope the geopolitical risks die down, and let's hope Ukraine and Russia can come to some sort of agreement because I think the supply chain issues, I'm beginning to see an easing in the supply-demand mismatch. So let's hope that doesn't get derailed.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Ram Ganeshan. And that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business, home of the MBA program, offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. If you're looking for a truly transformational experience, check out the William & Mary MBA program at wm.edu. Thanks to our guest, Professor Ram Ganeshan, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

Female Speaker

We'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks for listening to Leadership & Business.

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Episode 180: July 21, 2022

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Retaining high quality employees. A priority today. As professionals change jobs faster than ever, businesses and organizations need to hang on to their best performers. While many employers increase salaries to retain people, our guest today says they're often overlooking something more important and more effective. Something that will keep top employees engaged and happy at work. David Long is a professor of organizational behavior at William & Mary's School of Business. In addition to teaching undergraduate and MBA students, he works closely with businesses and leadership teams. He says employers can focus on five elements that lead to happy and fulfilled employees. The kind who stay on the team and contribute.

Podcast (audio)

David Long Retaining Your Employees TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Podcast (platforms)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • How extrinsic and intrinsic rewards affect employee retention
  • What leaders miss in regards to intrinsic rewards
  • How variety can help derive more intrinsic satisfaction from work
  • Why identity in a piece of work is important to an employee
  • What role significance plays in employee retention
  • Why leaders need to give their employees some autonomy
  • The importance of getting feedback from the work itself
  • How managers and leaders can ensure employee retention through the five intrinsic reward pillars
Transcript

Female Speaker

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business, produced by the William & Mary School of Business and its MBA program. Offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. For more information, visit wm.edu.

Ken White

Welcome to Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. Sharing strategies, information, and insight to help you become a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Retaining high-quality employees a priority today as professionals change jobs faster than ever, businesses and organizations need to hang on to their best performers. Well, while many employers increase salaries to retain people, our guest today says they're often overlooking something more important and more effective. Something that will keep top employees engaged and happy at work. David Long is a professor of organizational behavior at William & Mary's School of Business. In addition to teaching undergraduate and MBA students, he works closely with businesses and leadership teams. He says employers can focus on five elements that lead to happy and fulfilled employees. The kind who stay on the team and contribute. Here's our conversation with William & Mary business Professor David Long.

Ken White

David, thanks for joining us. A pleasure to have you today.

David Long

Thanks, Ken. Nice to see you.

Ken White

You had talked to a group of corporate leaders just a few weeks ago about what we're going to talk about. And everybody in the room, you could just see the lights going on. People were really excited, saying, I really didn't think about it this way. And what we learned is that so many people are focused on hiring and retention, but they might not be thinking about the right thing. And you talked a little bit about extrinsic and intrinsic. Can you tell us about that?

David Long

Sure, absolutely. If you think about the way that you view your work and your job, there's really two categories that you can view your job on. The first one is on what we call extrinsic rewards. Those are things, specific aspects about the job that are outside of you. So things like pay, promotions, benefits, perks, vacation time, how big of an office I have, those are things that certainly impact whether you're going to be happy in a job or not. But again, they are external to you. They're nothing about you as a person. The other are intrinsic rewards. Those are things that are more internal to you. And there are specific aspects of the job that kind of map to who you are as a person or what you want to get out of a job. So extrinsic rewards, you think about pay, promotion, intrinsic rewards, you think about things about the job that I enjoy. What are the specific things about the job that I do everyday day in and day out that I derive satisfaction from? That's the intrinsic side, and that's kind of where a lot of leaders miss focus when they're thinking about how can I keep my employees around. It's not just about pay. It's not just about promotions and who you work with. It's about the job.

Ken White

And you talked about five specific elements in terms of that one of them. And as we're talking about this, you're saying this is what you need to think about when thinking about your employees. Right. Or your team.

David Long

Absolutely.

Ken White

And so, the first element is variety.

David Long

Yeah. And these five elements that I think we're going to cover here, they come from a model called Job Characteristics Theory. It's a model that's been around for a long time, but it's based more on that intrinsic side of work, kind of the missed opportunity that a lot of leaders overlook. The first one is variety. So in order to derive more intrinsic satisfaction from your work, one aspect of your job that would be beneficial for you to get that intrinsic satisfaction is to have variety. Getting to do different things. The old assembly line worker just doing the same routine over and over again. Not a lot of variety. But if you get to do different things, maybe you get to work with different clients, maybe you get to focus on different tasks. You get to hone new skills that you never honed before. That's all different aspects of variety that can drive higher levels of job satisfaction.

Ken White

Cross training, for example, right?

David Long

Absolutely. Cross training. When I was leading Home Depot, we had department supervisors. I had a hardware department supervisor. I had an electrical department super. I had a paint department supervisor. And one day, I said, let's learn each other's jobs. The hardware supervisor, do you know how to mix paint. Let's learn that job. That way, if a customer is ever waiting in paint and somebody's helping, they need help in paint, the hardware person can go over there and mix paint for them. It's just learning a different skill set, adding variety.

Ken White

And we know that most people, most employees, do, in fact, enjoy that.

David Long

Absolutely.

Ken White

Cross training. The ability to learn more.

David Long

Right. It's a little bit of a slippery slope because employees do want to be good at what they do. So they do want to be somewhat of an expert in their primary role. But beyond that, do they get to do different things at different times as well?

Ken White

Right.

David Long

You want to be an expert on what you do, but you also want to enhance new avenues for yourself.

Ken White

So we know that doing that under the variety element improves satisfaction.

David Long

Absolutely. And if an employee is more satisfied in their work, they're more likely to stay.

Ken White

Absolutely.

David Long

It's about retention.

Ken White

Number two. The second element is identity.

David Long

Yeah. Identity is a fun one. It has to do with employees being able to see an identifiable piece of completed work that they contributed to that they did. So do you have your own identity in a finished piece of work? I tell my students all the time, look, you guys are going to go off and do great things. You're going to become leaders of industry. You're going to run companies. It would be great if I could look one day and say, here's how I contributed to that. And so if you ever feel like, hey, Professor Long, your class, I learned something about it, and I do it every day, let me know about that. I would love to be able to see myself in an identifiable piece of finished work. People who bake cakes and paint paintings and build things, they have this in spades. They get to see the fruits of their labor. But a lot of jobs, especially in service industries, we just don't get to see the fruits of our labor. So it's important for leaders to be able to connect that back to their employees, show them what their work is doing as a finished product so that they can see it and they can point to it and go, hey, I did that.

Ken White

So it has a visible outcome.

David Long

Has a visible outcome. That's right. If you build homes, you get to drive around town and point to houses. I built that one. I built that one. I built that one. A lot of us don't have that luxury.

Ken White

Yeah, I did that, matters, doesn't it?

David Long

I did it. Yeah, I did it, matters. That's right.

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

Exactly.

Ken White

The third element is significance. What do you mean by that?

David Long

Yeah, so this is a big one. Does your job offer significance to other people? Is it meaningful to others? If you're a lifeguard, you got this, right? You're saving lives. You're out there. But if you're working in a job where you feel like, I just don't see how what I'm doing contributes to society or the greater good. Back to Home Depot, I had a cashier one time who said, I'm just a cashier here, so what does it matter? And I thought for a second, oh, man, I got to figure out a way to let her know that what she does is significant. And so the Home Depot I worked at, we get about 12,000 customers a week. Only about 500 to 700 of those customers actually need associates in paint or hardware to help them. The rest of them get what they want, and they go check out. So over 90% of our customers only interact with that cashier. And so I went and told her, I said, look what you do, how you engage with the customers ultimately going to determine how successful we are as a store because that's going to drive customer satisfaction. You smiling at them, asking them if they found everything they need, and telling them to have a nice day, and getting them out in a timely manner is really what's going to determine our success.

Ken White

Yeah, it matters greatly. And it's interesting how some people don't see how much their work matters to the organization and to the customer, right?

David Long

And so one of the great studies that did this is there was a call center on a college campus where volunteers were calling and soliciting donations, and they were doing fine. But the leader of the call center said, what if I brought in the benefactors, the people who are benefiting from the donations? I.e., receiving the scholarships from the money that was being solicited? Let me bring those folks in and let them tell the volunteers, thank you, and without your effort, I couldn't be here. I mean, it drove not only how hard they were working but the amount of donations they received through the roof just by seeing the people that they were impacting. The significance that their work had on someone else.

Ken White

So it's important for the manager, for the leader, to find that significance if the employee can't find it.

David Long

Right. And we can't all be lifeguards. We can't all be surgeons.

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

So you need to find a way to connect. What is it that this employee is doing, and how does it impact something that's more significant than themselves? How does it help the vision of the company? How does it drive our mission? How does it make a customer more satisfied?

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Professor David Long in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. We're discussing employee retention on the podcast today. If that's a priority for your organization, we invite you to think about William & Mary as a way to retain your best people. Consider enrolling them in one of our MBA programs for working professionals. William & Mary's online MBA, part-time MBA, and executive MBA programs are designed for the professional who works full time, so both the employee and the organization benefit. Show your employees you care by investing in their growth. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary at wm.edu. Now back to our conversation with Professor David Long.

Ken White

The fourth pillar autonomy. What do you mean by that?

David Long

Yeah. Do you get to decide how, when you do your job right? It's like the opposite of micromanaging. Leaders need to tell their employees, here's the expectation, here's the outcome I want, and then get out of their way. Let them determine an autonomy can be as big as, hey, I have the flexibility to work when I want and where I want, or it can be something as small as, what tasks am I going to do this day and in what order am I going to do them right? So the less micro-managing that employees have, the happier they are. They want autonomy. They want discretion. And the reason is because if people have autonomy, then whatever the outcome is, the responsibility goes back to them because I got to decide how I teach this course. I got to decide who I work with. I always tell my students. I say I'm teaching this class. Do you know who made the decision about what was in the curriculum, what's on the syllabus? And they pause for a minute, and then somebody always says, you did. And I go, that's right. I did. No, dean told me, no department chair told me, no president. I got to determine what is in the syllabus and what content I'm teaching you. The good thing about that is I got to decide. The other side of that is, if you guys aren't happy with this course, that comes back to me.

Ken White

Right.

David Long

So it's an extra edge for the employees to also, hey, look, I want to give you autonomy. You need to make sure you're putting in the effort to get the outcome that we want.

Ken White

Yeah. Autonomy and responsibility go hand in hand.

David Long

Hand in hand.

Ken White

In that instance.

David Long

You're right, Ken.

Ken White

Do most people in your experience want autonomy?

David Long

Yes. Again, they want to become subject matter experts. And so there's an onboarding, there's a ramp-up process for autonomy. Autonomy from day one. Hey, you're hired. Now here's what we need you to do now. You go figure it out can be dangerous. So employees want to learn the steps, but then after a while, back off and let them get their own nuanced way to do something.

Ken White

This is an interesting pillar because when you and I talked to managers and leaders, a lot of what we're hearing now is, this is exhausting. I mean, these people, my team, they're driving me crazy. A lot of that would go away if you allow them to have some autonomy.

David Long

Absolutely. Right. So focus on the outcomes. Hold people accountable for the deliverables, but then let them have a say. And hey, every third Friday, I'm going to do a remote. Okay, fine, if that's what works for you. But just know the expectation is that we get the deliverables that we agreed on.

Ken White

Sure. The final number five is feedback.

David Long

This one's an interesting one because most people, when they think about feedback, they think about a boss or a customer saying, hey, you did a good job, or you did a bad job. This element of feedback actually comes from the work itself. You look at something and say, I either did a good job or I did a bad job. So if I'm an artist painting a painting, I can stand back at the end and look at it and go, oh, man, I really nailed that one. Or oops. Those colors clash. They don't go well together. I'm getting feedback from the work itself. Again, it's not from a boss or a co-worker, or a customer. That's an important aspect of feedback. But the truest sense where people get intrinsic rewards is if they get it from the work itself. So you can pat yourself on the back and say, yeah, I nailed that one.

Ken White

Yeah. My work lets me know how I'm doing.

David Long

My work lets me know how I'm doing. Absolutely.

Ken White

So as I think of this, I go right back to autonomy because they're tied together. So of the five, how do they intertwine with one another?

David Long

So they're all independent, but they can amplify, they can enhance each other. So if leaders focus on a couple of them, that's better than just focusing on one of them. If they focus on all five, that can be super powerful.

Ken White

But you had mentioned at one time that the five lead to real meaningfulness in the work.

David Long

Yeah, right. So these five characteristics of a job, they lead to what we call feeling states of employees where they feel that my work makes a difference, it's meaningful. They feel that they're responsible for the outcomes. They feel that the feedback they're getting allows them to know how they're doing. Those are feelings that these jobs provide. Again, these are intrinsic things. Feelings are intrinsic. And so these five quick characteristics lead to these positive effective states that employees feel, and that's what drives job satisfaction.

Ken White

And how can managers and leaders ensure that they're using this? Because this is a fairly easy fix when it comes to retention.

David Long

It really is. The best way to do it is there are actually two things. The first thing is leaders need to ask employees across these five dimensions rate your job. I've given you variety, identity, significance, autonomy, feedback. Ask them do you feel that your job makes a difference? And if so, how? The employee says no. Okay, great. This is an avenue that I can work and can focus on. If the employee says absolutely, I see exactly how my job connects, great. That's something that I don't have to spend time on. I can go to maybe feedback or identity. So asking employees to give some information, solicit some feedback so that, you know, the second thing is we just need to stop thinking only extrinsically. When they think about rewards, the employees are going to knock on their door and say hey, I'm not happy here. I think I need another 30% pay. Or hey, I'm not happy here. I'd like a little more vacation time. That's an important thing to listen to. Right. Because it does impact job satisfaction. But don't overlook the intrinsic side of thing. Maybe in addition to listening to the concerns of the employee on the extrinsic side, also think about adding some, say, variety to their work or connecting the dots of how their job impacts the overall mission of the organization to drive significance. Think intrinsically as well.

Ken White

Based on what we're hearing so many managers and leaders it is about money because people are job hopping. But this can make a huge difference.

David Long

Huge difference. That's right.

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

Huge difference.

Ken White

And retention seems to be where it's at right now.

David Long

Absolutely right. And these are just minor tweaks that a leader can do for their employees, and what it is that they do that can really help with retention.

Ken White

And you're calling it being self-fulfilled in your work? We can get our team to that position.

David Long

If I can get a cashier at Home Depot, right? Think about it. A minimum wage job somebody who truly is the lowest paid employee with the least amount of required skills. If I can get a cashier to find significant in what they do, imagine in your organization how easy that's going to be to help employees see what they do and how significant it is to someone other than themselves?

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor David Long. And that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business, home of the MBA program, offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. If you're looking for a truly transformational experience, check out the William & Mary MBA Program at wm.edu. Thanks to our guest, Professor David Long, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

Female Speaker

We'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks for listening to Leadership & Business.

 

More Podcast Episodes

 Kelly Crace & David Long
Kelly Crace & David LongEpisode 167: December 21 , 2021
Flourishing Through Life's Transitions

Kelly Crace & David Long

Episode 167: December 21 , 2021

Flourishing Through Life's Transitions

For those who’ve spent years in the military, or intelligence community, transitioning to the private sector (or any sector) can be daunting. That’s why William & Mary, and its Center for Military Transition has created a unique two-week on campus program to be held in June called Flourishing Through Life’s Transitions. Designed to be a transformational experience, the program will train veterans and members of the intelligence community to transition to civilian positions while flourishing in their lives and careers. It’s a transition program like no other. Two of the program’s faculty leaders join us today to talk about this unique program. Dr. Kelly Crace is the Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence at William & Mary. David Long is a veteran and professor at the William & Mary School of Business where he teaches organizational behavior. They join us to discuss flourishing through life’s transitions, what makes the program special, and how it will prepare each participant to be successful during the transition and beyond.

Apply for the Flourishing Through Life Transitions certificate

More information about the program

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What is the concept of flourishing
  • What does flourishing look like for each individual
  • Why having a shared social reality like a military background helps individuals flourish in groups
  • What are some objectives of the Flourishing Through Life's Transitions workshop
  • The importance of finding purpose in one's transition
  • What makes this transition program different
  • What the difference is between a career path and a career portfolio
  • What question should military personnel ask themselves before signing up for the program
Transcript

Kelly Crace & David Long: Flourishing Through Life's Transitions TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Well, for those who've spent years in the military or intelligence community, transitioning to the private sector or any sector can be daunting. That's why William & Mary and its Center for Military Transition has created a unique two-week on-campus program to be held in June called Flourishing Through Life's Transitions. Designed to be a transformational experience, the program will train veterans and members of the intelligence community to transition to civilian positions while flourishing in their lives and careers. It's a transition program like no other. Two of the program's faculty leaders join us today to talk about this unique program. Dr. Kelly Crace is the Director of the Center for Mindfulness and Authentic Excellence at William & Mary. David Long is a veteran and professor at the William & Mary School of Business, where he teaches organizational behavior. They join us to discuss flourishing through life's transitions, what makes the program special, and how it will prepare each participant to be successful during the transition and beyond. Here's our conversation with Kelly Crace and David Long.

Ken White

Kelly, David, welcome. Thanks for joining us. You both have been on the podcast before. Nice to see you again. Thanks for being here.

Kelly Crace

Thanks, Ken. It's good being here.

David Long

Thanks for having us.

Ken White

Kelly, we'll start with you. Flourishing for those who subscribe to the podcast, they've heard of it. You've been here. But for those who haven't, how do you explain and describe the concept of flourishing?

Kelly Crace

There are so many wide and varied definitions of flourishing these days. But in our work around our research and both our application of thinking about flourishing, it's this deeper level of effectiveness. It's kind of taking well-being and wellness to this higher level of more effective productivity, fulfillment, and resilience. It's not looking for a perfect level of it, but it's looking for a more consistent, deeper level of productivity, fulfillment, and resilience.

Ken White

Now, in the program that you'll be offering this summer, you're spending quite a bit of time on flourishing as an individual. What are you looking for in the program?

Kelly Crace

So flourishing looks different for every individual, and especially when you bring those three variables in. In terms of what does productivity look like for me, I think the word that's most characteristic is what is optimal productivity, what is optimal fulfillment, and resilience that looks different for everyone. As you kind of explore this further, it has to be very individualized. We've learned a lot through our research as to things that can predict flourishing. But when you look at the pathway and the journey of that and what that process looks like for every individual, it's a little different, and so we want to honor that individuality. We want to bring people in as a group. We find that doing it in a collective with other people. It enhances that sense of understanding what flourishing looks like for me, but it needs to be personalized and individualized enough to where they feel like this connects to me. This is not a general self-help book that is generally applicable. It's designed to be something that's personalized and very specific to them.

Ken White

And so, while it's individualized, there is the group. What does it mean to you to have the group with similar backgrounds transitioning from the military or from the intelligence community? How does that affect it?

Kelly Crace

Having that shared social reality is a form of support that really is helpful when we're doing hard personal work. This is the work of flourishing. Flourishing is not a feeling. It's a mindset, and it's a mindset that requires work. And we all know that we do hard work better when we feel supported around us, and support can be both challenge and affirmation. It can be. When do I know this person needs encouraging? And when do I know this person needs to be challenged and coming from a shared social reality, like the military or like the intelligence services. That is one thing that has done very well in terms of providing that right blend of challenge and support to really grow through something that, at first glance, looks impossible to me. I don't see how I'll ever be able to do that. And yet, they find themselves looking back and seeing just how they did that. I'm when they look back. Other people are around them. It's not just them by themselves. And that's why we try to do it as a group.

Ken White

So that first week, what are some of the objectives that you have in store for the participants?

Kelly Crace

So we've learned in our research that a lot of this mindset of flourishing actually involves paradigm-shifting. It's taking away from our just natural way of thinking. We're kind of challenging some of the platitudes that exist in our society and in our world as to what leads to success or what leads to flourishing and really looking and taking some things that we have learned truly predict flourishing and applying them to their lives. And what that basically involves is paradigm-shifting, thinking differently about values, thinking differently about stress, thinking differently about fear. It's about building from the strength that is already their foundation of where they're coming from. But the important issue in all of this, Ken, is transitions are stressful. Even the best of transitions. The best of change is still seen as stressful because our body processes change as I'm leaving something. So you experience that as loss and what I'm going to is uncertain. And I experience that as fear. And so, how do we manage this stressful experience in an optimal way? So for us, we're going to take different paradigm shifts that move them toward the work of flourishing, and they'll end up with an action plan. We call it dynamic blueprinting, where each of them will end up with a blueprint print that has their mental training program that's designed for them individually. And that's for individual as a person. And then they move into the second week with you and David, in terms of how does this compare to my professional identity? How do I apply this to my professional identity working in the business world?

Ken White

David, you transitioned. Did those terms sound familiar, right? Uncertainty and fear.

David Long

Absolutely, yeah. And that's kind of the benchmark of that major transition is the uncertainty and the fear. I was in Florida this past weekend, and I was at a big military ceremony with some friends that I've known for 25 years. I was talking to one of the senior wing commanders who's going to be retiring at the end of next year, and I was talking to him about that transition. And I said to him, I said, what are you looking for? What are your goals here as you go through this transition? And he said I don't know what it looks like. I just know I want to find something with purpose. I said, okay, I completely understand that. And that, to me, has a lot to do with what this program is about. It's helping people find purpose, whether it be in their personal life and flourishing in their personal life, in that transition, or in their professional life in that transition, and how to flourish in that aspect, too. And that's really what the second week does. It builds on what Kelly has introduced in the first week and that personal aspect of it into the professional aspect of it.

Ken White

So to break down that week, too, the professional, I'm a participant. I don't even know where I'm going or what I want to do. So what will I learn in that second week?

David Long

Right. And Kelly hit the nail on the head with the paradigm shift and thinking about things differently. So if you think about a professional life, you can really break it down into five different components. There's the job you do. And that's the first pillar, the second part of the relationships you have in the workplace and in your professional life. The third is in your leadership and your ability to be a good communicator and to lead other people. The fourth is teams. In your professional life, you work in teams. You're put on teams, often voluntarily or involuntarily, and you need to find a way to work effectively in those teams. And the fifth pillar really is more of an umbrella term, which is career. And so, If you think about the sub-components of your job and your teams and your relationships, they all kind of work into a greater career. And so, for example, in the first of those pillars, the job aspect, we call it the craft. What our research shows is that people who flourish in their craft find meaning. And this is what my friend was talking about when he said purpose. What is it about a job that's meaningful and the things the antecedents of meaningful crafts are things like having variety in what you do, not feeling stuck and doing the same routine every day, having differences and variety across different things, different experiences throughout your job? Second part is something called identity. Identity is where you have identity with your work so that you can look at your work and say, there, I did that. That's something that I can see from beginning to end a finished product. A lot of times, we find ourselves in jobs where we're contributing a piece of it. But we never see the total and so finding identity. A third thing is significance if you think that your work contributes significantly, not necessarily to yourself but to others. If you're making an impact on someone else, that's another way that we find meaningfulness and flourishing in the craft. And so in this second week, that first day, we focus on the craft, and it culminates with the transitioning students, the students going through the transition, getting to spend time locally at one of our alumni's workplaces. And it happens to be a brewery. So they'll get to share a pint and hear about how somebody who graduated from here found flourishing through opening a brewery and really applying the components of a flourishing craft. Things like meaningfulness and making beer. We'll hear a lot about hops and barley, but we'll also talk about customers and impact and coming full circle on a craft that's flourishing. That's kind of like the first day they'll get to learn about it and then see it applied in the workplace.

Ken White

Those elements, the identity, the significance, that meaningful component, in your opinion, most people in the military feel that? Don't? Does it depend on the position?

David Long

Yeah, I think let's go back to something we learned from week one is about the paradigm shift. Some people may know it, but they may not understand exactly what it means. And so thinking about it differently, thinking about it, as it's saying like, hey, I'm looking for a job, and I need a job to provide certain things for me. It can be, hey, I'm looking for a job, and I want this job to have purpose and meaningfulness, and I get it through these things. This is the path to get that. It's a lot different than just the means to an end. It's more of a journey along that path to provide those things that we find are so important to people.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Kelly Crace and David Long in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. The great resignation continues as record numbers of people are leaving their jobs. Gallup reports almost half of all professionals in the U.S. Have their eyes on other opportunities. Well, if your company or organization is interested in retaining your best people, consider enrolling them in one of our MBA programs for working professionals. William & Mary's part-time MBA, online MBA, and executive MBA programs are all designed for the professional who works full time. So both the employee and the organization benefit from the experience employees want to feel supported by their employers. Show them your organization cares by investing in their growth. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary by visiting wm.edu. Now back to our conversation with Kelly, Crace, and David Long.

Ken White

Now you've gone through some transition programs, and Kelly, you've taught in somewhat makes this different? The one that's being put together for William & Mary?

David Long

Yeah, I'll take it first. So I have gone through the transitioning programs before, and they're effective at the blocking and tackling much more of the basic skills that you may need. Here's how to write a resume. Here's how to land a job, and this can be extremely invaluable. This is a much deeper level of understanding. This is much more of a requires some introspection. It also requires you to have a little bit of a growth mindset because you're going to have to get uncomfortable. You're going to have to learn some things that weren't necessarily intuitive to you and to then think about how you're going to apply those things so that you can thrive. And so, it does force you to learn some new things and step outside of your comfort zone a little bit. But that can be extremely rewarding to people. And it's just different than the typical transitioning programs that we see offered.

Ken White

Yeah. Kelly, what do you think regarding those you've seen?

Kelly Crace

I would echo what David said, but also, I think for me, one of the things that makes it distinctive is there is an assumption of strength. We're taking a very positive approach from this. There are oftentimes transition workshops, and seminars can be based on an assumption that's more remedial, implying that there's deficits that need to be corrected. We're taking the opposite approach that the career they have had so far that is moving them into this next chapter in their life has built strength, has built a foundation that we can then use to take them to a deeper level. So it is less kind of remedial, less surface level, and more advanced. We're not talking about resilience. We're talking about advanced resilience. We're not talking about various platitudes that people here to make us feel good. This is about moving people from emotions-centered habit-focused kind of approach to a value-centered healthy-focused approach, and that takes work because our own neurology and the culture around us can move us in directions that actually lead us astray. Well, we're taking the evidence-informed approach of, well, what have we learned about consistent flourishers, the ones that do it at a deeper level and more consistent level. What have they taught us? And what can we predict from that? And then how do we apply those strategies in a more personalized way? And frankly, we've just learned that there are no natural-born flourishers people that flourish work at it. So what is that work, and we get in for two weeks of hard work. The good thing that we know about this group of individuals coming in, they're no stranger to hard work. So we're going to take that platform and that foundation and build on it.

Ken White

All of us agree that the transferable skills these folks have because we see it. We see it in the business school. We see it at the University. So to me, I find it so fascinating that some people don't see that as a positive. It's so evident to us when we see our military students walk in the door. It's like, wow, look what you've done and look what you can do. But it is David, isn't it speaking another language practically? It's like you have to be bilingual.

David Long

Yeah, it is. It is a different language. And sometimes there's those language barriers that don't allow the proper communication to flow as they go through that transition because they really have known one way to speak, and the language is often different in the different context. One of the things that we focus on is building strength across mind and body can be very important in your personal life and in your professional life. The two things that we do, especially in the second week, is focus on relationships and building deeper connections. And how if you have deeper connections in the workplace, not only is it better for your professional life, it's better for your own health, your own health, and wellness. Right. We know that having social connections, having closeness with others can be good for destressing. It can be good for having energy. It can be good for your professional life. It can really help you get along and get ahead in the workplace. And so there's a mutual beneficial aspect of this when you combine the personal and the professional side through flourishing. The other thing is, you mentioned all the different experiences that people who are transitioning bring into—we kind of cap this with the career aspect, that pillar of professional life. But we talk about career, not as a career path but a career portfolio. And when you start to understand the experiences that people in the military and in the intelligence community and government have and how that's part of their portfolio and a portfolio of experiences is extremely invaluable to prospective employers. They want people who think differently who look at problems differently, not just with a unidimensional mindset, but come from it different perspectives. And so when you think about all your experiences, not as a path I've been on, but a portfolio like a diversified investment portfolio. That's the power of that. And you bring that to the table, and it can be really beneficial to the individual personally and professionally.

Ken White

So if someone is listening and they're getting ready to transition, and they're from the military or the intelligence community. Kelly, what question or questions should they ask themselves before deciding I want to be a part of this program?

Kelly Crace

I think any question the most common question before engagement in anything is what purpose does this have for me? Being able to lead with purpose moves you away from what we naturally move to as human beings are most naturally motivated by fear and comfort. So we just drift into this thing of dealing with all the have toos of the day and then seek comfort. But the deepest form of motivation and resilience, and engagement starts with the question of the why? What is the purpose of this to me? So I think people that see this as a good thing to check off a good credential to add to their portfolio probably would not be the best people that will find meaning out of it. It's them asking, what's the purpose of this transition for me? What do I feel I need to be able to move myself to the next level and then look at our curriculum and see if that fits that purpose. If it does, then we're the right fit. If it doesn't, there's something else out there somewhere else and keep on looking for that.

Ken White

Yeah. David, what do you think? What questions?

David Long

Absolutely, yeah. Just to build on that, I think a good question to ask is, am I willing to step out of my comfort zone a little bit? It depends on the level of the person who is transitioning. I expect that we're going to see a lot of different levels. And what we find is that the more senior you get, the less willing you are to take risks and to make yourself vulnerable. Well, I think a lot of this program is going to be willing to accept some of that risk and to look at things, new ways to build new relationships, to be self-deprecating, to show some humility, and that can be tough for certain people. So if you're willing to take off the heavy armored coat and learn from other people, I think this is going to be a good fit.

Ken White

Yeah.

Kelly Crace

We're going to create a safe environment, but not a comfortable environment. And I think anybody, when they look back at their lives, can see, was there ever a time where they comfortably grew? And so we're going to take them through a growth process that's uncomfortable but safe.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Kelly Crace and David Long, and that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. If you're interested in learning more about the Flourishing Through Life's Transitions program, there's more information on the William & Mary website for both participants and companies, and organizations who would like to get involved, go to wm.edu. And type flourishing in the search box, and you'll find everything you need. The dates of the program are June 6th through the 17th, 2022. Be held here on the William & Mary campus. You can also contact the Center for Military Transition for additional information. Finally, we'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guests, Kelly Crace and David Long, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White from all of us here at the William & Mary School of Business. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

More Podcast Episodes

 Phil Wagner
Phil WagnerEpisode 160: September 7, 2021
Stepping Up Your D&I Efforts

Phil Wagner

Episode 160: September 7, 2021

Stepping Up Your D&I Efforts

In the last decade, the interest in Diversity & Inclusion has grown significantly at companies and organizations. For the most par D&I has been accepted: It's seen as a positive contributor to employee engagement, employee retention, company culture, and a healthy bottom line. While D&I has become mainstream, not every organization has it figured out. For some, Diversity & Inclusion efforts are simply transactional - a series of workshops or lectures delivered by a vendor. Our guest today says it needs to be transformative in order to make a real difference. In other words, D&I vocabulary and knowledge should be shared among all employees and leaders as a supportive and inclusive culture organically grows. Phil Wagner is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Communication at William & Mary's School of Business. He teaches communication and D&I to undergraduate and graduate business students in addition to working professionals. He says, while considerable progress has been made in the D&I space, there are still opportunities for professionals, leaders, and organizations to be more effective.

Building upon other D&I experts' work, particularly Jennifer Brown's How to be an Inclusive Leader, Aiko Bethea's work on transactional vs. transformational D&I leadership, and Brene Brown's Dare to Lead, this discussion focuses on practical takeaways that leaders can employ to demonstrate their commitment to inclusion.

Podcast (audio)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What's the difference between a D&I transactional model vs. a transformative model
  • What is the role of the leader/CEO/boss when it comes to D&I efforts
  • How can authenticity help when considering D&I work
  • How can leaders best prepare themselves when approaching D&I
  • What is the role of a D&I officer
  • Who makes a good D&I officer
  • How does one train to be a D&I officer
  • How do you teach D&I to leaders/employees/students
  • What is Phil's new podcast "Diversity Goes to Work"
Transcript

Phil Wagner: Stepping Up Your D&I Efforts TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. In the last decade, the interest in diversity and inclusion has grown significantly at companies and organizations. For the most part, D&I has been accepted. It's seen as a positive contributor to employee engagement, employee retention, company culture, and a healthy bottom line. While D&I has become mainstream, not every organization has it figured out. For some, diversity and inclusion efforts are simply transactional, a series of workshops or lectures delivered by a vendor. Our guest today says it needs to be transformative in order to make a real difference. In other words, D&I vocabulary and knowledge should be shared among all employees and leaders. As a supportive and inclusive culture organically grows. Phil Wagner is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Communication at William & Mary's School of Business. He teaches communication and D&I to undergraduate and graduate business students in addition to working professionals. He says while considerable progress has been made in the D&I space, there are still opportunities for professionals, leaders, and organizations to be more effective. Here's our conversation with Professor Phil Wagner.

Ken White

Well, Phil, thanks for taking the time to join us. Great to see you. Isn't it nice to be in person?

Phil Wagner

It is nice to be back in person.

Ken White

And you're in the classroom because classes have started. How's it been?

Phil Wagner

Filled to capacity 118 bright MBAs so eager to be there, you can feel the energy. It's great.

Ken White

It is it's so fun. So thanks. It's a busy week. Thank you for joining us. D&I DE&I your area this is something you teach, something you're passionate about. We were talking earlier before we started recording, when I said to you, What's the difference between doing this? Maybe right and wrong? And you said there's a transactional model and a transformative model. What does that mean?

Phil Wagner

Number one, I think we back up and say there's just so many different models. Look at the terminology D&I, DIEO, DIEB. I mean, it's constantly iterative. And you look at how things have developed, particularly over the last 20 or so years. It's been a rapidly changing conversation along that rapid sequence of change. I don't think we've paused to make sense of all of the pieces.

Ken White

Right.

Phil Wagner

We know we have to do diversity, equity, and inclusion work, but I don't think we've stepped back to ask what that really means. And so we've done a lot of that transactional stuff. We have built a culture in which we say D&I matters. So I'm going to put on four different lunch and learns. I'm going to have another training on microaggressions. I'm going to do X, Y, and Z. I've done a lot of programming. I've collected a lot of data, and we say, let's respond to that. And so what you've done is we created this culture where people are shamed into participation. They're guilted into participation. They're pushed into participation because we say this is important. But we never stop to explain why. And so where we need to get to, I truly believe, is to really focus on that why. To move from transaction to a more transformational model, one that really stops and asks, Why are we doing the things that we're here to do? And I think that transformational model doesn't build a culture in response to D&I. It says we first build our diversity. We first focus intentionally on inclusion, on support, on culture. Once we've got those locked and loaded, we've invited everybody to participate. That can then be a transformational experience, one that's harder to push back against and one that's inclusive for everybody to get involved.

Ken White

Where does the leader, the CEO? Where does the head honcho? What's the role of that individual in these efforts?

Phil Wagner

I think that's another misconception we tell ourselves. We think a lot about diversity and inclusion crises. Somebody getting canceled, somebody who makes an inappropriate sexual comment. Cuomo being a great example recently. You've done something, and you sort of tap out. I think we think that in times of diversity and inclusion crises, it's going to be human resources and public relations. HR and PR are they're going to swoop in. They're going to save the day. And I, as a leader, get to sort of just step back and let them do the work. And that's a fundamental misconception. As a leader in the current climate in which we exist, you have to have the vocabulary of inclusive leadership communication. You have to have a knowledge of what the current D&I issues are. You have to have a hand on the pulse of the political and social climate. You are hiring people in that climate. You have people in your organization. We're clocking in nine to five who come in from that climate. So you've got to be well prepared to orchestrate a culture that recognizes it's complicated out there. You got to reflect that complication in here with the nuance of our D&I work.

Ken White

And in the past six to eight to twelve months, we've had several instances where leaders have had to react and say something about what's happening in the real world. That's where that vocabulary, knowledge, and understanding comes into play.

Phil Wagner

Yeah, this is about storytelling. Right.

Ken White

Yeah, it is.

Phil Wagner

As a leader, you need to be able to tell the right story and accurate story and authentic story that exists in response to the public because that public is comprised of storytellers who can get out ahead of you if you're not telling the right story. And so they're increasingly looking for you to figure out how all these things merge, how they align.

Ken White

You thought you talk about authenticity; how does that? What do you mean by that?

Phil Wagner

I think it's a variable that's often missing in D&I work because it's so cheap for us. It's easy to put on again. Those lunch and learns those microaggression trainings, and so that's devoid of an authentic connection, particularly for the leaders who are putting them on. You need to be the person that the people in your organization look to set the tone for inclusion there. And so that's going to require some work on your end, some uncomfortable, deep digging, some self-reflection, certainly some time. But all of those things are definitely going to work out to make you a better leader in the end. Beyond just increasing your D&I knowledge, they're going to make you more self-reflective. You're going to have a better pulse on the culture within your organization. All of this, though it takes work certainly worth the effort.

Ken White

I would assume some CEOs are afraid. I mean, that's tough to step into some of these issues. Afraid that I might offend this group or not offend that group. What have you? A tough spot to be in at times.

Phil Wagner

Yeah, because things have transpired so rapidly again past 20 years. Look at everything has happened post 911, just politically, socially. The conversation has changed so quickly. It's gone in so many different directions. We have terminology that's on the spot, introduced in 1 second and 20 minutes later, it's expired. It is bewildering to do this work. It requires a significant amount of vulnerability. There's some significantly discomfortable, uncomfortable, I should say, conversations that need to happen. And I don't think we've appropriately prepared people to have those leaders in the making. I don't think MBA programs historically have done a good job of isolating space to really focus in on these issues. And so you've got a generation of leadership that knows that this is important. I truly believe wants to engage in it. They simply don't have the toolkit. They don't have the knowledge to do this well. So, the authenticity piece, how can it be authentic? Because it's changed so much?

Ken White

What are D&I officers doing today? What are they spending their time on?

Phil Wagner

I think D&I officers spend most of their time helping leaders set an agenda. So they work in the nuances of data gathering and collection. But they're also going back to what we talked about with storytelling, helping leaders tell the right story. And I think what D&I leaders are struggling with is that rapidly changing climate, and they're helping those leaders who have not been historically well prepared learn how to deal with the real raw issues in the professional setting. We like to think that the world of work is an apolitical context. Excuse me, but you don't get the luxury of clocking in nine to five and forgetting about discrimination or me too or pay inequity or all of the issues that our employees bring to the world of work. So it's doing a deep dive into sort of that human-oriented perspective that I think D&I officers help leaders get to.

Ken White

A tough job.

Phil Wagner

A tough job, a job that can be fundamentally rewarding and also humiliating, exhausting, because, in many ways, you're always wrong. I mean, you're always outdated because this is a conversation that never has no endpoint. It's constantly growing. It is iterative. And there are so many different pockets or factions of people that have ideas about diversity and inclusion. Who's right, who's wrong? We're always looking for that binary, black or white, right or wrong. This is a space where that doesn't really exist, aside from some significant extremes. And so this is about equipping people to toil in that nuance to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That's a core component of our curriculum here to take initiative to say; this is all so complicated. What do I do? And to rest in that but to be able to lead through that with clarity and transparency, and authenticity.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Phil Wagner in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Our post COVID world will require new skills and new approaches, and those skills and approaches are taught in the William & Mary MBA program. We offer four different MBA formats, including the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive, all taught by our top-ranked MBA faculty. The William & Mary MBA will prepare you to succeed and lead in our new world. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary. Now back to our conversation with Phil Wagner.

Ken White

Who makes a good D&I officer today? I mean, some jobs, that job description is so easy, right? The qualifications so simple. Where do we begin with D&I officers?

Phil Wagner

I think a D&I officer has to know that they want to be a D&I officer. Has a strong understanding of the realities of that position, how it has come to be as a sort of now permanent fixture in most successful organizations, and a person that understands that that job description is going to update constantly. As the world around it updates. But I also think that this is work beyond just becoming a D&I officer. I think in many ways, we now have an organizational sphere that expects that every new hire, every emerging leader, every C-suite executive has that knowledge and that vocabulary of diversity and inclusion. So while this focus is good for D&I officers, I really think it's an important focus for everybody because, again, the public is looking to the organizational sphere, and they're expecting people who are succeeding and thriving and becoming leaders in that sphere to have this knowledge, to respond to the climate, to speak the language of diversity and inclusion.

Ken White

So how does that C-suite member or someone knocking on the C-suite door? How do they get the information? What's a good way to train and be well versed so that you're as comfortable as possible in this space.

Phil Wagner

Yeah, this is such a cheesy answer, and it's simplistic, and it's not to be a land-all. But take some time to read. I mean, you have now so many new spaces of knowledge that are being published, new authors of color, new books, new blogs, new initiatives solely dedicated to these conversations. Uncomfortable conversations, conversations on inclusion conversation that take really age-old ideas, but update them for where we are in the here and now. So as a leader, quiet yourself. Spend some time in your own self-development process, dedicating some of that content to this and also another cheesy answer. But as a communicator, I think it has great value. Take some time to talk to your people. Get a pulse for what the culture and the climate is at your organization. That's not just a culture and a climate conversation. That's a diversity and inclusion conversation. Your people, I think, will often reveal to you where you can focus your energy to make that world of work a more inclusive place for all.

Ken White

We hear our Dean Larry Pulley say it because he does that. He'll listen. He says it over and over again. I learned something new. I had no idea. I never thought about it that way. So those conversations, they get anything, are huge.

Phil Wagner

And you have to have that growth mindset because it's really easy to retreat into a shell and be offended or feel like your ideas are outdated; therefore, you are outdated. I mean, you have to be ready for growth, and you have to be ready to encounter ideas that you don't agree with and be willing to not quite know what to do with those. That disagreement there's this great tweet Adam Grant, who's at Wharton, talked about this actually on Twitter this week, and he says, intellectual friction it's not a relationship bug. So just because you find yourself in an uncomfortable conversation in the context of your organization, with people who are bringing new ideas that you have not fully yet grappled with. See that as something of great value, that vulnerable space. You can do a lot with that. And that friction can be actualized for some great good. So again, it goes back to get comfortable with becoming uncomfortable regularly.

Ken White

So you do this for the MBA students. You teach this? What are some of the ideas and some of the lessons that you're trying to get across to these leaders in training?

Phil Wagner

We do this for our full-time MBAs, part-time MBAs, our executive MBAs, our Masters of Accounting students. We teach it to our undergrads. We really strive to have this be an iterative conversation. We don't want to just jump into D&I for D&I sake. Because we're doing what we say we shouldn't be doing, which is just that transaction this matters here do this, and you're good. Well, that's not really how it works. So we start with a very personal place. We work with our students to tell and sell their story well. We help them find their why and speak from it. And that's a really prime space to explore that inclusion element because once a student knows who they are and they've gotten into contact with that framework of empathy, that's required to hear and receive other people's stories and do something with it. Well, then they're primed to move into the D&I space. So we do give them what we think is a modern and helpful language or vocabulary of diversity and inclusion. What do those terms mean? How did they come to be? How has this come to be such a thing in the management enterprise? We give them a history, we give them a vocabulary, and then we give them space to test that out. So we talk about what it means to be an inclusive leader. And then, we talk about what it means to be an inclusive organization. The purpose of an organization is no longer to just generate profit. That original conception always had a clause, which was that holds true as long as the rules of the game are acknowledged. Well, the rules have changed. The rules now require that we have a vocabulary and a knowledge of this work. So we teach our students to go out and engage in that. So we talk about it through public relations. We talk about it through crisis management. In all of those different facets, students are getting an inclusion focus that can only help them in their career. And I think that's really the key point. Focusing on this can certainly help you, and it can't really hurt you. It's only going to make you better in the end, both as a leader and as an organization. So we spend time preparing our students to do just that.

Ken White

Because we know anybody who they're going to employ wants it and expects it moving forward.

Phil Wagner

Expects it, and we'll ask them what they can contribute to that enterprise, and we want them to be ready to say here are some action-oriented items that I'm bringing to your organization. I have a full understanding of what this is, what it involves. Here's how I'm going to roll up my sleeves and help.

Ken White

So you're going to share your expertise, your interest in diversity with a new podcast. It will be launched literally days from now is we're recording on the 3 September. Diversity Goes to Work. Tell us about it, that's exciting.

Phil Wagner

Yeah, really exciting. This came to be after multiple conversations, and our goal is really simple. We want to have casual conversations with friends most of the time. That's really two strangers on the podcast and the process of becoming friends. And that plays out in a really nice way. We've got Alum, we've got experts from all across the nation and the world, and Diversity Goes to Work really tries to push past the noise of diversity and inclusion efforts. And we're not talking diversity strategy necessarily. We're not talking a list of things to do or don't do. What we're doing is really simple. We're cutting right to the heart of the issue, and we're taking a human-oriented lens and using it to examine this work. So really, it's a storytelling podcast. We're bringing people who have lived this experience either as a diversity consultant, somebody with a diverse background, somebody who's experienced this in the real world and is coming back to offer their insights on our podcast. And so we're going to kick things off with an alum of the College, Amandeep Sidhu is coming to speak on what it's like now 20 years post 911. Amandeep is of the Sikh faith, a turban-wearing professional who has had a very successful legal career. And he's got a great story on that first episode of on 911 working in DC, just minutes after the plane hit the towers, experiencing that same sense of collective grief that we all felt as Americans. Yet just minutes after that, being run off the road by a truck because he had Brown skin. And so that duality of identity. We really center that here throughout the podcast will be bringing in consultants, professionals, everyday laypeople, blue-collar, white-collar, C-suite executives, everyday people really with the focus of centering that human element that I think is so often devoid of our D&I work.

Ken White

So we'll hear a lot of stories from a lot of interesting people.

Phil Wagner

Lots of stories from a lot of interesting people with the focus on strategy in the end. Now that we know this, now that we're aware that there's so many different perspectives that we have to grapple with as leaders, what do we take that? And how do we move it forward to actually implement successful D&I work that has real value, in the end, isn't just cheap frivolity.

Ken White

Yeah. What are you hoping listeners get from this?

Phil Wagner

Engagement number one in a low-stakes way, if you pull up a diversity podcast, you never know what you're going to get with us. It's pretty clear. You're going to get to hear real stories, real ideas that come from people who have experienced the discrimination that we talked about, the disenfranchisement that we talk about. But you'll hear it in an accessible way, and it's really an opportunity for learning, me included. So I'm not there as an expert. I'm there to learn from these stories as well. And that's what I love. I have emerged from every single one of those podcast recordings with my mind blown of new perspectives that I have not yet been able to fully understand because I've never walked in those shoes. So, that's really our goal.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Phil Wagner, and that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Companies, organizations, and businesses are seeking professionals who think strategically, communicate effectively and manage ambiguity. You'll learn those skills and more in the William & Mary MBA program offered in four formats, the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. Check out the William & Mary MBA program to learn more. Finally, we'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest, Phil Wagner, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

More Podcast Episodes

 Ram Ganeshan
Ram GaneshanEpisode 157: July 16, 2021
Supply Chain & The Pandemic

Ram Ganeshan

Episode 157: July 16, 2021

Supply Chain & The Pandemic

If you’ve tried to purchase new furniture recently, or chlorine for a pool, or even certain makes and models of new cars, you may have been told you’ll have to wait several weeks - possibly several months before the product is back in stock. Items from lumber to clothing to electronics have been difficult to find in recent months. The reason is often tied to the supply chain, which has been adversely affected throughout the pandemic, forcing consumers to wait until their new purchases arrive. Ram Ganeshan is a Professor of Operations and Information Systems Management at William & Mary School of Business. He teaches supply chain management and digital strategies courses. His research and consulting interests include supply chain management and logistics strategy. Professor Ganeshan says the shortages we see now are the results of decades-long developments in supply chains, and the pandemic simply tipped it over the edge. He joins us today to discuss supply chains, their complexity, and why the shortages are happening.

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Ram Ganeshan: Supply Chain & The Pandemic TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What is a supply chain
  • How does a supply chain compare to a reverse supply chain
  • How have labor costs contributed to global supply chains
  • Why are there shortages of semiconductors and computer chips
  • How do geopolitical forces affect supply chains
  • When might the semiconductor shortage end
  • How are the U.S. ports affected by increased demand
  • Was the pandemic supply chain issue predicted
  • How should organizations prepare for supply chain shortages
  • How is the U.S. - China relationship affecting supply chains
Transcript

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Well, if you've tried to purchase new furniture recently or chlorine for a pool or even certain makes and models of new cars. You may have been told you'll have to wait several weeks, possibly several months, before the product is back in stock. Items from lumber to clothing to electronics have been difficult to find in recent months. Well, the reason is often tied to the supply chain, which has been adversely affected throughout the pandemic—forcing consumers to wait until their new purchases arrive. Ram Ganeshan is a professor of operations and information systems management at William & Mary's School of Business. He teaches supply chain management and digital strategies courses. His research and consulting interests include supply chain management and logistics strategy. Professor Ganesan says the shortages we see now are the results of decades-long developments in supply chains, and the pandemic simply tipped it over the edge. He joins us today to discuss supply chains, their complexity, and why the shortages are happening. Here's our conversation with Professor Ram Ganeshan.

Ken White

Well, Ram, thanks for joining us. Great to see you. I appreciate you sharing your time and expertise with us today.

Ram Ganeshan

Same here.

Ken White

So supply chain, it's one of those things. I think people know the term, but they don't. Many people don't understand really what this is. What is supply chain? You've used the term division of labor. Can you explain what supply chain is?

Ram Ganeshan

The easiest way to think about it as supply chain is the series of activities that source the components, and something is made out of it, assembled, produced, manufactured, and then it slowly makes its way to the end customer via our distribution centers and ports and rail and truck and so on and gets to your local store or stuff like that. So it's a series of events that gets makes the product and gets it to you. And then the second part of the supply chain is once the product is used, how it's disassembled and reused and recycled, and so on. So that's the reverse supply chain. So that, in a sense, is what I would consider a supply chain.

Ken White

And in our world today, we need to rely on that because some products are pretty complicated, aren't they?

Ram Ganeshan

Yes, most products are. You know, your iPhone, for example, is it has at last count more than 60 or 70 metals from the periodic table.

Ken White

Wow.

Ram Ganeshan

Those of you have it hanging on your bedroom wall would know that. Not only that but it's designed in, of course, California. And all the components are made in Taiwan and Korea, and Japan. And it's actually assembled in China, and it's shipped to the United States. Where most of the demand is for the iPhone. So supply chains have not only are complex, but they've also become very global.

Ken White

We're seeing some shortages right now in various products. This didn't happen overnight, did it?

Ram Ganeshan

No, it didn't. And part of the reason we are actually seeing it now is of how supply chains have evolved over time. It used to be that 30 years ago, the common reason why large multinational companies outsource, especially this may be obvious in apparel to the Far East, is because of labor costs. So they were able to save on labor and then show a quarterly increase in profits and so on. But the way it's evolved now is supply chains have what I would call become not only global, but they've also become very specialized and very concentrated. The semiconductor was a case in point, actually. If you look at the semiconductor supply chain if you look at the demand for chips. China and the U.S. account for half the world's demand of semiconductors. Twenty-five percent each. But if you think about how the semiconductors are actually made, the U.S. spends the value added by the United States is largely in the design and the core I.P. Folks like Intel design the chips. And what has happened over the last twenty-five years is we don't have any fabrication at least of any sufficient capacity in the United States. And most of the fabrication of those chips happened really in three countries, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. So they do most of what they call wafer fabrications. And you've seen pictures of people in white suits going in cleaned rooms. And so that's where that happens. It's a very expensive thing to do. And the industrial policy in those countries and the particular companies have decided that this is the way they want to go. So most of wafer production happens in the Far East, and then China has taken the more of the assembly and the testing of the semiconductor. So the United States still, if you look at the in totality, the United States still, if you look at value-added, has 40 percent of the value chain of some of the largest in the world still. But they only make certain things. They only do certain parts of it. And we can call it division of labor, if you may. So Taiwan is the only country in the world that does the less than 10 nanometer, which is the faster, more advanced logic chips. So that's how they've sort of become not just global but concentrated and highly specialized, which is leading into some of these shortages.

Ken White

Yes. So what happened then, for example, the semiconductor.

Ram Ganeshan

So the first signs of the pandemic was in February. That's when things in China and Taiwan, and Japan started shutting down.

Ken White

Yes.

Ram Ganeshan

So we lost some capacity there. And then in March and April, when we shut down. The demand for let's talk about the auto industry because that's where we're seeing it.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

The demand for new cars and rental cars just plummeted.

Ken White

Sure did.

Ram Ganeshan

And if you look at the auto industry, they have long been operating on what is called the Just-In-Time system. So they hold just enough inventory, and they become extremely good at cutting costs and cutting costs and keeping it running a tight ship. So as soon as they saw the demand go down, they just cut their orders for parts and supplies of semiconductors from the Far East because that's also spread globally. Interestingly enough, as we were shutting down demand for certain products and we have all heard of the pelotons, right.

Ken White

Sure.

Ram Ganeshan

That started increasing your webcams and your computers and iPads and so on and so forth. So what was happening is the semiconductor capacity started being reallocated from auto to all these different products where there was an increase in demand. So the change in consumer patterns caught the auto industry in a bind. But then there are other issues. They were geopolitical issues, obviously. President Trump, for example, banned Huawei and GTE. And what they started doing was they started holding the 5G chips because they saw this coming.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

And they started holding the chips at a time. And then certain semiconductor companies in China got blacklisted, some of the big fabs, for example, and they lost that we lost that capacity there. The issue then we had some small hiccups like fires and fabrication plants and Taiwan and Japan that sort of jammed up the system. That clearly put a lot of pressure on semiconductors. So and because it's a very capital investment intensive industry, you need big machines and clean rooms and so on. A small fire can mess things up quite a bit.

Ken White

Yeah.

Ram Ganeshan

So it's not a matter of, you know, cleaning it normally.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

It's a special thing. So, yeah. So it's not easy to change capacity.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

It takes about nine to 12 months. So what we are anticipating is maybe the semi shortage might ease up by the end of this year.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Ram Ganeshan in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Our post COVID world will require new skills and new approaches. Well, those skills and approaches are taught in the William & Mary MBA program. We offer four different MBA formats, including the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive, all taught by our top-ranked MBA faculty. The William & Mary MBA will prepare you to lead and succeed in our new world. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary. Now back to our conversation with Professor Ram Ganeshan.

Ram Ganeshan

I don't know if you want to talk about the logistics of getting those things to the U.S.

Ken White

Yeah, I think that's we see it in the press, right?

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah.

Ken White

We see the cargo ships sitting, you know, outside of Norfolk or Los Angeles.

Ram Ganeshan

Yeah, so I talked about the increased demand. Part of the issue of the increased demand is you had all these containers full of stuff. I mean, this could be board games or whatever else.

Ken White

Sure.

Ram Ganeshan

It's filled with that people were ordering. And part of the reason is the demand shifted from services to products. So we no longer going out to eat and we not going to cinemas or concerts or getting massages or whatever. So disposable income was being spent on these different things.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

And they were all a significant portion of it was coming from outside the United States and the supply. So you saw even a small increase, you know, 10 to 30 percent increase in some products. The suppliers were working overtime, and these containers full of stuff were coming towards usually they come towards the California ports because those are the closest to China. And clearly, that created a huge logjam. And I read a statistic somewhere that an average of 40 ships were waiting, an average of anchored for seven days to actually get into the port.

Ken White

Wow.

Ram Ganeshan

So think about this big not only that, the folks who are working in the ports were at lowered capacity simply because COVID restrictions. Ports couldn't go in 100 percent capacity. So those two contributed to the port congestion. But an interesting another statistic was the Port of L.A., for the first time last year, handled more than what they call one million TEUs. TEUs the easy way to think about it is a 20-foot container would be one TEU. So typical 40 foot would be set to. This is simplifying things, but more than a million the first time ever.

Ken White

Wow.

Ram Ganeshan

So they're working, and it's not like they're doing significant business. There's a problem that's associated with that, which is the trade imbalance. I mean, you heard you heard of politicians talk about it all the time. So we're getting the containers full of stuff, but then we're not shipping them full of stuff. Now, second issue that has come up in port operations is container availability. So we have these full containers that take several days to empty out. And the reason it's taking several days to empty out simply because the warehouses are full. So they don't have room to put these containers anywhere.

Ken White

Wow.

Ram Ganeshan

So it's sort of backed up that way. And now, when you have an empty container now, it has to go back to get it fulled. So so you have to load it up onto a ship which takes significant amount of time.

Ken White

Sure.

Ram Ganeshan

Ship it to wherever it needs to go. So this has created a sort of a global maritime problem of port congestion. Of course, we could talk about the ship getting stuck on the Suez Canal.

Ken White

Right.

Ram Ganeshan

Wow.

Ken White

Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. It makes sense that when you think about it, when organizations, when it comes to supply chain companies, Fortune 500 companies, manufacturers, they'll practice crisis communication. Right. They'll practice for something that could happen in a public relations manner that could affect them. Do they do that with supply chain? I guess my question is, did no one see this coming, basically?

Ram Ganeshan

They saw it coming. I think there are multiple reasons why we find ourselves here. You know, Don Rumsfeld, who was our defense secretary, once said, you know, he did a four by two by two grid. The known knowns and the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns. The pandemic was definitely unknown, known. And so we just didn't know when it was going to hit. But we know it was going to hit. I mean, firms do take a lot of spend a lot of time and energy managing risk in the supply chain and disruptions in the supply chain. But most of it involve, for example, you hold a little bit more inventory than before to buffer against it, or you find some capacity somewhere, or you diversify your supply base. So if some something goes down, you can. So there are several examples that do exist. But the pandemic was unique because, for several products, the demand went down to zero. So did the supply. If you take recreational vehicles, for example, the demand was shooting through the roof, and you didn't have enough supply to make it. So it was on both sides. I mean, so I think many planners need to grapple with should we plan for a state of being in a pandemic all the time, which can be a very expensive supply chain. So you have to take your you have to balance your risks.

Ken White

Yeah.

Ram Ganeshan

So you go with the smaller risks, you cover them, the larger risks, you have a larger, bigger plan so.

Ken White

Long-term, how is important? How is the relationship between the U.S. and China affecting supply chain long term?

Ram Ganeshan

Well, we about when China joined the WTO 20 odd years ago, we really joined hands with them saying we're going to work with you. I mean, if you look at the Fortune 500 companies, it'd be hard to find a company that does not do business in China or actually get its revenues from China. So it goes both ways. So we buy stuff and sell stuff to them, too. So the real solution is, do you know what I would call broker a détente between China and the U.S.? I think we need to figure out a way to work together. I think that's the real solution. Trying to posture sort of adversarial posturing is not going to help.

Ken White

Were there winners or losers? I assume a lot of losers throughout the pandemic in terms of products and sales. Were there any winners in all of this?

Ram Ganeshan

I think it's a sort of a scale. Right. How much did you win and lose? And unfortunately, I think the biggest losers let me start there are small businesses that didn't have the scale. You know, I am, for example, big coffee drinker. And I also love craft beer. And unfortunately, because demand simply disappeared and they didn't have the sort of the skill to do digital delivery and have like a touchless thing. Many of the small businesses, unfortunately, didn't fare really well. The Cares Act did help, but not enough. I think some of the large multinationals are doing really well. I mean, I mean, just look at some of the quarterly announcements for profits, right. It was a blockbuster quarter last year, and it's going to be a blockbuster quarter this year for some of the big guys in the Fortune 500. So they were winners, I think, in many ways. So, yeah, it's unfortunate. And I think we do need some sort of an industrial policy. The U.S., I think, has been hesitant to have a policy, but I think we do need something to protect this knowledge. And because small businesses are the majority of what we have here.

Ken White

And for the consumer, if you're waiting, you just hang in there. It's coming right. Whatever it is you're waiting on is coming eventually.

Ram Ganeshan

I mean, yeah, if you have to buy a house, you don't have a choice, you pay more. I mean, that is the nature of things. But we've heard about the lumber shortage, but it's coming slowly back to normal. Of course, toilet paper is also somewhat back to normal.

Ken White

Yeah.

Ram Ganeshan

There has been some adjustments, but some of these inflationary pressures are sort of easing, at least from a supply chain perspective. I think the economy is going to do really well, at least the next quarter, from what I can tell. Yeah, I think I think hopefully, as more of the world gets vaccinated and things slowly begin, normalcy begins to appear. I think in the U.S., it's still somewhat feel to normal now, since about, oh, close to 70 percent of us are vaccinated. But you still can't travel around the world. It is still not normal for most of the rest of the world. So I think once that eases, I think we'll see things slowly getting back to where they were. At least, let's hope so.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Ram Ganeshan. And that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Companies, organizations, and businesses are seeking professionals who think strategically, communicate effectively and manage ambiguity. You'll learn those skills and more in the William & Mary MBA program offered in four formats, the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. Check out the William & Mary MBA program to learn more. Finally, we'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest Ram Ganeshan and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

More Podcast Episodes

 Mike Seiler
Mike SeilerEpisode 156: July 1, 2021
The U.S. Housing Market

Mike Seiler

Episode 156: July 1, 2021

The U.S. Housing Market

Of the many sectors and industries affected by the pandemic, one in particular has caught the attention of consumers, buyers, sellers, and investors: The US housing market. Mortgage rates, prices, labor, supply, demand - they’ve all changed over the past few months, making the housing market one of the most interesting to follow. Saying the market is “hot” in some areas is a major understatement. Houses are selling quickly in many regions, often for well above the listing price. In some cases, buyers are doing whatever it takes to secure the property, like foregoing home inspections and making all-cash offers. But while we hear about the hot markets in many parts of the country, that’s not the case in every region and city. Mike Seiler is a Professor of Real Estate and Finance at William & Mary School of Business. He joins us today to talk about the US housing market, how it differs from region to region and where things might end up in the months ahead.

Podcast (audio)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • Why the residential real estate market is hot right now
  • What does a hot market mean for people who aren’t considering selling their homes
  • How has the pandemic affected home prices
  • Are bidding wars good for the real estate market
  • How has new home construction affected the price of existing homes for sale
  • How have supply and labor shortages affected the real estate market
  • How do homes bought as investments affect the overall market
  • How do iBuyers make the market more efficient
  • How can a 3D-printed home be more energy efficient than a standard home
  • What will the US home market look like in 2022
Transcript

Mike Seiler: The U.S. Housing Market TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Of the many sectors and industries affected by the pandemic, one, in particular, has caught the attention of consumers, buyers, sellers, and investors. The U.S. housing market. Mortgage rates, prices, labor supply, demand, they've all changed over the past few months, making the housing market one of the most interesting to follow. Saying the market is hot in some areas is a major understatement. Houses are selling quickly in many regions, often for well above the listing price. In some cases, buyers are doing whatever it takes to secure the property, like forgoing home inspections and making all-cash offers. But while we hear about the hot markets in many parts of the country, that's not the case in every region and city. Mike Seiler is a professor of real estate and finance at William & Mary's School of Business. He joins us today to talk about the U.S. housing market, how it differs from region to region, and where things might end up in the months ahead. Here's our conversation with Professor Mike Seiler.

Ken White

Well, Mike, thanks very much for joining us. It's nice to see you. Hope you had a good, good Memorial Day weekend.

Mike Seiler

Yeah, we sure did. Enjoying the recovery of the weather. It's really good to see you. I can't wait to see you in person.

Ken White

Yeah, how about it? How about it? You know, I thought of you immediately when I keep hearing about the real estate market now, it seems to be exciting and interesting. And right now, when you look at the residential real estate market in the U.S., what are you seeing? I mean, how do you describe it?

Mike Seiler

Well, as you know, it's super hot, right? I mean, we have the fewest number of homes on record that are out there on the market. So you just can't find anything. And I haven't heard a stat they said that there are fewer homes out there available, that you have agents represent them. So any time you have more agents in a market than you do homes, you know, you have a restrictive supply. So that's just pushing home prices way, way high.

Ken White

Wow. Well, you know, one of the downsides is people think, yes, I'll sell, I'll make money. But you need another place to live. If you buy, that'll be expensive.

Mike Seiler

Yeah. In fact, it might be the other way around. Let's say that you live in a home, and you just want to be there for a super long period of time. Well, in most states, that's just going to cause your taxes to go up. Your property taxes are going up because your home value went up. So if you're in a state like Virginia where they just say, well, every year your taxes are going to be based on market value, then that's not good for you. You actually want home prices to go down for all of the years that you're going to live there and then go right back up again, and then you sell. That's what you want. So, yes, this means higher property taxes for us owners who are more thinking in terms of staying in place.

Ken White

Yeah, great point. When you look at today's market, does it remind you of any other period of time in the last generation or so?

Mike Seiler

Well, the home appreciation aspect of it reminds me of two thousand four. But thankfully, we are not in a two thousand four environment. You know, two thousand four. We had home prices going up and then this fear of missing out to where you think, oh, well, if I don't buy now, I'm never going to be able to afford to buy. And then you go to your lender, and your lender says, oh, sure, we'll do these ninja loans. No job, no income, no assets. Sure, that's fine. We'll lend to you for no reason at all. People also pulled their money out in the form of treating their house like an ATM. And so a lot of problems back then. But while I see home prices going up, I think it's a lot of it is pandemic related. So it's not really as big a risk of a crash as it was in two thousand four. I say that now. Please don't replay this podcast in five years if I'm wrong. But, you know, the warning signs are not there now. That said, don't forget the Kahrizak brought about this mortgage forbearance, but we have a lot more equity in our home right now. So I understand that the market can pull back, and I think it will do that. But I don't see us with a massive void of equity. Back then, we had home prices dropping, and every time they went up, people followed that loan to value ratio by getting a second lien, pulling money out of the home. And we're not really seeing people do that now. And thank goodness, because that just sets you up for failure when that loan balance just trails the price of your home. So when the price of your home comes down, your loan balances high, and now you're underwater. We're not seeing that this time. So I am much less fearful of a crash.

Ken White

What are you seeing from the pandemic? What is it doing to the home prices in the market right now?

Mike Seiler

Well, the home prices, of course, they continue to go up. And let me say this right off the bat. Real estate is local. So if I tell you one thing, if you're in a part of the country and you say, well, I don't know if that feels as true here, someone else in a different city might say, well, he's understating how this works. Have a super hot market, and the prices have gotten so high that I don't think I'll ever be able to buy a house. So real estate is very, very local. I think a lot of what we're experiencing is pandemic-driven. So, for example, you might wonder why are home prices are going up, what's happening here. And some of the reasons are what they were before low-interest rates. But interest rates have been low for a while. So that's not really a sufficient or complete reason why home prices are going up. And we talked about restricted supply. And you might ask, why is supply restricted? Well, think about the pandemic. When it first rolled out, we had an immediate shutdown. You were afraid to physically be in proximity to other people. You certainly don't want those other people walking through your house. So we just don't see that supply of homes on the market. And spring is coming. The pandemic, we hope, knock on wood is ending or at least nearing an end. And so I think you'll see that supply of homes come back onto the market and maybe that equilibrium price will be reached.

Ken White

Bidding wars, we read a lot in certain markets. It's amazing what buyers are offering, not just the listed price, but even more foregoing inspections and so forth. Are these bidding wars good for for for real estate?

Mike Seiler

Well, they're good for sellers of real estate, right? They're not great for buyers. A bidding war that's in the eye of the beholder. So let's go back to your home inspection. The home inspection is typically done just to find anything that's hidden in the house because a buyer may maybe you're a surgeon and you're a genius and so forth, but you don't necessarily know how to crawl under a house, and you don't know what to look for. So you hire a home inspector, maybe you pay five hundred dollars. They will go through all the nooks and crannies of the place. But the point of the home inspection is not necessarily to kill the deal. The point of the home inspection is to find out what might be wrong with the house so that you can negotiate a more accurate price. But if you have a market that is super hot and you've got a line wrapped around the corner, a potential buyer, a seller does not want to hear what the problems are. The seller might think, well, if you don't like the house because you perceive there to be a problem, then just jump out of line. I'll talk to the person right behind you who is either not going to take the time to require a home inspection or might just kind of look past it and think, I'll just do that work myself in my downtime, whatever. So, yeah, home inspections right now, always a good idea. But in this market, if you're looking to buy, be really careful. That might cause you to get bumped out of line.

Ken White

Wow, and that's a tough spot. That's a tough spot for buyers to be in. What about new home construction? What's happening there in terms of how is it affecting the price of existing homes at this point?

Mike Seiler

So, of course, when you're out there to buy a house, you can buy existing or new. And so they are competing goods. One of the factors I hear often is, yeah, but if I want a new home, it's not like there's a new home everywhere. So maybe a historic neighborhood, you only have existing homes. That's all true. But still, these two compete with each other. Now let's talk about the cost of a new home. There's a great meme going around on the Internet, and it's about a lady who's very well dressed. And she says to her husband, she says, take me somewhere expensive. And then, the next part of the meme shows that they are in the lumber aisle at Home Depot at a table waiting for them. But it's not just lumber. A lumber prices have gone crazy high, but it's everything that you put into construction. And I'm not even just talking about the building materials. I mean, remember, it wasn't that long ago that ships were parked out in the Pacific Ocean waiting to come to port because there was just no room they couldn't unload. Their 20-foot containers and 40-foot containers has been resolved for the most part. We still saw crates being shipped back to Asia empty. So imagine you're a taxi driver, right? You take someone to the airport. And logically, what you would do is you would think, well, I'm at the airport, I'm just going to get in the taxi line. But now that things two miles long, you're like, forget it. I'm going back in the city taking someone else to the airport. That's what was happening, taking goods from Asia to North America. They got here. They had to wait. They finally unloaded them. They would send them back empty. Those are signs when you're willing to traverse the largest ocean on that globe with an empty amount of freight that is telling you something is very much wrong. So logistical issues are causing prices of actual materials to go up. You also see in your homes that are being built where the people cannot get appliances for there. So you might have the home completed, but your kitchen doesn't have a refrigerator and a stove and a dishwasher that's not ready to go. It's not turnkey at that point. All kinds of problems there. And then let's talk about labor real quick. You're only as good as the people who put their hands on that home. So if you're trying to hire skilled labor and these folks are during the PPP money, you would have, let's say, five people on a construction team, maybe a construction team. They knew the work had to be cut back originally. And so they thought, well, what I'm going to do is I can either have all five of my workers have fewer hours, which is not really going to work for anybody, or I can pick three of them, the same amount of money they were earning and put two of them on unemployment. And that's what a lot of people were doing. So as we're coming back into the workforce, you're trying to get people to do work on your home, or your builders are trying to get new people to construct the home. And the skilled labor that they need is not always there. And so, again, your construction quality is a lot harder to do it with new people. I just had a company I won't name, but they were doing some foundation work in my house. I was not at all pleased with it. And they said, oh, we're just training a whole bunch of new people. And so even that name recognition, you think all of this going to a reputable company with a great name and sound history of work, that's not even enough these days. So this is really tough as a developer to do what they had been doing in the past because of a labor shortage as well.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Mike Seiler in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Our post-COVID World will require new skills and new approaches. And those skills and approaches are taught in the William & Mary MBA program. We offer four different formats, including the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive, all taught by our top-ranked MBA faculty, the William & Mary MBA, will prepare you to succeed and lead in our new world. Check out the MBA program at William & Mary. Now back to our conversation with Professor Mike Seiler.

Ken White

The Wall Street Journal recently reported about one-fifth of all homes are sold that are sold are purchased by investors. How does that affect the market?

Mike Seiler

Well, what's so interesting about that is we should think about that number being very different. So in some places, you're going to have a lot more investors that are institutional. In other places, not so much. And I'll just give an example. We've got a really interesting paper on ibuyers, and these ibuyers are going in, and they're making a cash offer for your home. Now, initially, you might think, well, how are they going to do that? And the process is they have something called the AVM or automated valuation model. So they use machine learning and deep learning techniques to figure out how much people's homes are worth over a very, very large area. It's like a mass appraisal concept but done on a much greater scale. And then they'll make a cash offer too, let's say, five hundred thousand dollars. And you say, well, my home is worth five-sixty and say, well, Ken, the reason why I'm offering you a little bit below market value is because there's going to be no sales commission paid. Right? You're not going to pay that to me, certainly. I'm going to buy it directly. I'm going to write you a check, and then I'm going to take that home, and I'm going to make some very simple improvements. And then I'm going to turn around and sell maybe within three to four months. And that's where I'll make my money on kind of that low-hanging fruit. Let's do those high ROI projects, if you will. To a person, you might say, well, why would I be willing to accept less money? Okay, fine. There's going to be no or less commission. I get that. But what about the rest of the money? And I ask you. We have a tremendous MBA program. Let's say someone graduates, and they get a job in Seattle, but they own a home in Williamsburg, and they're concerned about that delay. I don't want to afford a mortgage in Williamsburg and then go to Seattle and pay another mortgage or rent in Seattle. I can't afford to do that. So these ibuyers are more of a kind of a grease in the system. They're providing liquidity to a market to allow labor mobility to go to its highest and best use. So in a way, they make the market more efficient. But just in terms of price, what we found in our study is that they will cause the prices of markets to go up by about two point eight percent. And it's because they're demanding these homes. So there's greater demand. Basic Econ 101 push up the price. The interesting thing is they're not just pushing up the price in that local market. It's happened what we call spillover effects in the neighboring communities. So it makes not just that community a little bit more expensive, but it makes affordability go down in the neighborhoods that are right. Sharing those borders.

Ken White

Wow. Interesting. And I got the peek at the abstract of the paper. It looks so interesting when you're discussing ibuyers'. You also talk about another segment, buy to rent. What's that all about?

Mike Seiler

Sure. So the ibuyers are companies, and they get institutional money. They could be hedge fund, private equity. And the same is true for these buy to rent. The difference is that the buy to rent are not just providing a liquidity mechanism. They are typically going after these distressed properties, which means they can buy them for a much lower price in real estate. They say you make money on the buy, so they're following that that and they say, well, we're going to go in, we're going to buy these homes that are distressed. Then we're going to hold them for a longer period of time, so we're not as worried about market fluctuations in a way. We're going to be a property manager. We're going to buy them now at a cheap rate because of the maybe it's in foreclosure. We're going to own them for many, many years and rent them out. And then when the market goes even higher price than we could sell it for a profit. So we'll make money on both the cash flow and ideally, of course, in a cap or game situation.

Ken White

Yeah, no, no question. Yeah. You mentioned something that I thought before we started to record that that really just sounded so interesting. 3D printed homes. Tell us about that.

Mike Seiler

3D printed homes is what I consider to be one of the next hot things. It's a it's a proptech. So you've heard of fintech financial technology proptech just for property. And this proptech idea is something that has been really burgeoning. I know there have been some of these type homes in the past, but now we're talking about the ability to get a blueprint and really have a house built. And I'm talking about the frame of it all. Of course, you have to have someone go in and do all the appliances, the wiring separately. But as far as pouring the actual concrete of the house, imagine a very large 3D printer. So you have these rails on the perimeter of the house and then a large machine over above. It looks like maybe a cake decorator and it just kind of gently pours out concrete into whatever shape you want. The interesting thing about this is you're not just talking about a box design. So that's what you think of as a home. But you start putting two by fours next to each other in the air escapes to the vent. And so people in construction, they know about how inefficient some of these homes are. But with a 3D printing, there's no reason why you have to have right angles all the time. You know, imagine decorating a cake, you don't have to make right angles with your arm. Your arm can move freely in any way that you want it to. So think of very different designs that might be very appealing from an architectural standpoint to your eye. But also think of energy efficiency. Think of these homes as being produced much, much faster. So your wood is not being exposed to the elements for months on end during rainstorms and all that kind of stuff. And think also about the strength of it. So there are people who use ICF these hurricane-proof walls, and they form 11 inches thick and so forth. They're very nice because they can withstand very strong weather conditions. So imagine you're using kind of a commercial real estate grade material in a residential house that is going to withstand the weather. You would hope that that would translate to better efficiency because people want to escape through those thicker walls but also lower insurance rates. So don't just think of when I buy a house, what is my mortgage? It's not just principal and interest. It's also taxes and insurance. Right. And it's also repairing that house. You would imagine that the house would last a lot longer. So when you're thinking about putting money aside for roof repairs and anything with wall repair and so forth, that fund should be a little bit smaller. If you have a, you know, kind of the three wolves kind of thing, you know, the big bad wolf mentality. So a stronger home should be cheaper in the long run as well, not just more energy efficient. So those are some of the exciting things that are happening in the world of construction.

Ken White

So we'll put you on the spot. If you had your crystal ball a year from now, where do you think the market, the residential home market, might look like?

Mike Seiler

I imagine that here's my opinion on COVID. I think we obviously are winning the battle. If I imagine COVID being a really bad person. We have our boot on the throat of COVID, but we need to finish it off. And I don't know that COVID is going to be a thing may be where we have it, and then we don't. It's not like we're never going to see an outbreak again. For that reason. I don't think that we just snap our fingers, and we're done with COVID. So I don't see its effect on real estate is going away immediately. But I also, in my mind, to have this visualization of a snake that had swallowed a big pig, we need to get that pig digested, and then probably smaller animals will be consumed after that by the python. But I can see home prices continuing to go up, but far more gently. I don't think there's going to be a crash. I don't even know that they'll be necessarily a soft landing. But I definitely think that the escalated home prices cannot last forever. I mean, think about Newton's law. What goes up must come down. You don't want home prices going up too fast because then they have to come back down. It's the same type of stability that you look at in any part of the economy, of the economy. You don't want the economy to grow super fast because then it's going to end up contracting. What you want is a nice, predictable, steady stream of growth. Right now, we're in kind of a hyper normal growth in real estate. And I would like to see and think we're going to see it come down somewhat.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Mike Seiler, then that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Companies, organizations, and businesses are seeking professionals who think strategically, communicate effectively and manage ambiguity. You'll learn those skills and more in the William & Mary MBA program offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. Check out the William & Mary MBA program to learn more. Finally, we'd like to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest, Mike Seiler, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

More Podcast Episodes

 Rajiv Kohli
Rajiv KohliEpisode 150: March 15, 2021
Light at the End of the COVID Tunnel

Rajiv Kohli

Episode 150: March 15, 2021

Light at the End of the COVID Tunnel

After a year of social distancing, virtual meetings and homeschooling, people are ready to shed their masks and get back to life as we knew it before we were introduced to COVID-19. As the weather improves and we see family, friends, and colleagues receiving vaccinations, people are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As we record this episode of the podcast, the CDC reports 11% of American adults have received both coronavirus vaccine doses. And two million doses a day are being administered. Rajiv Kohli is the John N. Dalton Professor of Business at William & Mary. He's a leading scholar in health information technology and a healthcare expert. For over 15 years, he's worked and consulted with several top healthcare organizations. Kohli says we're getting there, faster than many experts originally predicted. And as events continue to move in a positive direction, there are many things to think about before COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror.

Podcast (audio)

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iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Amazon Music/Audible | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What does life getting back to normal really mean
  • Is there a timeframe for life getting back to normal
  • Why Thanksgiving is an important benchmark
  • Why people should still be diligent in their mask wearing and social distancing
  • Why one should still wear a mask even after getting vaccinated
  • What are the dangers of students traveling for spring break
  • Are there any differences between the three vaccines
  • How does the coronavirus vaccine work
  • Why do people not feel well after getting their second vaccine shot
Transcript

Rajiv Kohli: Light at the End of the COVID Tunnel TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that can make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Well, after a year of social distancing, virtual meetings, and homeschooling, people are ready to shed their masks and get back to life as we knew it before we were introduced to COVID-19. As the weather improves and we see family, friends, and colleagues receiving vaccinations, people are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As we record this episode of the podcast, the CDC reports 11 percent of American adults have received both coronavirus vaccine doses, and two million doses a day are being administered. Rajiv Kohli is the John and Dalton Professor of Business at William & Mary. He's a leading scholar in health information technology and a health care expert. For over 15 years, he's worked and consulted with several top health care organizations. Kohli says we're getting there faster than many experts originally predicted. And as events continue to move in a positive direction, there are many things to think about before COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror. Here's our conversation with Dr. Rajiv Kohli.

Ken White

Rajiv, it's great to see you. Thanks for sharing your time and expertise with us today on the podcast.

Rajiv Kohli

Thank you, Ken. It's a pleasure to be here.

Ken White

So you know, everywhere I seem to go, almost everyone I seem to talk with has the same sort of question on their mind. And that is, when do you think life will get back to quote-unquote normal? What do you think? Where where are we heading at this point?

Rajiv Kohli

Yeah, so that's a tricky question because normal means different things to different people. So I think we will go through stages of normality or normalcy. We think that a July 4th around that time frame, we'll begin to step outside. If we are fully vaccinated, we can hang out with our family members. And CDC has just issued some guidelines on that, that you can go mingle with people in small groups if you are fully vaccinated without risk of infecting others. And then I think come Thanksgiving, things will start to crawl to normal, and there will be a test period between Thanksgiving and Christmas where we will see how we fared after Thanksgiving, how things went, did the spread increase, and then that will determine that Christmas and New Year's. So to answer your question, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I think we might have a normal as close to normal Christmas as we can expect. Some of that is also dependent on how the virus mutates and also dependent on how we behave as individuals.

Ken White

Oh, and that's a big piece of it, isn't it? We're already seeing people who have been vaccinated who may not want to wear masks or people whose families have been vaccinated and don't want to wear masks. So, so much of this is behavior of human beings, isn't it?

Rajiv Kohli

It is. And it's very understandable that there is some fatigue setting in where we are tired, and we don't know what to do. And, you know, we've spent a good part of this year, almost a year now spent indoors. And so it's natural for us, for us to feel that way. That we don't want to wear masks. But I think we are in the homestretch. It's not surprising that if you look at some other context, a lot of the traffic accidents, more than 50 percent of the traffic accidents happen within five miles of a person's home, and they usually hit parked cars. And the reason is that we get complacent because we are almost there. But what I would say to anybody listening is this is not the time for us to be complacent. We are almost there. We stuck it out for a year. Let's wait another few months and will be home.

Ken White

But we really crave contact with one another, don't we, at this point.

Rajiv Kohli

We do, and that's part of why we are so frustrated with wearing masks and social distancing. We do crave human contact and seeing our loved ones as I know they feel the same about meeting us. So that's why it's very important for us to exercise restraint at this time. And just to wait a little longer. I like the phrase that was being used around last Christmas when they said, let's be restrained this Christmas so we can have the next Christmas and the following one. So, yes, it is very frustrating for people who been so patient for so long.

Ken White

But as you mentioned, maybe Christmas might be a good target. Would that mean at that time we would still wear masks? Like when would the mask possibly disappear?

Rajiv Kohli

Yeah, so that also is is somewhat unclear at this time and dependent on where we are going, how many people are we mingling with, and who are we mingling with. So I would say if you are meeting people who are at higher risk, either because of age or other underlying conditions, we may still want to wear masks. The other aspect of wearing masks, Ken, is that it is also a signaling mechanism where even when you are vaccinated, you may still want to wear a mask because by wearing a mask, you're saying this is what is acceptable behavior, this is what the norm is. And that I am looking out for you because you don't know who will in your surroundings is not vaccinated. So even though we may be vaccinated, we still want to wear masks because we are telling others that this is the norm that we are following right now.

Ken White

Yeah, I think we've grown a little bit over this past year, right? We are looking at others a little more, maybe than we did Pre-COVID as a society.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes, we are. And, you know, when we talk about herd immunity, for example, that is all dependent on how others are taking care of themselves and, in doing so, how they are keeping you safe. So in that regard, we are our brother's keeper. We are our sister's keepers,

Ken White

Yeah.

Rajiv Kohli

because what we do matters to not just us but to others around us.

Ken White

We're starting to see some stories in the media about people traveling already. It's spring break time. Although most colleges and universities did away with their spring break and took the days and made them nonsecutive on nonconsecutive days off. But still, we're hearing reports about students heading south to Florida and folks who've been vaccinated traveling. What's the travel situation right now? What would you advise people to do if they want to travel at this point?

Rajiv Kohli

So let me first address the spring break issue. And I've seen those pictures on T.V., people having a good time on beaches and so on. I worry about the young people because while they are less susceptible, they also think they're invincible. So while they may not see the same impact of COVID if they were to get infected as others would. They could be carriers, unwitting carriers, and bring them home. And if they're traveling from different parts of the country, they might bring it back to their communities, and we might see another spread. So in terms of travel, that is also this question about whether I should travel by air or by road. The air travel itself, the flying portion of the travel itself, is not that risky. In fact, it's relatively safe. It's what people do and where they mingle and who they come in contact with after the travel after they take their flight, and then they take the flight back. That is causing some concern. So the travel part is not that big a problem right now. So I would say that if you're traveling by road and you are going to a place where you are going to be by yourself with your family, perhaps on the beach and you rent a house, it's fairly safe. It's fairly safe. In fact, we did see during last fall, or even last summer, increased traffic going to beach areas where people were renting homes and not necessarily hotels. So to answer your question, travel right now within certain boundaries and constraints is relatively safe, or we can make it safe. It's just that when we travel, what we do post-travel is, is what causes some people concern.

Ken White

So three vaccines out there now. Are they different? Are they similar? Is there one that seems to be the favorite? What's up with all three? How do you approach those?

Rajiv Kohli

Yeah, so I'm also hearing about the effectiveness of different vaccines as far as the vaccines are concerned. They all do the job. They all do the job. And there are differences in the efficacy rates, but they are not really comparable because the trials were done at different times. And these numbers, this is 90 percent effective, and that is seventy-two percent effective. They all come from the trials. And again, remember, there were trials, which means they were controlled population experiments done at different times. So the Johnson & Johnson one, which is supposedly less efficacious than the other two, was done later, which means it was exposed to more variance. And so to the people listening, I would say take the first vaccine you can get because it will all make you safe and others around you safe. So I wouldn't worry about which one is more effective, which one is in numbers. It's almost like if you have a headache, and I give you a medication that's seventy-five percent effective versus sixty-nine percent effective. We don't know how it's going to act on our bodies. So just take it.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Rajiv Kohli of William & Mary in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. The Post-COVID world will require new skills and new approaches, and those skills and approaches are taught in the William & Mary MBA program. We offer four different MBA formats, including the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive, all taught by our top-ranked MBA faculty. The William & Mary MBA will prepare you to succeed and lead in our new world. Check out the MBA programs at William & Mary. Now back to our conversation with Professor Rajiv Kohli.

Ken White

How does the vaccine work? What is it actually doing to us?

Rajiv Kohli

So I guess without getting into the science of it, what the vaccine does, it learns from or the development of vaccine learns from how the virus is made up, what is the structure of the virus. And it passes on the harmless part of that instruction of how the virus behaves into the vaccine to the human body so that the human body sees how the virus behaves. And in doing so, it starts to develop these protections, self-protection, which is our immune system, so that when it actually sees the real virus, it knows what to do. So there are differences in the viruses or the vaccine that we have. One is a messenger RNA-based, and the other is a slightly different approach. That only means that how we deliver that vaccine into the human body, one has the instructions, only the other has the actual messenger automated. So that gets a little scientific. But the bottom line is it's preparing our bodies before it actually sees the virus as to what the virus looks like so that the body can prepare itself and the immune system is built up strong enough that when the actual virus hits, it knows how to neutralize it.

Ken White

That's pretty amazing when you really step back and think about it. It's amazing, isn't it? And it was developed in a relatively short period of time.

Rajiv Kohli

Very short period, and so the mRNA approach is not new. It has been used for Ebola. It has been used for other viruses. So that technique has been around for about twenty-five, thirty years now. So it's not new. What is new is how we use that for dealing with the coronavirus, whereas the previous vaccines were generally taking the weaker version of the virus itself and injecting into the body. We are not doing that. So, in fact, that makes it much safer because, with the old approach of putting in a weak virus, there was actually some small probability that people will get sick because it's actual virus, even though it's weak. But in this case, we're not putting any virus in. We are just simply putting the code. Think of this as a computer program that tells the body that this is what the virus looks like. So if you see this, how are you going to attack it? And the body says, okay, I'll build these antibodies, and I will attack it, and those t-cells float around your blood. And if you do get exposed to the virus, it knows what to do, and it kills it before it comes in.

Ken White

But yet some people are saying they didn't feel well for a few hours or maybe a day when they received their second shot. But how is that happening?

Rajiv Kohli

Oh, actually, if they don't feel well, that's a good news because that means the vaccine is working. So the temperature that we see oftentimes as a side effect, people get fever and so on, is actually body's way of learning how to deal with that virus, because it is a new thing that it's seen. So while building immunity, what the body is doing is getting used to that. But it's in a controlled environment. So that temperature usually lasts for twenty-four or 36 hours, usually after the second shot. After the first shot, you might get some muscle ache, or you might feel a little bit feverish, although we haven't heard many people get high temperatures. So that's just the body's way of getting used to this new intruder if you will. But in a controlled environment.

Ken White

It's been interesting to watch various countries, the rest of the world, and how they're dealing with it and fighting back. For instance, earlier a few days ago, the prime minister of New Zealand made the announcement that she was choosing one particular vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine. Why would they do that versus what we're doing in the U.S. with multiple vaccines?

Rajiv Kohli

So my research indicates that there is no real reason why they chose Pfizer over others. And it's not to indicate that they think that's safer than the others. New Zealand operates on a national health system, which is very different from the U.S., where it's mostly private. So when New Zealand decides to adopt a drug or a vaccine, in this case, it usually makes a deal with a company on a national basis. So the contract for the whole nation. That way, they can get a good deal, they can get a good price because they get better-negotiating power, and it's standardized. Everybody gets the same. New Zealand is a small country of four million people who need vaccination, the population maybe a little higher. So they really need about eight million shots, two for each. And it's not a large number that they want to divide up among multiple providers, which is what U.S. did, also U.S. was trying to kind of balance the risk, if you will, that if one company cannot make it fast enough, we have another one that's making. New Zealand has small numbers, relatively speaking.

Ken White

You and I are surrounded by college students, undergraduate, and graduate students, and one of the things they ask me almost daily is when can we travel abroad? They want to study abroad. And we've been doing that, of course, in a virtual arena. But they'd love to travel. When do you think the world will return to that day when we can visit one another across borders?

Rajiv Kohli

Ken that also is a very complex question because a lot of that depends on other countries and their readiness to receive us when we go over there and their own policies about how they will reopen their countries. I suspect that we'll see Europe and European countries be more open and willing to admit U.S. students, travelers, whereas countries in Asia that are slower to immunize their population, either because of resources or because of large populations like China and India, that will take some time. They will be a little bit later. So a lot depends on how much they are ready and also what happens between now and say end of this year. How the virus itself mutates and how effective are the vaccines against those, and how we are living our lives and trying to prevent the spread. So if you become lax and it spreads more, and there are there's more community spread, it'll slow the whole process down, and it will slow down the reopening, whether it's within the U.S. or outside the U.S.

Ken White

We certainly don't want that—fear of missing out. I talk to people who haven't had their vaccine yet, but it seems like everyone in my family has had it. You know, some people say, what do you say to those who are waiting? They're just not going to get the vaccine for a little while. What kind of advice do you have for them to feel better?

Rajiv Kohli

Well, the advice is that keep doing what you were doing until now. I go back to my earlier comment about we are in the homestretch. I know it's frustrating. I know you're looking at other people and saying so-and-so got an email to go get their first shot. How come I have not, or when will I get it? Just patience. So there's nothing different you have to do if you if you've done well this last year. Keep doing what you were doing. You know how to keep yourself safe and others safe. The vaccine rollout is actually moving faster than we had anticipated. And we are hearing now doctors' offices calling their patients and saying we can schedule a vaccine for you, which means that there is ample supply. So I know President Biden announced that there will be enough vaccines at the end of May. Now, that doesn't mean that everybody will have shots in their arm by the end of May. But the way things are going, we might see soon after May, everybody actually vaccinated, which is what gives me somewhat encouragement that July 4th may be the first time we'll hang out in and out outdoors with our friends and have a barbecue. We might still practice safe distancing and mask-wearing if we are too close or if we are with people outside our family group or bubble. So this thing is moving quite quickly and rapidly, and I'm encouraged by the speed at which we are moving along and giving vaccines to people.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Rajiv Kohli, and that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Companies, organizations, and businesses are seeking professionals to lead in the Post-COVID world professionals who think strategically, communicate effectively and manage ambiguity. You'll learn those skills and more in the William & Mary MBA program. Offered in four formats the full-time, the part-time, the online, and the executive MBA. Check out the William & Mary MBA program to learn more. Finally, we'd love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest Rajiv Kohli, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week ahead.

More Podcast Episodes

 Graham Henshaw
Graham HenshawEpisode 143: November 19, 2020
Escaping the COVID-19 Rut

Graham Henshaw

Episode 143: November 19, 2020

Escaping the COVID-19 Rut

It’s been eight months since COVID-19 began to change our world, and during that time some leaders, professionals, and organizations have been quite successful in launching new ventures, serving customers differently, and finding new sources of revenue. But for others, the pandemic has been more of a challenge. It’s stifled their creativity and their ability to move forward. The uncertainty and fear of the unknown have caused them to spin their wheels. Our guest today says if you are struggling, there are answers. He says entrepreneurs and the traits and mindsets that make up entrepreneurial thinking can serve as a guide to success during the pandemic. Graham Henshaw is the Executive Director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary’s School of Business. He joins us today to discuss the elements of entrepreneurial thinking you can leverage during the pandemic. Elements like Opportunity/Discovery, tolerance for ambiguity, and improvisation.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Amazon Music/Audible | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What makes entrepreneurs more equipped to thrive during a pandemic
  • What makes a good mindset of an entrepreneur
  • How does an entrepreneur learn their skills
  • What is entrepreneurial thinking
  • What elements of entrepreneurial thinking will help leaders navigate the pandemic
  • How important is it to be able to spot opportunities
  • The benefits of being able to make adjustments on the fly
  • What are the entrepreneurial benefits of collaboration
Transcript

Graham Henshaw: Escaping the COVID-19 Rut TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business, the podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. It's been eight months since covid-19 began to change our world. And during that time, some leaders, professionals, and organizations have been quite successful in launching new ventures, serving customers differently, and finding new sources of revenue. But for others, the pandemic has been more of a challenge. It's stifled their creativity and their ability to move forward. The uncertainty and fear of the unknown has caused them to spin their wheels. Well, our guest today says if you are struggling, there are answers. He says entrepreneurs and the traits and mindsets that make up entrepreneurial thinking can serve as a guide to success during the pandemic. Graham Henshaw is the Executive Director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary's School of Business. He joins us on the podcast today to discuss the elements of entrepreneurial thinking you can leverage during the pandemic. Elements like opportunity, discovery, tolerance for ambiguity, and improvisation. Here's our conversation with Graham Henshaw.

Ken White

Well, Graham, great to see you. Thanks very much for sharing, sharing your time with us. Welcome back to the podcast.

Graham Henshaw

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Ken White

Yeah, this is your second time. And so, yeah, you're in a special club. You know, we should have a plaque or a T-shirt or something.

Graham Henshaw

I'm waiting on the t-shirt.

Ken White

There you go. Yeah. Yeah. That's the you know, you're into something, right, when you've got a t-shirt for it.

Graham Henshaw

That's right.

Ken White

Yeah. You know, we're living in such an interesting time right now, and some people are just not getting it done. They feel stuck. On the other hand, entrepreneurs often positioned and thought of as people who can lead, who can function, create, and even thrive under pressure. Is that is that an accurate statement in your mind?

Graham Henshaw

I think it is in my experience. I've observed that. And I think I'd probably expand a little bit on the this notion of pressure. And I think that comes from being in situations where you can't reliably predict the outcome. And I think we're in that kind of situation right now. And these are where the past offers very little predictive certainty about the future. And often, entrepreneurs are just the people who thrive under those conditions where other people actually find themselves anxious. An entrepreneur actually might gravitate to that situation where the outcome is actually unknown. So, yeah, I do think that's accurate.

Ken White

Are they born with that ability? Is it learned? How do they get there?

Graham Henshaw

That's an interesting question. There's been a lot of debate on that over the years. That turns out it's a little bit of both. So there are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset that seem like they're built-in. And then there are others that are shown to be skills, and you can learn those. And so, as with any skill, if you practice it, you get a little bit better at it over time. But what the really interesting thing is about the mindset is even though you can't move the needle so much on the mindsets, if you just become aware of your mindset, for example, risk acceptance is one of those mindsets. There's not much you can do to move the needle on risk acceptance. But if you know where you stand on risk acceptance and you encounter a situation that kind of pegs your meter where it's at, then you can change your behavior in that situation, you can come up with mitigating practices to get around that. So maybe when you encounter that situation, you know, I've got a call, Ken. Ken has a really high-risk tolerance. So he's going to help me get through this, or you have a checklist or something like that. So the awareness on the mindset side can really be a big help as well. So it's a little bit of both.

Ken White

Yeah, interesting. Well, you in the Miller Center for Entrepreneurship? You focus a great deal on entrepreneurial thinking, which is a little bit different. Can you explain that?

Graham Henshaw

Yeah. So we made a decision years ago to focus on this broader application of entrepreneurial skills and mindsets versus the typical very narrow application, which is venture creation startups. And I love startups. That's sort of where I came from. But it seemed like that was not going to be the best focus for us at William & Mary. And so we instead zoomed out a little bit to focus on a set of four skills. And so those are opportunity discovery, failing wisely, improvisation, and collaboration, and then four mindsets, a tolerance for ambiguity, grit, risk acceptance, and self-direction. So the collection of those is what we mean when we say entrepreneurial thinking. And our sense is that they are a highly versatile set of skills and mindsets that can be applied in a lot of different settings, not just the venture creation setting. So startups are just one manifestation of that way of thinking. And the broader perspective has allowed us to engage in a much larger population. We formerly worked with predominantly MBA students, so five years ago, our programming really engaged just the MBA students. And fast forward five years, and we have hundreds of students from across campus that are engaged from majors that I didn't even know existed. We have twenty-five plus different majors that are plugging into this entrepreneurial thinking focus.

Ken White

So it's showing that their employers, large, small, for-profit, nonprofit, whatever it is, they value entrepreneurial thinking.

Graham Henshaw

They do. And we see that when they come into our space and our new entrepreneurship hub, we have a giant mural on the wall with these four skills and the four mindsets. And there hasn't ever been a time that an employer has come through and had a tour and not said, wow, if you have students with those things, we want them. And so, we have been trying to create a brighter line between entrepreneurial thinking and these great career outcomes. We want students to make that connection, as well as the employers, already have made that connection.

Ken White

And we should mention congratulations to you and the team at the Miller Entrepreneurship Center, William & Mary, one of the named one of the top 50 business schools in the world for entrepreneurship. And that's you. That's congratulations. That had to feel pretty cool.

Graham Henshaw

Now that felt great. Honestly, it's one of those things where we already knew we had something amazing happening. You know, we're in it every day, and we see the outcomes. But it is really good to get that external validation that what we're doing is working. And you don't often get to come up for air long enough to appreciate that. So this has been a neat moment to recognize the efforts of everybody on the team to make this a really wonderful program across the entire university, especially here, as in the Poets and Quants rankings for the MBA audience as well.

Ken White

No doubt. Well, you know, I've spoken with professionals, leaders, managers who feel the weight and the stress of the pandemic is getting in the way of their success, their ability to adopt entrepreneurial thinking, the skills, and the mindsets. But you say there are some elements that professionals can adopt to help them. What are those?

Graham Henshaw

Yeah, and first, I want to say you know I get that sense of being a little bit frozen in this season. I've connected with lots and lots of businesses in our area who are really struggling, and they're just trying to figure out how to survive amidst the pandemic. So I know it's hard, and I don't want to minimize those struggles. But having said that, I do think that for most people, there are a few skills and traits that could be really useful right now. And again, it does require coming up for air just for a second. But if I could wave a magic wand impart an extra dose of some of those skills and traits that we have been speaking about, I think I would choose to spread around some opportunity discovery, some tolerance for ambiguity, and certainly some improvisation. I think these things would go a long way right now to helping people navigate this situation.

Ken White

Well, let's define those. When you say opportunity discovery, what do you mean?

Graham Henshaw

Sure. This one is the ability to spot opportunities where other people don't see them. This is a situation where sometimes some people see a problem, but the entrepreneurial thinker sees the opportunity that that is connected to that problem. Most of the time, people don't see anything at all. So a problem is a step up. But the opportunity is that next step. And so, in some ways, the pandemic has been a catalyst for some organizations to look much more closely than they ever have needed to before to serve their customers or to generate revenue. I think that sometimes normalcy can lead to complacency, and then it causes us to miss these opportunities that are right under our noses. So to opportunity discovery is hunting those opportunities that most people miss.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Graham Henshaw in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. There is no better time than right now to pursue your MBA. With businesses and organizations experiencing so much change, they're seeking professionals who can communicate, think strategically, and deal with ambiguity. Skills taught in the William & Mary MBA program. We offer four different formats, including the full time, the evening, the online, and the executive. The William & Mary MBA will prepare you to succeed in our new world. Check out the MBA programs at William & Mary today. Now back to our conversation on adopting entrepreneurial thinking during covid-19 with Graham Henshaw, executive director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at William & Mary.

Ken White

Improvisation.

Graham Henshaw

So improvisation and tolerance for ambiguity, I would say go, go hand in hand, and so improvisation is the ability to make course corrections as the situation on the ground dictates. And that's, I think, what a lot of leaders are experiencing right now. They've got a playbook. This might and have not been in it. The pandemic was likely not in your playbook. And so you have to make some calls on the ground and adjust those as the situation dictates. So it used to be that entrepreneurship programs taught students how to write business plans. And we haven't done that for quite a while because we know that and even in good times, no plan survives first contact with customers. And I think that people are seeing that more now than ever. We need to be agile. We need to not hold on too tightly to how we thought the solution was going to be rolled out. We need to be able to adjust course as necessary.

Ken White

Going back to opportunity discovery, that's something that people can learn?

Graham Henshaw

Yeah, opportunity discovery is one of those skills that you can learn. One of the ways is to learn where you need to look. And oftentimes, organizations are looking in the wrong places. So I'll refer back to the classic Peter Drucker text where he talks about sources of innovative opportunity. And it turns out that most people are looking in the riskiest of places for those opportunities, which is this breakthrough discovery R&D that's never been done before. There are opportunities there, but oftentimes they're binary. It'll either work, or it doesn't work now. Now is not the time for that. There are other sources that are much more reliable, and they're easier. They have higher odds of success. One of those is to look for opportunities where the unexpected has happened. So the unexpected success or the unexpected failure. But let's take the unexpected success in the case of the pandemic. You could look at organizations that have unexpectedly seen success. What is it about their model that we might be able to implement for our own? So that's one. Demographics are another source of innovative opportunity. So so learning where to look is one of those things. And the other is a lens shift. If you're trying to learn this skill of opportunity discovery, you need to stop looking for ideas and start looking for problems. I try to get my students to see that all the time. They say I'd really love to do entrepreneurship, but I'm just waiting for that big idea, that flash of genius. I say, well, you're going to be waiting for a while, but you might find it to be more productive if you just look around and try to look for some challenges, look for some problems that potential customers are having. And if you solve that problem, you're probably going to develop an innovative solution that addresses that. And as a result of that, maybe a more sustainable business than if you just sit around and try to come up with a brilliant idea. There's lots of brilliant ideas out there, by the way, that don't make for a good business. So I think it's always better to search for opportunities and problems.

Ken White

How interesting. I read a story today about someone who was out of work. You talk about where to look, realize that people want to adopt pets, dogs right now, and now she delivers them all over the country.

Graham Henshaw

Yeah.

Ken White

She's made a huge business. Right. And it's looking for problems. That's so interesting.

Graham Henshaw

Exactly. That's a great example of opportunity discovery. That's the unexpected event. We didn't expect pet adoptions to go through the roof. And there's an opportunity there if you look at that.

Ken White

Is it helpful to, I assume, helpful to bring others in and say, I'm stuck? This is what I'm thinking about. What do you think? I'm assuming that the answer, of course, is yes to that.

Graham Henshaw

Yeah. And so that's why collaboration is one of those pillars of entrepreneurial thinking. It's important to bring in those other perspectives, especially in these kinds of situations where we might view this situation one way. But someone else who maybe has seen something tangential, they bring a different perspective that's useful as you're trying to navigate through those challenges. So so collaboration is an essential part of that entrepreneurial thinking toolkit?

Ken White

Well, especially to our listeners who find entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking interesting. I'm excited to announce that Graham, you, and the Miller Entrepreneurship Center have your own podcast now, which is I've heard I love the host. This is so cool. Please tell us about your new podcast.

Graham Henshaw

Yeah. So the new podcast is called Day One, and it's currently recorded by one the Miller Center fellows, Sonia Kinkhabwala, and I have to give all the credit to her. It was her idea. She is the fellow in charge of reaching out to alumni. And we just had an interesting problem this fall when we realized we had so many connections to amazing alumni stories and not enough space to tell those stories in our current lineup of programming. And so we thought, what can we do? That's a little bit different to feature these fantastic entrepreneurial journeys of these William & Mary alumni. And so she came up with this idea for day one, which is an unfiltered look at the life of an entrepreneurial thinker. It's not your typical startup showcase. It's more what is it actually like to start and run a venture? And we really do focus on these entrepreneurial thinking pillars in these conversations with those entrepreneurial thinkers. And it's not just startups. It's it's nonprofits. It's being an innovator inside of a large organization. It runs the gamut. So the diversity there matches the diversity in our student membership. So these entrepreneurial thinkers come from across the entire campus. So it's really been a wonderful opportunity discovery.

Ken White

Yeah.

Graham Henshaw

And we have now, at the time of this recording, three great episodes under our belts, and we are excited to continue that journey.

Ken White

And where can our listeners find day one? Where can they get to it and subscribe?

Graham Henshaw

So right now, it's listed on Spotify. And so if you just go to Spotify and search for day one, you will find those episodes that we have currently recorded.

Ken White

Graham, thanks for your time. Give us a lot to think about. And if you're into this, find day one, and you'll hear so much more about how entrepreneurial thinking can really change your life.

Graham Henshaw

Absolutely. I fully believe that. Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Ken White
That's our conversation with Graham Henshaw, and that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. Now is the perfect time to pursue your MBA. Businesses and organizations are seeking professionals who think strategically, communicate effectively, and manage ambiguity. You'll learn those skills and much more in the William & Mary MBA program offered in four formats the full-time, the evening, the online, and the executive MBA. Finally, we'd love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guests Graham Henshaw, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Dawn Edmiston
Dawn EdmistonEpisode 138: July 17, 2020
Personal Branding in the COVID-19 Era

Dawn Edmiston

Episode 138: July 17, 2020

Personal Branding in the COVID-19 Era

You have control regarding the way you're perceived and positioned by others. Your personal brand tells people what you offer and how you're different from - and better than - your competition. In recent years, thanks in part to the continuously growing world of social and digital media building and especially promoting your personal brand has become easier than ever before. But with COVID-19, the personal branding landscape has changed somewhat. Our guest says the changes bring new opportunities to build your brand. Dawn Edmiston is a Professor of Marketing at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. She helps professionals and students create and promote their personal brands. She joins us on the podcast today to talk about personal branding, your value proposition, and how social media can help you build your brand in the era of COVID-19.

Podcast (audio)

Dawn Edmiston: Personal Branding in the COVID-19 Era TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Podcast (platforms)

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Amazon Music/Audible | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What is the definition of a personal brand
  • Why is a value proposition important to a personal brand
  • How can one understand how they are perceived
  • How has COVID-19 affected personal branding
  • What are the benefits of technology to promote a personal brand
  • How important is LinkedIn to promoting a personal brand
  • Is it possible to have more than one brand
  • What is the power of video in promoting oneself
  • How should the different social media platforms be utilized
Transcript

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. You have control regarding the way you're perceived and positioned by others. Your personal brand tells people what you offer and how you're different from and better than your competition. In recent years, thanks in part to the continuously growing world of social and digital media, building and especially promoting your personal brand has become easier than ever before. But with COVID-19, the personal branding landscape has changed somewhat. Our guest says the changes bring new opportunities to build your brand. Dawn Edmiston is a Professor of Marketing at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. She helps professionals and students create and promote their personal brands. She joins us on the podcast today to talk about personal branding. Your value proposition and how social media can help you build your brand in the era of COVID-19. Here's our conversation with Dr. Dawn Edmiston.

Ken White

Well, Dawn, thank you, it's great to see you. We're face to face. Isn't that nice?

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, that is lovely. Socially distanced. Yes, of course.

Ken White

I did pick the long rectangular table here in the studio so that the interview is being held appropriately. But thanks. It's really great to see you. And I hope you're well.

Dawn Edmiston

Thank you. Thank you. It's wonderful to be here.

Ken White

When I think personal branding, you're the first person I think of, and I know a lot of people in the business school here at William & Mary think the same, and others do too. When you hear the term personal branding, how do you define that? How do you describe that?

Dawn Edmiston

First, there is no greater compliment that you have given me than to have said that when you think of personal branding, you think of my brand. So thank you. I define personal branding as a systematic and intentional process of defining your value proposition and determining how you will share your value with others. So I like to think that my personal brand promise is that I teach people how to pursue and promote their passions. And so hopefully I'm doing that in this very moment with this podcast.

Ken White

Is it easy for people to identify their passions?

Dawn Edmiston

Great question. And I am often asked that when I am delivering guest lectures on the concepts if I do not have a passion, do I not have a personal brand? And that's not true. And personal brands. And that can evolve with you. But you do need a direction. And if you do not determine your direction, it will be interpreted by others. There's a statement that in this digital environment, that information online implicitly brands people, whether or not they choose to explicitly brand themselves. So even if you do not have a passion, consider a direction, and that will be one step further in developing that personal brand.

Ken White

And it sounds like you're also saying if you don't tell your story, maybe someone else will.

Dawn Edmiston

That's the truth. Yes, that that is. And you need to think about your personal brand as a value proposition as I had said. And if you're not able to define it, typically, personal brands need to include both an internal perspective and an external perspective. So if you're not yet ready to give that internal perspective, if you're not ready yet to determine this is the passion that I need to pursue, then start with the external perspective. Meet with family and friends, colleagues that know you and ask them to give you three words that describe you and then ask them to give you three statements of what they believe is how you have contributed value in their lives, either in personal or professional lives. And that will help move you towards understanding. This is how I'm perceived. Now, how you are perceived and how you want to be perceived may be two very different things, but you always need to have that customer-centric focus. And so by getting that external perspective, that might help you define from an internal perspective, how it is you want to position yourself in the marketplace.

Ken White

So you create that brand, and then you deliver on that promise. Right.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, yes.

Ken White

That's pretty important.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes. Yes. And I often get asked the first questions are about social media and the promotion element. But as you and I have discussed before, do not think about the promotion until you've actually thought about the development of your brand and be intentional about it. And then we can start discussing once you have that personal brand promise. How do we execute it? Who are the individuals that may gain value from what I have to share? And then how do we ensure that we promote it, that we communicate our value to reach those that may need our products and services?

Ken White

COVID-19 is everything seems to be upside down. Life is just so, so different now. It seems like some personal branding opportunities are lost right now, especially face to face interaction. How is this current arena affected personal branding?

Dawn Edmiston

I mean, COVID-19, has changed our entire lives. And from both a personal and professional perspective. But change can be good. And for a marketing professor who has taught digital marketing for the past decade or so. It has been very good because if you were not focused upon digital marketing in the past, it becomes an imperative now. And fortunately for us. There are plenty of social media platforms and digital marketing opportunities, where we can continue personal branding. So as much as I value and I appreciate being able to see you face to face today, I could also see you face to face through technologies.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

And I could also ensure that I'm sharing and communicating my value through digital channels. And in most respects, I can meet, reach far greater number of individuals through digital channels than I ever could through Face-To-Face channels. So once we get past the anxieties that are associated with change, then perhaps we will soon be on the other side.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

And we will be excited about the opportunities that exist within this change, especially relative to personal branding and digital marketing channels.

Ken White

I don't know that that newcomers to personal branding, realize how powerful the digital side is until they see someone post maybe something really small in LinkedIn and just see it take off. Thousands and thousands of years.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, yes.

Ken White

Amazing, isn't it.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, it is. And people seek those personal connections. And. And again, you and I. I've had the privilege of doing podcasts with you in the past around the power of LinkedIn and personal branding. But when you think of LinkedIn, it's not just a job networking platform. In fact, a few years ago, a very powerful organization named Microsoft purchased LinkedIn because they really wanted access to the individuals that used LinkedIn to understand, gain data insights about these individuals. And so, they worked to create LinkedIn as a professional development platform.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

So it's not just focused upon connecting individuals relative to jobs, although that's a very important function, especially in the current environment. But it's also where you can build relationships and powerful relationships. And in fact, I'm often surprised at LinkedIn posts that I make that tend to be more personal, that literally have achieved hundreds of thousands of views.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

People are cheering for you. People want you to do well. People want to recognize professional excellence and want to recognize the grit and the grace that we need to work through this world. And LinkedIn is a good place to be able to share those experiences.

Ken White

Yeah, it's not hard to hit a thumbs up, is it?

Dawn Edmiston

No, it is not. Yes. Yes.

Ken White

So you create the value proposition. You get the information that people help you create your brand. You're delivering on that brand promise. And you do want to branch out, as you say and you say digital and social channels is LinkedIn the first place that people should consider.

Dawn Edmiston

It is the first place perhaps people should consider. But it's not the only place.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

I do typically use LinkedIn as a starting point. And with Microsoft's acquisition, LinkedIn has become far more robust than it had been. In fact, you're now able to embed videos and projects. And, you know, a decade ago, we might have been encouraging individual students to develop blogs and blog posts.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

You can now do that on LinkedIn and have a far greater audience than you might have in the past. So LinkedIn has become a very powerful community. And I find as a professor; it's the way I stay connected with students and alumni as well as individuals with whom I've worked. And I just never underestimate the power of those connections. At this point now, I've been in higher education for more than two decades. There is not a single day that passes that I do not hear from a former student or a professional colleague that LinkedIn has had a positive impact in their lives.

Ken White

Yeah, no doubt.

Dawn Edmiston

And so that that feels good. And I want to be able to share that with others. But again, it's not the only platform.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

And for certain individuals, for example, if you're creative, you might want to have a creative portfolio, although you can embed a link to that creative portfolio on LinkedIn.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

You should have an Instagram account. You know, those accounts of social media platforms that are more creative, visual, compelling, or perhaps where you want to focus your efforts. But then LinkedIn can complement those efforts.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Dawn Edmiston in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, consider William & Mary. Whatever your stage of life, whether you're completing your bachelor's degree or you have 30 years of work experience, the William & Mary MBA will transform you. Four different formats, including the full time, the evening, the online, and the executive. The William & Mary MBA will change and improve the way you think, the way you lead, and the way you live. Just ask any of our alumni. Now back to our conversation on personal branding in the COVID-19 era with Professor Dawn Edmiston.

Ken White

In our gig economy, I've run into so many people that have their job, their career, their vice president of whatever. They're the director of this, but boy, they would love to branch out over here and do something different. How do you do that with your brand and the promotion of your brand when you're more than one thing, and most of us seem to be more than one thing today?

Dawn Edmiston

That is a great question. I just recently contributed to a new book called Go to Market Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs, and women tend to be very active in the gig economy.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

So they may have a full-time job. They may care for their families, and then they may have an additional job to help supplement the income to support the family. And in most, if not all instances, your personal brand, to a certain extent, does need to be consistent. You can be a renaissance man or woman, but that brand should still be consistent across those various ventures. So, for example, I would never encourage you to have two LinkedIn profiles. For example, have one LinkedIn profile that captures the essence of who are, your diverse interests, the various organizations in which you are involved. But then you can have multiple company pages that are connected. So you can have a company page for your gig, as well as being connected to the company in which you have your full-time role. And of course, you could have and should have websites and social media platforms that serve different target markets depending on the different gigs you might have.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm

Dawn Edmiston

But relative to your personal brand, it is important to be authentic and do not confuse your personal brand with the products and services that you deliver.

Ken White

That's great advice. I mean, if someone is other audience-centric, their audience-centric, no matter what they do.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

Right. Yeah, that's interesting because I have people have asked me, what do you think about if I have these two identities out there and what an interesting answer. Yeah. Wow.

Dawn Edmiston

To your point, you have coined the phrase around here, which I love, which is own it, and individuals need to own it. They need to own their personal brand no matter what other brands. That may encompass. But they do need to own their personal brand and then focus on the products and services and the target markets where you want to deliver those products and services. But do those in through channels and through media that are specific to those target markets, but retain that personal brand that continues to provide that authenticity to what you do.

Ken White

You mentioned a little while ago video, and I know you often encourage your students and people you counsel. Try some video and put some real I mean, boy, some of these student projects I've seen, you know, from the MBA students they're putting themselves out there. Can you tell us about some of these video projects you've seen?

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, it is one of the greatest rewards they have for teaching. And for those of you that are listening, you can access the perfect pitch videos that we have created by simply doing a quick search on my name on YouTube. And I have all of the perfect pitch videos there under my channel. And as you said, they are just brilliant.

Ken White

They are.

Dawn Edmiston

And in this current market environment, video is often how we're connecting with one another. We, as humans, are very visual, and we need that. We need those cues and being able to use video to share our emotions, and our experiences are far more relevant and persuasive than simply having that traditional piece of paper that we know as a resumé,

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

Important tool, but being able to have this perfect pitch video that explains the value of that resumé is as good as it gets. And so now I encourage my students as well. Not only do they have the perfect pitch videos on YouTube, but embed it into your LinkedIn profile.

Ken White

I've seen them. They've sent them to me.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

It's incredible.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

And some of these you think I not I'm not a production expert. Some of these are shot on iPhones. They're edited on iPhones. You'd never know.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, you do not need to be a professional and to your point. Yes. We have these mobile devices that allow us to do productions that we could have never potentially even considered a decade ago. And people just want to be able to connect with you.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

People want to be able to understand your character, your drive. In fact, during the pandemic, I actually cannot count the number of times that I have been contacted by an employer asking for an intern or a new hire. And I've simply sent them LinkedIn profiles of students with the video embedded, encouraging them to watch them. And every single time, those students are hired

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

and I get comments back from the employer stating how much they enjoyed getting that perspective,

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

getting that insight, and they're 60 seconds. I think the perfect pitch video is a 60-second video. You need to be clear and concise about your value proposition. And the video allows you to control your message and control the media environment and be able to share that value proposition very effectively.

Ken White

It is such a cool project in watching them to me. I walk away saying, oh, that's what makes that individual tick.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

That's what makes them differentiated and a little better than maybe another person in that field. It's not even so specific into what they do. Like you said, if you want to have multiple projects, it's that consistency of what you offer. Those come across in the videos. They're so fun and so creative.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

So, yeah, and once you see someone else do it, you think, well, okay, maybe maybe I could, right.

Dawn Edmiston

And you definitely could. And again, I mean, being able in this environment, you had asked an earlier question about how COVID-19 has changed our lives. And more than ever, we want that connectedness, and we want to be able to share our stories. And video allows us to do just that. So perhaps in addition to LinkedIn, I might also recommend you to have a YouTube channel

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

and that would allow you to share experiences that you have in a visual manner that you would not be able to do as well through the LinkedIn platform.

Ken White

Well, that leads me to my next question. We have a few minutes left. What I'd like to do is mention an outlet. And if you would, give us a few words on why that's a good outlet or who that outlet might be good for. And we already talked about LinkedIn. So that's sort of a basic Instagram. Who should consider that? Which professionals?

Dawn Edmiston

Instagram, if you are creative, professional of your visual, professional. If you are an individual that has a very strong brand focus. So if you're not perhaps selling consumer packaged goods, but if you're selling services. Definitely, Instagram is a good visual tool, although I will tell you that there are certain consumer packaged goods like Oreos

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

that have done wonders in social media. So, again, very visual tool capture the moment and be able to share it.

Ken White

Twitter.

Dawn Edmiston

Twitter is good for quick conversations. I find Twitter especially effective when you are discussing particular topics or at particular events. I tend to use Twitter more often when I'm even when I'm in virtual events these days. This is how we communicate. This is how we chat. This is how we remain connected. Quick, quick communication tool does not have the staying power relative to messages that LinkedIn does. So that is, but quick connection used whether to drive to other platforms.

Ken White

Blogging.

Dawn Edmiston

Blogging still very powerful, no longer perhaps as necessary to have your own personal blog. But blogs now we have a feature on LinkedIn where you can create and post articles just as you with a blog, embed videos and links and content. And very powerful to be able to share through LinkedIn. But you can also do video blogs. And those have become very compelling as well. And I would encourage individuals. Yes, relative to blogs. And again, in this current market environment, if you're not working, blogs can be a great way to capture what you've been learning or what you'd like to learn more about and share your knowledge with others.

Ken White

For professionals YouTube or Tick-Tock.

Dawn Edmiston

YouTube.

Ken White

Why?

Dawn Edmiston

YouTube because it just happens to be owned by Google, and it's considered by many to be the second-largest search engine in the world. So in marketing, it's all about language. It's all about understanding who you want to reach and speaking their language and using the words that they would use to describe your value proposition. So when you look at a tool like YouTube that has such great searchability, it's important to be there from not only a visual perspective but also from the perspective that you can be searched and found.

Ken White

Right. Is Facebook appropriate for professional?

Dawn Edmiston

It depends. In many entrepreneurial organizations, Facebook is a great place to create more of a close community.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Dawn Edmiston

Now, once students graduate, they often connect with me as alumni. And so I have more of a community. You're going to see my dogs, you know, post my animals posted in my Facebook world. You will not have that in LinkedIn. Again, you don't necessarily ever want to post and share in social media images that or words that would be inconsistent with your brand. But I tend to use Facebook for personal purposes. But it can be very effective for building communities and especially for organizations that might be smaller startup organizations. So I would encourage you to have both a Facebook site as well as a LinkedIn profile and a YouTube channel.

Ken White

Hmm-mmm. As we move into, continue to deal with COVID-19 if we if the listener hasn't been doing a whole lot with a personal brand, what's the final message you'd like to share with them as we're moving into the future?

Dawn Edmiston

Now's the time. And when you are thinking about developing your personal brand, you need to be thinking about the value proposition that you can share with others. Very often, when we start to use language, you we start to define ourselves by the positions we've held or the titles that we've been called. And honestly, that's not that important. So if you happen not to be working at the moment and you had to find your personal brand by where you had worked, you know, now is your chance to create your own personal brand and understand what it is that you really want to do and develop language around that and be able to share that with others so that you can start living the life that you had wanted to, perhaps that you might not have even known that you wanted to prior to the pandemic. But this is a really wonderful chance for many of us to hit the reset button and to move forward in a way that we know cannot even imagine before.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Dawn Edmiston. And that's it for this episode of Leadership & Business. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, pursue one that delivers a transformational experience. The William & Mary MBA four formats the full time, the evening, the online, and the executive MBA. Finally, we'd love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest Dawn Edmiston, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Bob Williams & Brian Baines
Bob Williams & Brian BainesEpisode 136: June 9, 2020
Civil Unrest & the CEO

Bob Williams & Brian Baines

Episode 136: June 9, 2020

Civil Unrest and the CEO

It's been over a week since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protests and demonstrators have taken place in cities across America. Business leaders and CEOs have responded in different ways. For example, the CEOs of Target, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Lowe's, Apple, and Google were among the first CEOs to speak out following the nation-wide civil unrest. Other CEOs have remained silent. How should business leaders and CEOs respond? What roles and responsibilities does the CEO have in this case? We asked two of our colleagues from the William & Mary School of Business to share their expertise. First, Professor Bob Williams. He's a former longtime business leader and executive who now teaches leadership. Second Brain Baines. He's the business school's senior Human Resources partner - the Chief HR Officer. They join us to share their experience and thoughts regarding the ways CEOs should respond in difficult times.

Podcast (audio)

Bob Williams & Brian Baines: Civil Unrest and the CEO TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Podcast (platforms)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • How has the expectation of the CEO outside of business changed throughout the years
  • How has technology changed the role of the CEO
  • Do customers and employees want to hear from the CEO during times of civil unrest
  • What kind of message should a CEO convey to customers and employees
  • What actions should senior leadership take to address diversity and inclusion
  • Are monetary donations enough to effect change
  • How should CEOs use social media to distribute their message
  • What should a CEO avoid saying during times of civil unrest
  • How important is getting the message right the first time
  • Should CEOs worry about offending customers
Transcript

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that help make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. It's been over a week since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protests and demonstrations have taken place in cities across America. Business leaders and CEOs have responded in different ways. For example, the CEOs of Target, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Lowes, Apple, and Google were among the first CEOs to speak out following the nationwide civil unrest. Other CEOs have remained silent. How should business leaders and CEOs respond? What roles and responsibilities does the CEO have in this case? Well, we asked two of our colleagues from the William & Mary School of Business to share their expertise. First, Professor Bob Williams. He's a former longtime business leader and executive who now teaches leadership. Second Brian Baines, he's the business school’s senior human resources partner, the chief H.R. officer. They join us to share their experience and thoughts regarding the ways CEOs should respond in difficult times. Here's our conversation with Bob Williams and Brian Baines.

Ken White

Bob, Brian, thanks so much for sharing your time. We appreciate you being on the podcast. The first time for Brian but Bob, you've been on before, but thanks. Thanks very much to both of you for sharing your time and expertise with us today.

Brian Baines

Happy to be here.

Bob Williams

Glad to be here.

Ken White

Bob, you spent a number of years in the C Suite, and when you started in business, CEOs weren't really expected to address issues outside of the business. Am I right in that? And has that changed over the past few years?

Bob Williams

Yeah, I think it changed a lot. And I think you've characterized it well. I think the thing that's really been changed now with this advance, which is a blending of technology. You know, when guys like Jobs walked out onto the San Francisco stage, and I think it was 2009 showed that the iPhone really what he was telling is that everybody knows everything at the same time. And that was not characteristic of corporations and regardless of your size prior to that.  But now, with the movement of just your thumbs, you blow away any kind of insular material that might protect CEOs or protect senior management people from what is basically the truth of the situation. And that changed the role, the role of the C Suite, I think.

Ken White

Polarizing topics like the one we've been experiencing for the last eight, ten days. Should a CEO step up and say something to customers and employees and the general public, Bob?

Bob Williams

Yeah, I think they're obligated to do that. I think if and of course, I need to be very open about my position on something like that. I say that, but I think there's a lot of good things that are going on, and this is going to continue into this movement of diversity and inclusion. It is dramatic when you look at these crowds, for example, the death of this young man. Watch the MSNBC or FOX or CNN, and you see African-Americans. You see, Asians use the occasion. You see them supporting one another. This is really powerful and very important. And I don't think CEOs can do that because it's a reflection not to comment on that, because it is a reflection of their employee base in many cases. This is really important; we are in a reflection point on this.

Ken White

Brian, as the chief human resource manager. Do you want your CEO to speak up and speak out now?

Brian Baines

Definitely. We have a lot of employees and customers who are interested in knowing where a company stands in support and solidarity with people who are being affected by this. We have black and brown people, as the subject is right now, who are hurting, and they're not okay. We're going to work every day, and we're keeping on a smile because that's what's expected. But we need to know that our company stands behind us.

Ken White

Is there anything specific other than what you just said that a CEO can be saying right now is something as simple as we are thinking about you, we are behind you. Is that enough?

Brian Baines

Well, I think it needs to be a stronger message. I think that message needs to be it's not tolerated that, you know, we, in effect, are appreciative of the efforts of all people, but are brown people, are black people, those who are being affected at this moment. We stand behind them, and we support their efforts to seek equality and to seek, you know, basic human rights.

Bob Williams

Can I jump in on that?

Ken White

Yeah, please.

Bob Williams

I couldn't agree more with Brian's comment on that. I would add to this, you know, you could write some of the box and some of the reactions that many CEOs now go to the broadcast media with and television media and other forms of communication. I mean, you could write it easily because so many of them have said, you know, this is regrettable, this should not happen, et cetera, et cetera. But I don't think that's enough. I think what the CEOs of the senior management. So these companies have to do is say, look, I'm going to audit my task force. I've got to sit down with my H.R. director. I'm going to find out what our diversity quotient looks like. I'm got to find out how we decide on promoting people. I'm going to look at pay. I'm going to this whole movement, Ken, I think, is overlapping with this whole issue of diversity and inclusion. And CEOs and senior-level people have to stand up and say; I'm taking it further than just telling you. And they're right in saying this. I think you have to show empathy. But they have to go further than that now. People are looking for action. They're not looking for just a gauze to cover something like this. So I think CEOs need to really take a look with their human resource people and say, look, are we living to what the words are here? And if we're not, let's change things.

Ken White

It has been interesting to read through that because some are not saying anything. I'm sorry, Brian. Go ahead. What were you thinking?

Brian Baines

Yeah, I was going to agree with Bob there. You know, they need to look at the dynamics of their organizations and put together teams that are directly responsible for looking at, as Bob mentioned, diversity and inclusion and how the culture affects the people in your organization and start to make changes because, yes, the words are hollow without the action, the words are what are needed upfront. But then we have to effectively put a plan together and do things to make a change.

Ken White

And many of the words are, you know, it's frustrating to read some of them. Some of them are saying nothing. They're just statements. And you feel like saying, oh, you just wanted to be on social media. You just wanted to be included where there's others who are McDonald's, for example, throwing money. They're saying here; we're actually going to take money we're going to work with the NAACP, we're going to make donations here. We're moving things forward. What do you say, Bob, to that CEO who is a little reluctant to say something concrete?

Bob Williams

I think writing checks is good. I think cash is good. It's what the engine is that's going to allow you to make this big change maybe a little faster because you have the resources that you need. But I don't think that's enough either. I think you have to its behavior. We're talking about behavior here. I think that what we're going to have to look at is the culture of these companies. We've done all the right things in quotes. We've done all the right things. But have we actually lived our words? And that's a cultural thing, the way we do things around here if you use that as the definition of a culture is what has to be investigated, audited, looked at and changed if it's necessary to change.

Ken White

Some of those changes take time. And in a social media world, people are looking for quick results. So how do you communicate that Bob, that this is a longer-term strategy as opposed to I can give you something tomorrow?

Bob Williams

That's a key. That's a key point. On the one hand, the thing that social media has done is you can no longer obscure the truth and the reality of what employees are living in. It happens quickly, and it's so transparent. If CEOs and C Suite people want to really make a difference, they will use that to their advantage. They will use social media and the way they communicate. You use the word community. That is so key. The two words that are important in times like this for businesses, I think are communicate and collaborate. You have got to involve the employees in the changes that you make to make diversity and inclusion work the way they're supposed to work. You have to listen to these people that are in the streets, the people that are in your company. You have to establish two-way communications, which really with this technology is one of the great advantages is that you can have a discussion and not be there, but you can have the discussion. And that's something that's a tool which should be using.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Bob Williams and Brian Baines of William & Mary in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, consider William & Mary whatever stage of your life, whether you're completing your bachelor's degree or you have 30 years of work experience. William & Mary School of Business offers MBA programs that will transform you, four different programs, including the full time, the flex, the online, and the executive. The William & Mary MBA will change and improve the way you think, the way you lead, and the way you live. Just ask any of our alumni. Now back to our conversation with Bob Williams and Brian Baines.

Ken White

Brian, if the CEO comes to your counterpart, the head of H.R., and says this is the message I want to send out to the employees. What don't you want the CEO to say? What is something? Is there anything they should avoid saying at this point in time?

Brian Baines

Yeah, I think so. And actually, the Harvard Business Review published the article, I think it's called U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism. And they actually gave some good topics. But from my personal perspective, depending on who you are as a CEO, avoid saying, you understand because you don't understand. I am a black male, and I don't understand everybody's perspective. Everyone's experiences aren't like mine. And that's not to say that I have a better, you know, perspective than anyone else. That's just to say the things that I have had to go through in life are not as harsh as those that some other people's people have. So it's about letting people know that you hear what they're saying, that you want a better understanding and that you are looking to make a change. CEOs are a large group, and I'm sure many of them communicate with each other. So they have counterparts, and they can reach out to and get some thoughts on how to properly express their feelings. Many of them have communication specialists to help them write information out that will be suitable. But at the same time, they have to make sure that it is coming from the heart, that it's just not words on paper. They have to put a little bit of their self into the words that they write. But also, at the same time, stay away from things that can be even more polarizing and fan the flames of what's going on right now.

Ken White

With that said, and I'll ask both of you this and kind of put you on the spot. But is there a channel that's more one channel more appropriate than another channel in terms of who should it be? Email to employees. Should it be a video from the CEO to employees? Normally we can walk the halls. We can't do that right now. Mostly speaking, generally speaking. What's a good delivery? What's a good delivery tool or media channel for an important message like this to employees?

Bob Williams

I think it's all of those things. I think senior-level people need to walk around. They need to do what they can in terms of contacting their employees. If that's by video, if that's by email, if that's by giving them a voice on Zoom, they should do it, and they shouldn't do it once and not say, see, I did that. They should do that on a consistent, frequent basis. They should, to Brian's point, form task groups of employees and let their ideas flow to the CEOs and to the C suite and then not let them die. Use those communication vehicles and say to them, look, we heard from this task force. These were follow. These following things are problems. I want to share with you that this idea is not one I totally agree with, but this idea is awesome. This idea is something that we are going to work on. And you keep that dialogue going through all media, not just through a singular media because what we're watching is a lack of communication. I mean, Martin Luther King said it beautifully. And I heard this one of the commentators that was covering the Atlanta gathering's followed a gathering. And it wasn't a riot. It was just a group of people expressing their First Amendment rights. But he's quoted Martin Luther King when he said when you watch something like this or you were involved in something like this, you are watching the unheard finding a voice. And I thought that's just a great capture. And if you're going to answer that voice, you've got to do it through every medium at your disposal. 

Brian Baines

Right.

Ken White

Brian, from the H.R. standpoint, what about the channels to reach employees?

Brian Baines

From an H.R. standpoint, you have to understand the demographics of your employees because not everyone is going to receive information the same way. Some people aren't on email. Some people are text message people. Some people are actual hard copy to the home letter people. So you have to employ those multiple mediums in order to get the message out. And like Bob said, you have to say it more than once. But what's important is that the first time you say it right. Because there are no new take backs. Any apologies you make after the statement that you initially put out are just they fall on deaf ears, people, you lost the confidence of your people once you put out a statement that harms more than helps. And, you know, it's very important that they speak up. CEOs and company heads speak up because what people will tend to do is see the silence as acceptance of what's going on. And that's something that they definitely want to stay away from. Of course, there are people on both sides of the issue. There's always going to be people on both sides of the issue. But you want to take the approach of deciding which side the company is going to be on. Yeah, you may lose some customers or whatever down the way, but take Nike, for example. About a year ago, they put out a statement or rather a ad using Colin Kaepernick that had lots of people upset, burning the Nike products and things like that that they own. But also at the same time, they saw an increase in profits. So for those you lose, you probably will gain more people, or you may gain more people buying multiple products of yours or utilizing your services more often. So, you know, be on the right side of it is what you have to do. And that's the message that I think they have to get out and again through as many different avenues as they can.

Bob Williams

I think to the generations that companies are dealing with now from a recruitment standpoint, of an employee standpoint are different than they were, say, ten years ago, not only because of the fact but because of the way they feel about value. So if you're worried about offending a customer because your communication maybe not what they want to hear, I would say don't let that be a barrier to communicating. I would say, look, people are looking at value and more than just tradeoff between cost and price. They're saying, do I want to do business with this organization because of what it believes? So for a CEO to be put off and fearful that they'll offend somebody that's in their customer base. I think they need to get over that. I think what they need to say, well, what do I stand for? Does it have value? And if it has value, my customers will respect the fact that my company thinks this way. You can see it in the environmental movement. You can see it in sustainability. There are people in this generation, young people that won't do business with people and companies that don't respect the environment that don't respect sustainability. I think the same thing is true about human resources and human relations. People want to be respected. They want to be treated with equity and with fairness. And companies that are very good at communicating that they are doing that and they're serious about making that kind of a thing live are going to benefit from the customer base. They're not going to be threatened by it.

Brian Baines

Yeah, people have to take a tough look at their company if they're not making a statement. I've actually asked people on my personal network to explore new opportunities if their companies are refusing to make a statement and take a stand on this. You know because, again, people who are most affected by this, that is, in essence, saying that, you know, we're not here for you. Whether it's true or not, the lack of a voice from the company is harmful to the populations that work inside that organization.

Bob Williams

Right.

Brian Baines

That may be the next George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor or one of the many other people who have lost their lives or been harmed through injustice.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Bob Williams and Brian Baines. And that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, pursue one that offers a transformational experience. Check out the MBA programs at William & Mary, the full time, the flex, the online, and the executive. Finally, we'd love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guests Bob Williams and Brian Baines, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Rajiv Kohli
Rajiv KohliEpisode 135: April 27, 2020
COVID-19: Returning to Normal

Rajiv Kohli

Episode 135: April 27, 2020

COVID-19: Returning to Normal

After several weeks of social distancing, virtual meetings, and shelter in place, most people are ready to go back: Back to work, back to their favorite restaurant, and back to normal. While we're ready, we don't know how long it will take, and what it will take before we can return to normal. Rajiv Kohli is the John N. Dalton Professor of Business at William & Mary. He's a leading scholar in health information technology and a healthcare expert. For over 15 years he's worked and consulted with several healthcare organizations. Kohli says before we can return to our pre-pandemic lives, certain events must take place. He joins us on the podcast to discuss what needs to happen in order for us to return to life as we knew it.

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • What is the first step to getting back to normal
  • Why testing is so important
  • What is the most important preventative item someone can have
  • How long do we need to practice social distancing
  • What will a return to work look like
  • When will a vaccine be available
  • Which generation will adopt social confidence more easily
  • The negative effect of misinformation
  • How will regular life change after the pandemic
Transcript

Rajiv Kohli: Covid-19: Returning to Normal TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Ken White

From William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, this is Leadership & Business. The podcast that brings you the latest and best thinking from today's business leaders from across the world. We share the strategies, tactics, and information that can make you a more effective leader, communicator, and professional. I'm your host, Ken White. Thanks for listening. Well, after several weeks of social distancing, virtual meetings, and shelter in place, most people are ready to go back, back to work, back to their favorite restaurant, and back to normal. But while we're ready, we don't know how long it'll take and what it will take before we can return to normal. Rajiv Kohli is the John N. Dalton Professor of Business at William & Mary. He's a leading scholar in health information technology and a health care expert. For over 15 years, he's worked and consulted with several health care organizations. Kohli says before we can return to our pre-pandemic lives, certain events must take place. He joins us on the podcast to discuss what needs to happen in order for us to return to life as we knew it. Here's our conversation with Dr. Rajiv Kohli.

Ken White

Rajiv, thanks for taking time to join us. I hope you're well and hope your family's well.

Rajiv Kohli

Thank you, Ken. Everything is going well. Thank you for having me.

Ken White

Yeah, well, you know, if we all agree to be conscientious citizens and I know a lot of people are. Wearing the masks, staying at home, washing our hands, practicing social distancing, that's great. But it's not enough. You say a number of things have to take place in order for us to get back to normal—things like testing.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes, testing is really the first step. That is what tells us where we are. That's like the inventory of the disease itself. So testing is very important for a number of reasons. First, we have to know who needs help. Second, testing helps us understand where the disease is located and who do we have to isolate. Or we have to self-isolate. It also is a measure of making sure that people who need help get help where they need help. And then it also gives confidence to other people saying that I know where the disease is and where it's not, and then I can continue with my normal routine. So, I see testing is really the first step to know what is going on.

Ken White

Right now, we're using 14-day isolation that that's just not cutting it right.

Rajiv Kohli

No, 14-day isolation is NATO's test, if you will, where we are saying we don't have a proper test. We'll let the nature tell us who has the disease, who does not. The trouble with that Ken is that thirty percent or so of the people who have the COVID-19 are asymptomatic, meaning they do not show symptoms, and they are walking around without knowing that they have the disease, and they may be spreading. So, by the time you find out up the 14-day period, they may have already spread that.

Ken White

You say we need to treat people who are very sick nationally and hot spots. Are we able to do that as a nation now?

Rajiv Kohli

Yeah, so that's really the second step along with the testing part is that after we find out that who has the coronavirus, they need help. Unfortunately, a percentage of those will be very sick and they will need help. Hospitals are prepping themselves for taking care of these patients with ventilators, ICU's and train staff I might add, in addition to the equipment, we need people who are able to provide care and use that equipment to answer your question. That's kind of spotty. Some places are saying that their numbers are manageable, meaning that they're not seeing a big surge. But we know other places like New York or Washington State, and increasingly a few other places in the country are seeing the kind of surge that they were worried about. Also, as of now, I think we are still kind of behind the eight ball in terms of having proper equipment, and that includes ventilators, personal protective equipment, things like sanitizers, masks, which is for the common public, a very important piece of this puzzle that helps us stay safe.

Ken White

Yeah, you said that was sort of step three was making sure that the public has preventative equipment. That's a bit of an issue, isn't it?

Rajiv Kohli

That's correct. So, step three is the public being protected, knowing who has the coronavirus, who does not, and then making sure that if we do come in touch with them or do, we interact with them, that we are protected. And the simplest and perhaps the most effective way is for everyone to have a personal mask, a disposable one, many of them. Each time they go out, they should have a new mask that they use, so and we don't have enough of those. On Amazon, the delivery period could be anywhere from three to four weeks, and they should be easily accessible. So, when I talk about the testing and the masks and PPE, what I also am implying in that is that not only are they available, but they're easily accessible to people. They don't have to go hunt for it. They don't have to go wait for it. So, can I get my mask, have them delivered tomorrow morning? If they are available, then we are in good shape.

Ken White

Yeah. You and I were talking the other day. We ordered masks in our family several weeks ago. They're supposed to come today. We're recording on Friday. Right before you and I logged on. I looked out the window, and a FedEx truck rolled up. And I'm really hoping it's that and not another delivery from Ulta or something that my daughter has ordered. So, fingers crossed.

Rajiv Kohli

How long-ago Ken did you order those?

Ken White

Ten days.

Rajiv Kohli

Okay, so that's not too bad.

Ken White

No.

Rajiv Kohli

But I would like it to be available overnight if I wanted them.

Ken White

Right. And like a lot of families, we created our own homemade masks, not knowing if they're any good. So, we're looking forward to the actual medical masks that we'd like to use for sure. You say the next step is social distancing must continue.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes. Social distancing is something that we've been practicing in a number of ways by self-quarantine. And when we do come face to face with someone, we stand across the street and have a conversation. It should continue because that is really our way of defending us and others that we are working with. That in case I am one of the 30 percent asymptomatic individuals who has COVID-19 but does not show any symptoms. So, we are protecting ourselves, each other from that disease. So that will continue and will have to continue. And I think it will become part of our day to day interactive behavior when we meet with other sort of like, you know, when you and I have a cold and I see you in a meeting, I said, Ken, I'm not going to shake your hand because I have you know, I have the sniffles. I think that will become more ingrained in our day to day lives, at least in the near future, where we will say just to be safe, let's keep this distance.

Ken White

Yeah, it was I just read a piece this morning on the Office of the Future, and everything was spread out, no doubt. Desks were spread out, doorways, and so forth.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Rajiv Kohli of William & Mary in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, consider William & Mary. Whatever your stage of life, whether you're completing your bachelor's degree or you have 30 years of work experience. William & Mary School of Business offers MBA programs that will transform you. Four different programs, including the Full-Time, Flex, Online, and Executive MBA. The William & Mary MBA will change and improve the way you think, the way you lead, and the way you live. Just ask any of our alumni. Now back to our conversation with Rajiv Kohli.

Ken White

Yeah, the next step you said, we'll probably see a rolling return to work.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes. The way I see the question is always, when will this be over?

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Rajiv Kohli

And then when we get back to work or the things that we were doing in our normal lives. I see this as a rolling return to work in the sense that there will be. Let's say if you were divided into four weeks, the first week, there will be essential people who need to be at work, will be at work, who are probably going to work once or twice a week right now, but they'll go on a daily basis and then followed by those individuals who have the option to work from home or would be more effective if they're at their desk. So that'd be the second wave. The third way will be people who were working from home could work from home, but they missed the interaction, and they are needed. And then finally, I think it will be the last quartile will be people who are a little bit more cautious who could do without being physically at work. And they will probably see three-quarters of their colleagues that say it's working for them. I'll get back to work too. I miss the interaction?

Ken White

Interesting. So, we need a 24-hour turnaround testing. We have to be able to treat people who are sick. We need the preventative equipment. Social distancing must continue when work returns. We'll do it on a rolling basis. But when you and I were talking the other day, you were saying the goal still remains we need a vaccine.

Rajiv Kohli

Absolutely. That is the final goal. But we know that in the best of cases, the vaccine is about twelve months away, and that is when everything goes well. Some of the previous experiences of vaccines had been years before they were properly tested and the trials were done, and they were deemed to be safe because one of the things that the medical community is very worried about is in the rush, as serious as this is, to get the vaccine to the public. They don't do more harm than they prevent the disease from spreading. Also, they will be absolutely sure before they will release that. And that estimate is about a year. Until that time, all the things that you described Ken are things that we will have to practice at different levels of our daily routines until we have the vaccine. And then it will be sort of like dealing with the annual flu.

Ken White

Yeah, so even when we all do go back, it will still be a very different place. And different interaction with one another.

Rajiv Kohli

It will be and one of the things that will determine that is what I call social confidence. Social confidence is a level of assurance that an individual must-have. And it's a kind of a conversation we have with ourselves by absorbing all the information around us. And we say to ourselves; I'm looking around, I'm not seeing any really bad cases. I'm seeing people actually leave the hospital. I had the conversation with my physician, and she's beginning to see patients. Life is kind of getting back to normal. And then that will give me the confidence to say, yeah, I can now interact in my social circle. But it also has the possibility that can swing the other way. If something comes on the news, you hear something in your local community, something bad happened. You know, somebody was didn't fit the profile of a high-risk patient had a serious illness and had to be in ICU. People will regress a little bit, and it will it'll take a toll on their confidence. So that is not so much based on the resources of testing and PPE and masks, and things like that we talked about that is more of a confidence that comes from inside, and that is dependent on what's happening around us.

Ken White

You see, a generation is playing a role in social confidence. I'm guessing younger folks might have a little more confidence then say someone who's older.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes, I see that already in my two kids who are in their 20s, they are a little more confident than us. They are a little more antsy and itchy to get out to see their friends. But I'm also seeing something that is very positive among the younger generation is that while they want to go out and they feel more confident from all the news reports that this is something that affects people who have underlying conditions, I'm very pleased that they are also very considerate. As I was talking to one of my colleagues who has two sons in their 20s on East Coast and West Coast, and I was asking them, are they home? And he said, no. They wanted to come home. We wanted them to come home. But they said, for your sake, mom and dad, we have got to stay where we are.

Ken White

Wow.

Rajiv Kohli

So that is also a good thing among the younger generation that while they are confident, they are being very considerate for other people who may not be at such a low risk as they are.

Ken White

Yeah, that's fantastic. You know you touched on one of the issues. There's so much conflicting information out there. Did you have any suggestions, any recommendations? Where in the world do people go?

Rajiv Kohli

Yeah. So that is one of my pet peeves. And each time I see something on TV or somebody in my own family talking about, I saw this on Facebook or I saw that on WhatsApp. And unfortunately, some of our leaders as well give us conflicting information. I squirm every time I see that because this sounds like an exaggeration Ken that the bad information that we tell someone that oh I read this on Facebook or what's happened and I saw this, I heard somebody say this. Is almost as bad as the contagion itself. So, the virus spreads. But we are also spreading misinformation, oftentimes not purposefully, but just because we read something. So, I tell the people that share or try to share misinformation, what I consider misinformation without a proper attribution from a good source

Ken White

Hmm-mmm.

Rajiv Kohli

not to talk about it, not to spread it, because it's very difficult to reel it back in once you spread that information. So, to answer your question, yes, we don't have one reliable source that people all people go to. Yes, we do have reliable sources like the CDC and the scientists. But there is also conflicting information coming from our politicians among people that we should trust otherwise. I would like people to be very careful about information that they consume and information that they share with others unless they can be sure that it came from a reliable source. And then, too, I would say, well, this is what I read at this source so they can verify it.

Ken White

So, all in all, if the steps you had talked about take place and we get there, we it'll end, so to speak, we'll get back it'll just a little bit different.

Rajiv Kohli

Yes, it will be quite different. And we are not even talking about the business side and the sociological side that will be different, there will be a lot of new changes, that we will see new developments. Many of them will be positive developments. We will see a greater use of technology. We will see different processes of how we interact. So, for example, I become a big fan of Instacart. So, I think we are going to keep it after all of this is over, because I think that's a great service. And I can use that time to be more productive in other ways. And I think similarly, people are going to discover new ways of doing things. I'm imagining a lot of telehealth, or mobile health will be people will be more comfortable with that. Yes, there are issues we'll have to address of security and privacy and all of that. So, yes, there will be a lot of changes, but I think we'll come through this. We will get back to life as we knew it slightly different. But we will be able to continue to do what we were doing and be more productive. I just worry about people who are trying to short circuit the process by jumping these steps that we just talked about.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Rajiv Kohli, and that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the William & Mary School of Business. If you're thinking about pursuing an MBA, pursue one that offers a transformational experience. Check out the MBA programs at William & Mary, the Full-Time, the Flex, the Online, and the Executive. Finally, we'd love to hear from you regarding the podcast. We invite you to share your ideas, questions, and thoughts with us by emailing us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest Rajiv Kohli, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White, wishing you a safe, happy, and productive week.

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Episode 103: February 13, 2018

Gender Dynamics in the Workplace

Sexual harassment. #metoo. Gender communication in the workplace. However you label it, it's become a topic many companies and organizations have placed on the front burner - especially in the past few months. But of all work-related issues professionals face, this topic is proving to be challenging. There doesn't seem to be a universal approach to dealing with the issue. Inga Carboni is a professor of Organizational Behavior at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Among other things, she helps companies and professionals communicate and interact effectively. She joins us today to discuss what professionals can do to move the sexual harassment discussion - and issue - forward.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • How to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace
  • What shapes an individuals perception of harassment
  • How does power play into harassment
  • How should one prepare themselves to deal with sexual harassment
  • The difficulties of discussing inappropriate behavior
  • What companies should do to create an environment of inclusivity
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  • Should the genders have separate discussions regarding harassment
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Episode 73: February 28, 2017

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Never before have we seen such a time of disruption and innovation throughout all fields of business. Companies, organization, and leaders must be forward thinking just to survive. Over the last decade, some of the world's leading companies have embraced "design thinking," leading to groundbreaking new products and services. Today, William & Mary business professor Michael Luchs joins us to discuss design thinking, the framework behind it, and how you and your organization can embrace it to succeed moving forward.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What is design thinking
  • How to creatively problem solve
  • What are the different facets of design thinking
  • How to implement design thinking into a business plan
  • Using design thinking vs. conventional problem solving
  • When to use design thinking
  • Who can participate in design thinking
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  • The different types of failure
  • How to effectively collaborate
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The beginning of a new year is the time many professionals decide to take the plunge and change jobs. According to monster.com, December, January, and February are excellent months to apply for, and secure, a new position. If you're considering an employment change in the coming new year, our guests today will help you make all the right moves. Dawn Edmiston is a Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing, and Phil Heavilin is the Executive Director of the Graduate Career Management Center at the William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business, and they join us today to discuss how you can find the job of your dreams in 2017.

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Show Notes
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  • How to approach networking situations
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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • How students can take progressive steps in their leadership journey
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  • What After-Action reviews can provide
  • Understanding who you are in the experience of others
  • What personal strengths help career growth and development
  • What are some tools for self-assessment
  • Differentiating between the problem oriented mindset vs strengths mindset
  • How to approach being the CEO of your own career
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Episode 54: August 30, 2016

Pillars of Leadership

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What principled achievement is all about
  • Why it's important to think before you act
  • How people with an MBA go out and become leaders in the world
  • The story of Elis Presley and leadership
  • The responsibility of being a leader
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Impression Management at Work

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Episode 52: August 16, 2016

Impression Management at Work

When we change jobs, ingratiation plays a significant role on how we create relationships with our new colleagues. How can you build new relationship as a new employee? David Long is conducting new research on impression management at work - he's a professor at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Long teaches organizational behavior and conducted a series of studies on this subject and how it affects leaders as well. Listen in to learn about new employees, making an impression, and how it affects the rest of the team.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What impression management means
  • Why we are always unconsciously controlling how we are being perceived
  • How impressions are formed
  • The experiments that Long and his colleague conducted
  • Why leaders want to be seen as competent
  • What to do as a newcomer in a company
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Deborah HewittEpisode 49: July 19, 2016
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Episode 49: July 19, 2016

The Ramifications of Brexit

Brexit has been the topic of political and economic decisions for months, and now the reality of a British exit from the European Union is reshaping global markets and politics in Europe. Deborah Hewitt is Clinical Professor of Economics and Finance at William & Mary, and she joins us to answer all of our questions about Brexit.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What started the process that became the Brexit vote
  • Why stocks tanked when the Brexit vote happened
  • What the European Union countries should think about the exit
  • The business lessons to be learned from Brexit

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Episode 28: February 23, 2016

Past, Present, and Future of Big Data

Big Data has been the hot topic in business for the past few years. Businesses and organizations are hiring people with experience in data management more than ever, and business schools are adding programs in data and analytics to get ahead of the curve. Dr. Hector Guerrero is a professor of Operations and Information Technology at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. We chat with him today about what Big Data means, how it got started, and why it's the future.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What is big data?
  • The history of big data, where it started
  • The kinds of software you can use, including Excel
  • How programs in MBAs now focus on business analytics
  • What kinds of people might be interested in big data
  • How big data is changing business

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 Bob Williams
Bob WilliamsEpisode 27: February 16, 2016
Leading vs. Managing

Bob Williams

Episode 27: February 16, 2016

Leading vs. Managing

Successful organizations need both leaders and managers. The skill sets of each of these roles varies greatly, and each one requires a different type of person. Bob Williams has had a long career in leadership positions, and now teaches leadership and management to corporate clients and business students alike. Listen in to learn the characteristics of leaders and managers and why both are important to organizations.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • Why leaders and managers are very different
  • How some managers want to become leaders for the wrong reasons
  • What a leaders role is in terms of looking into the future
  • The characteristics of a manager
  • How the Great Recession changed business models and changed roles of leaders and managers
  • Why leaders need to be great communicators
  • Why leaders are okay with failure
  • What future leaders of today should consider when being interviewed for leadership positions
  • What it's like to work with John Maxwell
  • What the highest level of leadership means

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 Inga Carboni
Inga CarboniEpisode 17: December 8, 2015
Strategic Networking

Inga Carboni

Episode 17: December 8, 2015

Strategic Networking

Dr. Inga Carboni is an expert at networking and managing networks, and teaches others how to successfully manage the networks in their lives. She is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Amazon Music/Audible | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What are leadership networks?
  • What it means to design a strategic network
  • Why social capital is so important
  • How the higher up you are in the organization, the more time you should spend on interacting with people
  • Why you need to give to the people you want to network with
  • Why the quantity of relationships is not as important as the quality
  • Some of the challenges of strategic networking
  • How active listening is a key to networking

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 Dawn Edmiston
Dawn EdmistonEpisode 5: September 22, 2015
Building Your Personal Brand

Dawn Edmiston

Episode 5: September 22, 2015

Building Your Personal Brand

Dawn Edmiston is a professor of Marketing and knows how important our online reputations are. She discusses how to make sure your online presence is looking its best for future employers, and how to start managing your reputation on the Internet.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Amazon Music/Audible | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What is a personal brand
  • How to develop a personal brand promise and why it is important
  • How to develop your profile on LinkedIn
  • Why buying yourname.com is important
  • What to put on your LinkedIn profile and what not to include
  • What other social media channels you should use to promote your personal brand
  • How LinkedIn can work for you
  • How much time to spend on social media

More Podcast Episodes