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 Jeanne Wilson
Jeanne WilsonEpisode 184: October 5, 2022
Leading Remote Teams

Jeanne Wilson

Episode 184: October 5, 2022

Leading Remote Teams

Whether your organization has embraced remote work or a hybrid model, managing and leading a remote team can be challenging. For many managers, it’s a real source of frustration. If it’s causing you headaches, perhaps you’re leading the way you did when everyone was in the office. If that’s the case, our guest says your leadership style needs updating in order to succeed in our new environment. Dr. Jeanne Wilson is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the William & Mary School of Business. She’s an expert in teams; she researches and teaches co-located and distributed teams, and teams across organizational boundaries. She says to be an effective leader in a remote setting, managers and leaders have to let go of their old way of leading.

Podcast (audio)

Jeanne Wilson: Leading Remote Teams TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What challenges managers are facing when leading remote teams
  • How to build a culture through remote working
  • What can managers do to measure results instead of activity
  • What are the risks of managing remote workers
  • How can managers resolve geographic conflicts
  • What should employees do to maximize their remote working
  • What communication skills are important for remote workers
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. Whether your organization has embraced remote work or a hybrid model, managing and leading a remote team can be challenging. For many managers, it's a real source of frustration. If it's causing you headaches, perhaps you're leading the way you did when everyone was in the office. If that's the case, our guest says your leadership style needs update in order to succeed in our new environment. Dr. Jeanne Wilson is a professor of organizational behavior at the William & Mary School of Business. She's an expert in teams. She researches and teaches co-located and distributed teams and teams that cross organizational boundaries. She says to be an effective leader in a remote setting, managers, and leaders have to let go of their old way of leading. Here's our conversation with Professor Jeanne Wilson.

Ken White

Well, Jeanne, thanks for being with us. I appreciate it. Welcome to the podcast.

Jeanne Wilson

Sure. Thank you.

Ken White

So this is something almost every manager I run into is talking about how do I lead my remote team? When you're working/talking with working professionals, what kind of things are you hearing about them leading remote teams today?

Jeanne Wilson

It is a big source of frustration and, I think, confusion. So as everybody's read about, companies have tried to pull employees back in. There's been a lot of resistance to it. And I think one of the primary problems is that organizations and managers, of course, are having a hard time articulating why they need people in the office. When they do attempt to send that message, they sort of wave the we need to build our culture or maintain our culture flag. And that doesn't make sense to employees. They don't understand that it's too amorphous. And so they're just not providing a coherent message about why people need to be in the office, and people are resisting.

Ken White

And can we build a culture with remote employees?

Jeanne Wilson

Absolutely. Of course. A culture is just accepted way of doing things, and it's just that managers aren't familiar with building a culture remotely or at a distance, so they're resisting it.

Ken White

I think what I hear mostly from managers and leaders is they're kind of confusing. Is someone busy at home, or are they productive? And when they're not busy, they get a little irritated. What are you hearing from that standpoint?

Jeanne Wilson

That's certainly the employee's perspective. So I think, unfortunately, over the years, managers have gotten in the habit of using proxies for performance. I see your butt in the seat. Therefore you must be productive. And they're familiar with that way of judging people, and they're having a hard time converting to managing strictly by results.

Ken White

So what can the manager do to make sure that they do, in fact, look at results as opposed to activity?

Jeanne Wilson

So obviously, the manager and the employee have to agree on what constitutes. How am I going to evaluate your performance? What constitutes results? The employees will have some perspective on that, but once there's clear agreement on how performance will be evaluated, then a lot of objections fall by the wayside.

Ken White

It doesn't seem like many people are having those conversations, though.

Jeanne Wilson

Sadly, they're not.

Ken White

That's sort of the problem here, right?

Jeanne Wilson

Exactly.

Ken White

Yeah. So what advice do you have for someone who's leading a remote team to make sure things are going the right way?

Jeanne Wilson

Well, there's a lot they can do and a lot of things they need to be on the lookout for things to avoid. So one of the concerns in managing a remote team, particularly if some of the team is remote and some of the team is not remote, one of the risks is that managers can inadvertently create a proximal in group and treat people who are in the office differently than they treat people who are not in the office. So I think if managers are self-aware about that, they can counteract that. But if they're not thinking about it, I think those dynamics can crop up. So that's one thing to be on the lookout for.

Ken White

And that could easily cause a divide in the team.

Jeanne Wilson

Absolutely. Completely.

Ken White

And then cause people to either be irritated or just flat out leave.

Jeanne Wilson

That's right.

Ken White

Yeah.

Jeanne Wilson

So one of the things from the employees perspective about this transition is equity and fairness. So we talked earlier about employees don't understand why decisions are being made the way that they are. So they may infer that things are unfair because they don't understand why some managers have to be clear about who gets to work remotely and why what are the boundaries. And just like with managing employees who are co-located, we like to encourage managers to set just a few limits and then give employees as much choice or voice as they possibly can, particularly in this climate where employees have more options than they ever have before. Obviously, managers want to keep employees satisfied. They want to avoid the phenomenon that everybody's talking about with quiet quitting. And one way to do that is to give employees as much choice in how they work as you possibly can to set as few rational limits and let employees make decisions beyond that.

Ken White

It seems mostly like a communication issue.

Jeanne Wilson

Doesn't everything boil down to that?

Ken White

I guess it does, yeah. But almost everything you're saying is we just need to talk. We need to talk.

Jeanne Wilson

Right. We need to come to agreement.

Ken White

What's the difference? What are some of the hurdles that you think people are running into today with hybrid teams or remote teams versus the old way of managing? What are some of the differences?

Jeanne Wilson

So one issue that managers need to be on the lookout for is something called fault lines. So fault lines occur when multiple demographic or work characteristics align to create subgroups. So if, for instance, all the accountants are in Atlanta and all the finance people are in New York, that has the potential to create a fault line. So, where accountants and finance people might have a level five conflict, ordinarily, if now they're separated by geography in addition to function, that creates a fault line, and the conflict gets boosted up to a ten. So one of the things managers should be on the lookout for are those kinds of overlapping characteristics that create subgroups because that will just exacerbate conflict in their groups. And if you have a situation that's unavoidable where, for instance, because of historical factors, all the accountants are in Atlanta, and all the finance people are in New York, what you need to do is organize across the fault line. So if you're going to have people working on stuff, don't give the accountants part A and the finance people part B. Have an accountant work with a finance person on part A and organize across that fault line to keep lines of communication open.

Ken White

So that's great advice for the manager. What about the employee? What's some advice you have for the employee to make sure they're being recognized, they're getting work done, they feel good about all of this?

Jeanne Wilson

Actually, a lot of the burden for being successful on this system does fall on the employee, particularly now, because managers haven't quite figured it out yet. So if you're going to advocate for working remotely, you have to kind of work overtime to keep yourself salient in the eyes of the boss. So one thing that happens, psychological process that happens at a distance, is that it changes people, what's called their construal levels. So they think about distant people differently than they think about co-located people, and they think about their distant employees at a more abstract level of construal. So rather than thinking Ken is really good at communicating in front of executive audiences, but he needs to work on whatever, I'm just making stuff up is what communication skills. That's kind of a concrete level of construal about your skills. At a distance, managers are more likely to think Ken good or Ken bad.

Ken White

Woah.

Jeanne Wilson

They have kind of a global construal about you. And so, as an employee, what you need to do is counteract that by making your work more concrete. So rather than saying, oh, I had a really productive day today, you have to make your accomplishments concrete so you can help the manager and develop a more specific view about you to say whatever, I had a great meeting with one of our key clients, and they agreed to X, so the manager thinks more specifically about you. So that's one thing.

Ken White

So it sounds like communicating up is more important today.

Jeanne Wilson

And in a very specific way.

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Jeanne Wilson 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 Professor Jeanne Wilson.

Ken White

So should employees reach out? Should they take the responsibility to find that way to reach out to the boss?

Jeanne Wilson

If the boss doesn't do it? Absolutely. So one of the things, of course, that's a problem managing at a distance is you don't have all the usual queues that you would ordinarily when employees are in the office. So I see Ken has a stack of stuff that's 2ft deep on his desk. He must be very busy. All of those queues are missing. So you have to make those queues explicit in regular meetings with your boss. So again, this comes back to a psychological process about how people attribute problem. So most people probably know the fundamental attribution error, which is if you see a problem employee, we are more likely to attribute that problem to the person rather than the situation. So we say Joe is lazy as opposed to Joe is swamped with work, which is a situational explanation. So when employees are working at a distance, it further obscures all those situational explanations for why they might be having problems at work. They are overloaded, or something else is going on. All of that is going to be invisible to their remote boss. So they have to learn to make that explicit with their boss.

Ken White

That's hard for some people to do. I was talking to one of our MBAs who interned this summer, fully remote. I said, how did it go? And he said, It ended up being wonderful. But at the beginning, it was so difficult. Nobody was reaching out to him. He sort of felt he was on that island and, especially as a younger professional new to the organization, wasn't sure how to communicate. Fortunately for him, the manager did eventually reach out, and then they got the relationship. But if that manager doesn't reach out, the employees got to figure out how to communicate.

Jeanne Wilson

A hundred percent, and that's a unique and particular problem for new employees. So if you're accustomed to working for Frank, and you've worked for him for three years, going remote is not going to be such a big issue because Frank already either trusts you or doesn't trust you. But if you're a new employee, then you have to work even harder to establish that relationship. And there are two communication skills in particular that are extra important in remote work for employees. One, you might not anticipate, and that's to disclose. So some people are you probably may have noticed that some people are natural disclosures. You talk to them for five minutes, and you know all about what's going on in their lives. Those are like velcro. Those are like hooks that you can attach to and form a relationship. Other people are not accustomed or not inclined to disclose. So there aren't those velcro hooks that other people can attach to. So they need to learn how to disclose things about themselves, so other people can build a relationship with them at a distance. And, of course, that's kind of a curve linear relationship. You can disclose too much, but you probably have to disclose more working remotely than you do when you're co-located because some things about you are just going to be obvious from observation when you're co-located. Now you're going to have to make some of those things explicit.

Ken White

I can just hear the introverts saying, oh no, you got to be.

Jeanne Wilson

Okay, here's the funny thing. It turns out that introverts, especially when they're working in groups, are actually more effective remotely than they are when they're co-located. Anyway, that's a fun fact.

Ken White

That's very interesting. Yes. Well, there seems to be a lot written about introverts, the power of introverts, and it's okay to be an introvert, and you can add a great deal to a team if you're that way.

Jeanne Wilson

In a remote team without a designated leader, introverts are more likely to become a leader in a remote team than they are to become a leader in a co-located team. For reasons that are kind of technical, we don't need to go into them.

Ken White

Yeah, interesting. Right before we started to record, I said it seems like a lot of managers and leaders who are struggling with the hybrid environment or the remote environment are a little reluctant. And you shared sort of an analogy about an airplane. Can you share that? Because I think that just nails it.

Jeanne Wilson

Yeah, the way I envision it is sort of like those show by planes where you've got a wing walker out on the plane, and he's got a grasp of one span of the wing, and he is not going to let go of that until he has kind of a firm grasp on another span. And I think what's happening is managers are unwilling to give up this old way of working or evaluating people until they feel comfortable with this new way. So we've got to get them feeling comfortable with this new way of working. Otherwise, they're going to keep managing people by how often they see them working, which is kind of an unfortunate proxy for performance.

Ken White

They've got to let go of the one handle and grab the other one.

Jeanne Wilson

Yeah, they've got to get a handle on the new one, and then they'll let go of the old one.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Jeanne Wilson. 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 Jeanne Wilson. And thanks to you for listening. 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

 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)

Podcast (platforms)

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

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.

More Podcast Episodes

 David Long
David LongEpisode 180: July 21, 2022
Retaining Your Employees

David Long

Episode 180: July 21, 2022

Retaining Your Employees

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)

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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

Podcast (audio)

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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)

Podcast (platforms)

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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.

Podcast (audio)

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

Podcast (platforms)

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

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)

Podcast (platforms)

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

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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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

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.

Podcast (audio)

Podcast (platforms)

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

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.

More Podcast Episodes

 Inga Carboni
Inga CarboniEpisode 103: February 13, 2018
Gender Dynamics in the Workplace

Inga Carboni

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 weeks. But of all the 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—an issue—forward.

Podcast (audio)

Inga Carboni: Gender Dynamics in the Workplace TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Podcast (platforms)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • How to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace
  • What shapes an individual's 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
  • How the #metoo movement has influenced business practices
  • Should the genders have separate discussions regarding harassment
  • How to have healthy cross-gender relationships in the workplace
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The podcast 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. 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 the 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 on the podcast today to discuss what professionals can do to move the sexual harassment discussion and issue forward. Here's our conversation with William & Mary Professor Inga Carboni.

Ken White

Inga, thank you for taking the time to join us. It's your second time on the podcast. Great to have you back. Thanks for being here.

Inga Carboni

Thanks. Great to be here. Thanks for asking.

Ken White

So you and I were talking earlier. You've actually had a couple of good group conversations about this topic with graduate students and professionals. What were those conversations like? What were some of the things they talked about, and how people reacted?

Inga Carboni

You know it's really interesting. So I've talked now to, as you said, a couple of groups of people. And the thing that keeps coming up over and over again is how do I deal with these situations. And I'm hearing this from men, I'm hearing this from women, and there's a lot of confusion about what's expected of me in this situation. I have people who, in examining the exact same situation, have diametrically opposed interpretations of it. So that goes everything from, oh, that is sexual harassment, that guy should be fired, to, you know, stuff like that rolls off. I don't think it's such a big deal. So how do you figure that out? I think it's something that's becoming a real concern.

Ken White

So there's just a huge range of understanding.

Inga Carboni

Yeah. And you know everybody has. So the questions that one group asked me was, how do I deal with it when somebody crosses the line? And we started talking about it, and it became really clear that everybody's line is different. And like I said, something that's incredibly offensive to one person is nothing, and even a sign of you're one of the group for another person. And so the issue becomes how do you express your line. How do you communicate your line in a way that keeps conversation going that doesn't shut things down? And that can be really tricky.

Ken White

And very difficult.

Inga Carboni

Yeah, it can be really difficult.

Ken White

Are you seeing, in general, women saying one thing, men saying another, one generation saying one thing, one generation saying another, or is it actually individual all of these differences?

Inga Carboni

I think it's shaped by so many things. It has to do with how you were raised. You know what part of the country or what part of the world you're from. Sure it has to do with age. It has to do with your experiences. Certainly, somebody who came into the workplace in the 70s has a very different take on what's normal exchange than somebody who came into the workplace just a few years ago. But there's so many dimensions along which people differ that it really ends up being pretty much individual, I would say.

Ken White

Where does power come into play?

Inga Carboni

Oh yeah, power is huge, and power is huge because it silences people. So when you're not in a position of power, it's much harder to speak up because it seems like the consequences are bigger. Am I going to lose my job? Am I going to get a reputation for being difficult? Am I going to be dismissed? Those are very real consequences. And you know we're seeing this explosion with the hashtag me too movement, and people are sort of saying, where did all this come from? Where's this coming from? But there's people out there in the forefront who started it, and that makes a big difference seeing someone else say something and then feeling like, oh, all right, I'm looking at their consequences. Maybe I can say my you know what means matters to me too.

Ken White

Right.

Inga Carboni

So power definitely plays a role in this, you know.

Ken White

You and I interact with many young women about to embark on their careers are still fairly early in their careers. What kind of advice do you have if they experience something? What do they do when they're new to an organization?

Inga Carboni

So one of the things is, first of all, to sort of think about it. We spend a lot of time talking with our students about how to put their ethical values into action, and in a way, this is related to that, so prepare yourself stuff like this is going to happen. Surround yourself with people either in your workplace or in your rest of your network who you can talk to who you can run scenarios through. Who you can talk to about how things might happen? Prepare yourself in ways to talk about this that don't that aren't all or none that don't say I quit or I'm blowing up this company, but that say, listen, this is my line. I don't know if you know this. I want to communicate it to you. I still really want to work with you, but I need you to know this is my line. I mean, there's clearly some things that we've heard in the news, particularly that is way over anybody's line.

Ken White

Right.

Inga Carboni

But a lot of this falls into a gray area. So I would advise people going out into the workplace. Prepare yourself. Think about this how are you going to handle it? Are you the kind of person who handles things like this with humor? Do you need to step away and then come back? Are you the person who needs to send an email? You know, think this out and think about to your relationship with the people you work with and work for. Argue entering a place where you can talk.

Ken White

Right, and just talk on that point. Talking, have you found that people are willing to talk about this? It seems like, at least from the conversations you've been having, you share with me with people. People are kind of willing to talk about it.

Inga Carboni

Oh, there's another range there too. I mean, some people I talked about this the other night in a class, and there was a large percentage of the room that was I very wary scared even to have a conversation. And I think the fear is that you're going to be accidentally, you know, sexist, or some kind of ist without meaning to you're going to offend somebody without wanting to. And that's another real problem where people get so fearful of it. They back away, and one possible outcome of that is that they back away with working with people who are not exactly like themselves. So yeah, no, I think a lot of people have a difficulty talking about this, and I think it's something that we have to learn how to talk about. Otherwise, nothing's going to change or get better.

Ken White

You work with many organizations and all different types of sectors and fields. How do you? What kind of advice do you have for them in terms of creating inclusivity? Creating that right environment because that's a big hurdle.

Inga Carboni

It's a lot about reaching out, and it's a lot about inviting people in. So making sure that you're hearing from everybody. Don't let some people sort of fall silent and not be okay. Invite them in. Haven't heard from you like to hear your thoughts. I'd like to see what you have to say or your opinion on this matter. So that's a huge part of it. Part of it is role modeling what the behaviors that you want to encourage other people to do so you might express some vulnerabilities to people. You might let them see you have an interaction with somebody where you're in a disagreement, but you resolve it. Don't shut, you know, don't shut down conflict, don't throw it away but use it as leverage and a tool for having productive conversations. So role modeling is important. Reaching out to people is important ensuring participation is important. You know, there's a lot of about being trustworthy and just building those relationships. That's one of the number one things that I teach, and I teach leadership is build relationships with people, get to know them get to know what makes them, what motivates them, how they work, and make it comfortable for them. Make it possible for them to be able to speak because they'll know you're listening.

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Professor Inga Carboni in just a minute. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education is offering business analytics for strategic leaders starting April 18. It's a two-and-a-half-day program for executives, high-potential managers, and business owners who want a greater understanding of business analytics and how analytics can be used to build a data-driven organization. The programs taught by the award-winning faculty who teach in William & Mary's Master of Science and Business Analytics program. To learn more about it, visit wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Professor Inga Carboni.

Ken White

There's so much being debated and talked about so much information about the topic just in the last couple of months. Has this had an effect on the way organizations do train and affect on the way organizations are communicating to their employees about this?

Inga Carboni

I think that they are as confused as the rest of us in how to handle this, in terms of things like the hashtag me too movement. I think there's lots more going on around sexual harassment, lots more training going on around that but around the other more sort of awkward scenarios, the scenarios where someone says something that some people might take the wrong way. But some people don't. And, of course, office romance and how that's handled. You know, someone wants to go out on a date and all that kind of mishmash. I don't think they're handling it very well right now. And they're not sure what to do. And I think the worst thing that could happen is what I have seen happening in some places is that fear kicks in, and people are like, all right. You know what. Let's just avoid any kind of potential litigation. Let's keep everything separate. Let's not talk about this for the possibility of ruffling feathers, and I don't think that's the way forward. So I don't see a lot of organizations really having come up with some answers to this. I'm hoping that that will start to happen.

Ken White

But just based on your experience, just talking about it has really been helpful.

Inga Carboni

Yeah.

Ken White

Sit down and talk in a group.

Inga Carboni

Yeah. You sit down and talk about it. It helps to have a little of training in it.

Ken White

Sure.

Inga Carboni

Or somebody there who can help facilitate a conversation.

Ken White

Absolutely, yeah.

Inga Carboni

Because you know those are going to they're sometimes charged. These are charged topics and learning how to interact with people and to let them have their say and then yet to step in there and share. I see good managers do this all the time and good leaders do this all the time, but it's hard. And yeah, that's just sort of have to step in.

Ken White

I'm interested in your opinion on this. A professional came to me the other day and said that she was going to recommend that her organization have discussions. If you'd like to come, please come make yourself comfortable going to talk. She thought it was the best way to go was to separate the genders in the discussions. What do you think?

Inga Carboni

You know I've got mixed feelings on that. So women definitely have a different experience than men do. And there's a different history there and a different subculture there. So I think it can be very beneficial certainly in the beginning for women to have a place maybe where they feel a little safer to have these discussions, especially women who aren't used to having those kinds of discussions, and men may need something a little bit different in terms of raised awareness of what's going on. But I think at some point, we're gonna have to get men and women talking to each other. Right. That's the whole point. We don't want this to turn into women have to be put in a separate room or something like that. You know, we've got to learn how to work together if we're going to get through this and have a truly diverse workforce. And there's sort of no going back. We have to go forward and do that.

Ken White

But maybe starting off separate, I could see that maybe people will be a little more comfortable in a setting like that. Maybe.

Inga Carboni

I think now, in this highly charged, it might be the way to start. And I just say that because there are so many emotions around this. For men, for women, that maybe that's a safer place to start. And it's probably a little easier, too, for organizations, but it can't stop there. It can't be a segregated thing where it turns into almost more of a support group. Then let's learn how to talk to each other productively.

Ken White

Do you have any advice for women and men today in terms of their the relationships that they have, whether it's a direct report, whether it's managing up, whether it's dealing with colleagues? How do you go into work today and make sure that you're having healthy relationships and getting work done too? Because that's why we're going to work in the first place.

Inga Carboni

Well, I think more and more managers and leaders are understanding that you can't lead without people right. You can't still lead in a vacuum. And the only real way to do that is to find out what is it that you can do and how conversations that you can have to bring people in a certain direction. And there's just no way around it other than getting to know people. And so inquiring and asking questions reaching out, and then as a person entering into the workplace feeling that you have the right to be able to sort of express yourself and bring your real authentic self into the workplace and not feel like you have to conform to a standard that that doesn't fit you. You find the right organization that it's got a good cultural fit for you, and you shouldn't have to feel like you're some kind of outsider looking in. So it has a lot to do with starting those conversations. It's lots of small things. You know, it's not like you should go in there, and here's the five things, and once you do those, you're your team, and your relationships are off to a good start. It's ongoing. It's creating an atmosphere. It's creating a certain culture. It's creating a safe place where you can not only say things like you're crossing the line, but you can also say things like, you know, this might be a crazy idea, but here's what I think we might want to do on this project or you know I might be wrong or maybe we should go about this project a different way. So you're not just bringing sort of the what's going on. You're not just forming those relationships in order to find points of connection for the purpose of people feeling included. I mean, that's definitely one of the benefits. But when you start opening up those channels, and people feel they can bring their real self, then they can also contribute to the work in a fuller, deeper way. They can bring all their experiences into work and use that to fuel the work. And we find that when people can do that. Teams are more productive when you can really leverage diversity in that way in a really inclusionary way. Performance goes up. Productivity goes up. Satisfaction goes up. Organizational performance goes up. So lots of work-related positive work-related outcomes come out of this.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Professor Inga Carboni. And that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization meet and exceed your goals. With business and leadership development programs that fit your needs and get results. If you're interested in learning more, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Also, if you have any feedback or suggestions pertaining to our podcast, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest Inga Carboni. Thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Michael Luchs
Michael LuchsEpisode 73: February 28, 2017
Design Thinking

Michael Luchs

Episode 73: February 28, 2017

Design Thinking

Never before have we seen such a time of disruption and innovation throughout all fields of business. Companies, organizations, 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.

Podcast (audio)

Michael Luchs: Design Thinking TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Podcast (platforms)

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

Show Notes and Transcript
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
  • The significance of the role of failure
  • The different types of failure
  • How to effectively collaborate
  • How are design thinking and leadership tied together
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The weekly 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, regardless of your field or business, chances are it's being disrupted. Never before have we seen such a time of disruption and innovation. Companies, organizations, and leaders must be forward-thinking just to survive today. Well, over the last decade, new product design and innovation grew significantly, as did design thinking growing in popularity and visibility. The world's leading companies embraced design thinking. It's led to groundbreaking new products and services. Today's guest, William & Mary business professor Michael Luchs says design thinking is a highly effective approach for identifying and creatively solving business problems and opportunities. He joins us on the podcast today to discuss design thinking, the framework behind it, and how you and your organization can embrace it to succeed moving forward. Here's our conversation with Professor Michael Luchs.

Ken White

Michael, thank you for taking time to join us on a very interesting topic. We appreciate you being here.

Michael Luchs

Yeah. Thank you for having me.

Ken White

So for those who are unfamiliar with design thinking, how do you define it to those who don't get it?

Michael Luchs

Well, one of the first things I often do is sort of I reassure people it's not about being a designer because I think the name is a little misleading, but it means thinking like a designer and approaching problems the way a designer would. And so one of the first things that a designer often will do is spend time exploring a problem, and oftentimes as business people, I think we jump too quickly to trying to come up with solutions, and we haven't really explored the problem, so really at its heart design thinking is a creative problem-solving methodology that begins first with sufficiently exploring and defining the problem you're trying to solve.

Ken White

So problem-centric.

Michael Luchs

That's absolutely right.

Ken White

How is that different from other approaches we use and have used?

Michael Luchs

Well, let me sort of, you know, walk you through a few ways in which design thinking is different from sort of conventional problem solving a business because there's some pretty fundamental differences. Well, first of all, design thinking isn't something you want to use all the time. And so it's important to sort of understand when you want to use design thinking. Conventional problem-solving approaches are fantastic when you have incremental change in mind. So, for example, let's say you're in the housing industry, and you want to develop housing that's specifically tailored to millennials. And so you're going to go out and sort of find out what are the latest housing trends you're gonna make it hip and convenient etc. So if you're looking for incremental innovation, conventional problem-solving approaches work well. Design thinking is really most relevant when you're trying to do something that's dramatically different or in a situation where you have a sense there's an opportunity, but it isn't really well-defined. So, for example, sticking with the housing context, let's say that you're thinking about new housing developments for millennials, and you're looking around you, and you're seeing all these different sort of experiments with the sharing economy, Airbnb, and you know Uber, and Lyft and so forth and you're saying huh I wonder how that might apply to housing what could I do differently. So I don't know exactly what it is I'm going to build yet. I need to spend some time really exploring and understanding, and so that's a good example of when design thinking would be more relevant.

Ken White

So more dramatically different.

Michael Luchs

More dramatically different, so if you're looking for radical innovation or if it's a new opportunity that nobody really has offered anything significant yet. So there's no real precedent you can just sort of emulate and improve upon, but you're looking to kind of be the first mover.

Ken White

And it seems like, and you interact with business professionals daily, it seems like everyone is being disrupted. Every field is in the midst of innovation. So am I correct in assuming that more and more people are implementing and embracing design thinking?

Michael Luchs

Absolutely. People are using it more and more, and it's, you know, they don't always know that they're using design thinking. This is becoming actually, I think, part of our business culture. And so you'll see organizations out there that say they have design thinking departments, they have facilitators. Google has their own methodology called the Google sprint. But I think if you if you dive into lots of organizations, they're using a lot of the tools and approaches of design thinking, but they maybe don't call it that per se.

Ken White

In your book, you talk about the framework, and you talk about discover, define, create, and evaluate. Can you walk us through that? Is discover first is this you also say it's not quite linear but at least to explain it that somewhat has to be.

Michael Luchs

Yeah. So to explain it, I'll do it in a linear fashion and then sort of explain how it's really much more of an iterative process. So oftentimes, it does begin with, as I mentioned before, trying to identify the problem to solve. And the first step in doing that is to discover, and discover can mean a lot of different things in different contexts, but it means learning about the market. But in particular, about the user, and that's one of the hallmarks of design thinking is it is very people-centric. It is not product or technology-centric. And so that once you're looking for solutions, you might have product or technology solutions, but we really start with discovering people and the context of usage. And so that's the Discover mode. The next mode is to define and defining the problems identifying the problems that you most want to solve. The ones that you think have the greatest potential intuitively you believe that they have the biggest opportunity for your business. The next mode is about creating. So now we're into solving the problem. But importantly, we've got a very specific problem that we've identified. And so you want to generate lots of different solutions and an experiment. And so it's not just a matter of brainstorming. It's also a matter of prototyping, and prototyping means something a little bit different in design thinking. But we try to create or simulate the experience of what the new product or service would be like for the user. And we don't develop prototypes to necessarily sell the idea to someone. Really we use these as prompts. They're probes so that we can learn more about people's needs. And that's where the final mode of design thinking comes in, and that's to evaluate, and that's really to use these initial ideas or these prototypes so that we can evaluate our solution and learn more. And that's where the iteration really continues on instead of saying. Well, they that's, you know, the best solution possible, and it stopped there. You go back to the beginning in a sense, and you say, what if I learned new about the user? How does that change how I think about the problem? Do I want to define the problem differently?

Ken White

Right.

Michael Luchs

And so, you could iterate around defining the problem in a more specific useful way, or you could iterate around the solutions and say I got some initial feedback, I now know more, and I want to go back and generate some additional ideas and explore this a little bit more before I lock in on something just because it's feasible or just because it feels at the moment like a good idea.

Ken White

So it's very customer-centric. How much time A, how much time is involved, and B, how do you interact with the customers? How's that process take place?

Michael Luchs

Well, in terms of how you interact with people, it depends on the usage context. A lot of different qualitative techniques. But that's probably one of the other, you know, differences versus conventional problem-solving methods. With design thinking, you using qualitative techniques like observation using in-depth interviews but all sorts of ways to try to understand things that you don't know, you know, sort of a priori to look for. And so with quantitative research, we can, you know, develop a survey and send it out and quantify things.

Ken White

Right.

Michael Luchs

But really, what we're trying to do with design thinking is explore and understand, and so that's qualitative. How much time you devote to this really depends on how big the opportunity is, what your resources are, and how big the changes that you're looking for, which is why you only use design thinking in some situations because it does take time and it does take expertise to actually do qualitative research and do it well. And it's not just a matter of going out and doing an interview knowing how to synthesize or make sense of that interview data is a real skill. And that's something that we teach as well.

Ken White

Expertise, so I just can't grab a group and do this. So are, you mentioned some companies actually hire, I assume, and I know you work with a lot of companies you need somebody to lead the process.

Michael Luchs

Yes, but the good news is not everybody that contributes needs to understand the process. They need to understand maybe the framework in sort of the spirit of it, or so people refer to the mindset you absolutely need a skilled facilitator. And this is the sort of thing that companies that just try to do it. It's there's so many cultural norms that you're you're sort of bumping up against it's really hard to sort of stay on track and not fall back into conventional patterns. But in terms of the rest of the participants, really, what you're looking for is the maximum diversity possible in terms of perspectives. And so you want people from customer service, in particular people that are interfacing with the customer. You want people that are going to represent the technology side of the business, the finance side, but you're looking for a lot of different perspectives. And here's something that's a little kind of. It sounds crazy but can be really helpful sometimes. Bringing customers in to be part of brainstorming sessions can be really useful as well and give you insights and keep you honest in ways that you know you know, again we fall back into conventional modes of thinking when we're just surrounded by people that are familiar with what we're already doing and that's a recipe for incremental innovation.

Ken White

And we always say we know our customer. That's our field. We know these people.

Michael Luchs

And we do know the customer of yesterday.

Ken White

Yeah.

Michael Luchs

We don't necessarily understand where things are headed.

Ken White

Interesting.

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Professor Michael Luchs in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. If you're looking to expand your business leadership skills, the Center for Corporate Education has a terrific program for you. The certificate in business management is a five-day program that runs from April 10th through April 14th here at William & Mary. Each eight-hour day will be dedicated to an important facet of business, including communication, managerial accounting, business strategy, operational effectiveness, and executive leadership. The program helps you broaden your professional skills and helps you think and lead strategically and successfully. For more information, visit wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation on design thinking with William & Mary business professor Michael Luchs.

Ken White

You mentioned discover, define, create, and evaluate. There are other frameworks, but yet they're somewhat very similar. Right.

Michael Luchs

Right. And anybody who's schooled in any of the sort of the major frameworks in design thinking will be able to map onto other frameworks. And so you know, whether it's sort of, you know, five modes or four modes, etc., at their heart, they really all share this idea of identifying the problems to solve and then solving them in an iterative fashion. Some of them tend to be more sort of oriented towards consumer products. Others are more sort of open to a lot of different contexts. But the frameworks are very similar.

Ken White

The role of failure is important in design thinking. Can you tell us a little bit about the role of failure?

Michael Luchs

It's really important, and I think it's often misunderstood, and it's even become popular to say that, yeah, we need to encourage failure. And I think there's an important sort of nuance to this, and I'm gonna borrow off of Amy Edmondson, who's at Harvard, and she talks about different types of failure, and so we'll start with kind of, you know, a conventional predictable type of failure in operations so predictable operational failures. These are not failures that are valuable. Right. So, for example, in the context of a flight and travel, if the maintenance processes broke down, parts weren't available because somebody didn't follow the rules and the regulations. That's a preventable failure. And there's no value derived from that. Right. Another type of failure she talks about are the unavoidable failures in complex systems, and so travel is complex when you have something like a major northeastern storm that disrupts travel as much as you planned for those situations, and you have contingencies each of those situations is somewhat unique, and you're going to end up with things you can't completely control. So you manage your best, and you acknowledge that that's going to happen. The type of failure, though, that we're open to with design thinking are what she refers to as intelligent failures at the frontier. And so what that means is you're actually willing to conduct some small-scale experiments to learn more about the user so that you can really innovate. So again, sticking with the context of flight, let's say, for example, you're trying to think about how to compete in this hyper-competitive market driven by, you know, things other than the weather, like commodity prices for fuel, etc. Let's say that you wanted to experiment with the idea of a one-month travel pass for customers. Instead of a ticket that you buy, it's a one-month travel pass. It's all you can eat in a sense, with the distinction being that you're flying standby just as people with the airline get to right. So how would people feel about that? Well, that would be really risky to roll that out across the board, and you know, make a big bet, and you know, sort of hang your brand on that, but if you say, you know, we're going to run that in a single market for a month and see how it goes and learn from it that's the type of failure that we should encourage because it's manageable, it's controllable, it's in the interest of trying to do something really innovative.

Ken White

Interesting you talk about briefly the role of collaboration that's key in design thinking.

Michael Luchs

It's really important and collaboration. One of the things I mentioned before was the importance of diversity and having a lot of different perspectives. But the other thing that's interesting, and we teach this as well in sort of, you know, studio and other workshops that we run, is to think about how to get the most from the individual and do that in a group context. So, for example, with brainstorming, there's debate about whether it's best to brainstorm individually, should I do something like that on my own, or should I do that in a group. And our answer is that you want to get the best of both. And so, for example, one of the techniques that we teach is how you brainstorm within a group context in ways that all of your ideas and we use post-its and sharpies and whiteboards, but you want to make sure that all of your ideas are visible to everyone else so that you can inspire other people to think. But also, you have the opportunity to get your ideas out there, and then you have a group discussion to really talk about the ideas, what inspired them, what is useful about them, and how we can evolve those. The problem with getting groups together, particularly, you know, diverse groups, oftentimes is you have one person who's particularly smart or charismatic or just happens to be the de facto boss in that group.

Ken White

Right.

Michael Luchs

And that totally squelches the benefit of having that diverse group. So learning how to facilitate these meetings is an important skill, and that's, and that's, I think, somewhat unique to design thinking.

Ken White

How does design thinking and leadership how are they tied together? What does the leader need to know and do?

Michael Luchs

Well, I think you know what I just talked about actually is relevant to leadership. The first is making sure that you really understand all the different types of people that you can bring into a problem. You're not going to solve it yourself as a leader, but you can be really intentional about the different types of people that you pull in. Second is making sure that either you've got a facilitator there or, if you as the leader want to play this role, that you're very mindful of process in the sense that you're clear about whether you're at the particular moment working on generating ideas or instead debating what problem to solve in the first place. And sometimes, just making sure that the team is focused on the right thing at the right time and everyone's having the same conversation is really important as well. And then the other thing that's really critical too with leadership and design thinking. But I think leadership, in general, is knowing when to move forward. One of the dangers and risks with design thinking is it's very open-ended, which is very powerful, but it's also dangerous in the sense that that could become an infinity loop.

Ken White

Right.

Michael Luchs

And you know, every company has fixed resources and having an intuition about when you've learned enough and when you have enough of a defined solution that then you can move into a more sort of linear product development process. That, again, I think requires some leadership in knowing when to make that call or empowering other people to make that call is important as well.

Ken White

Do you have an example of who's doing this the right way? Who's embraced it, and it's led to some good things?

Michael Luchs

Sure. I think I mentioned Google before, and there are a lot of other organizations out there. Certainly, in the consumer products and technology worlds, and that wouldn't surprise most people. What's interesting, though, is you have organizations in other fields like insurance and finance. For example, this is something that Wall Street has incurred really increasingly embracing. Capital One, I know, has a big sort of innovation center and people that are trained as facilitators. A lot of the major consulting firms, Ernst and Young, Bain, IBM, are training people in these methods as well. And so you see a lot of companies that are talking about design thinking investing in design thinking spaces that enable the types of behaviors that we're talking about. But again, I think this is becoming part of our business culture, and a lot of companies that don't really necessarily think about design thinking explicitly are starting to recognize that there are systematic ways to explore problems. They're starting to recognize the value of qualitative research. They're starting to understand that brainstorming means a lot more than just generating lots of ideas and starting to rethink how you prototype and how you sort of place small bets in an intelligent way. And so I think a lot of companies are embracing this, whether or not they call it Design Thinking.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Michael Luchs, and that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization get to the next level with business and leadership development programs that specifically fit your needs and get results. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunities at the Center for Corporate Education for you or your organization, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Also, we'd love to hear from you regarding our podcast. Please share your comments, thoughts, or suggestions with us. Email us at podcast@wm.edu. That's podcast@wm.edu. Thanks to our guest this week Michael Luchs and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Dawn Edmiston & Phil Heavilin
Dawn Edmiston & Phil HeavilinEpisode 66: December 20, 2016
Finding Your Dream Job in 2017

Dawn Edmiston & Phil Heavilin

Episode 66: December 20, 2016

Finding Your Dream Job in 2017

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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Dawn Edmiston & Phil Heavilin: Finding Your Dream Job in 2017 TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • Why do people job search at the end of the year
  • What questions you should ask yourself before changing careers
  • What is the best way of networking
  • How to approach networking situations
  • The importance of updating a resume
  • How to customize a resume for a specific employer
  • How to write a professional summary
  • Why you should customize your LinkedIn profile
  • How has LinkedIn supplemented professional blogs
  • What other social media tools help with job searches and networking
  • How long should a job search take
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The weekly 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. The end of 2016 and the beginning of a new year. This is the time many professionals decide to take the plunge and change jobs, and it's a good time to do so. 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 New Year, we have two experts on the podcast today to help you make all the right moves. First, Dawn Edmiston is a Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing here at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Dawn works with professionals, clients, and students to improve their personal brands. In addition, she helps people utilize social media strategies in their job searches. Phil Heavilin is Executive Director of the Graduate Career Management Center here at the Mason School. Phil works with countless companies, organizations, and job seekers. He also serves as a career advisor to MBA students and other professionals. Dawn and Phil join us on an extended episode of the podcast today to discuss how you can find the job of your dreams in 2017. Here's our conversation with Dawn Edmiston and Phil Heavilin.

Ken White

Well, Dawn and Phil, thank you for joining us. We're actually recording when are we about the eighth or ninth of December, and for people in an academic setting, this is such a busy time, so thank you for spending time with us. It's great to have you here. Phil, I'll start with you. You oversee the Graduate Career Management Center here in the Mason School of Business at William & Mary. You're constantly working with MBA students and Master's students looking for work. The end of the year search what's it like? Why do people seem to start a search at the end of the year? What's going on with people?

Phil Heavilin

Well, the first thing I would say is that don't take a holiday from your job search. This is a time period where many people will take some time off and maybe go on vacation, which is great. You need that. But if you're either actively seeking a position or really want to make a transition, this is a time to really double down on those activities. On the employer's side, many recruiters, many organizations are trying to fill positions by the end of the year. Maybe they're reaching trying to hit certain numbers. And so, recruiters are very active during this time period. And so you want to take advantage of an opportunity where you have many job candidates who are taking themselves out of the market temporarily, taking a break, a hiatus, but you have recruiters who are actively seeking candidates. This is a great opportunity you double down, get some applications out, reach out to recruiters during this time period. You're really going to put yourself at an advantage where during other times of the year, it's just not the same thing.

Ken White

What about the new year after the New Year? Is it a completely different cycle and setting, then?

Phil Heavilin

You're going to have another ramping up on recruiting activity right at the beginning of the year. And so if you take advantage of, you know, around the holidays where you're doing that outreach, you imagine that people are starting back up January 1st who took that break. They're trying to make some inroads where you've already made them with some of these companies. So it's really important to take advantage during the holidays whereas before or the new year to really get those inroads in with those recruiters.

Ken White

So I have a job. I like it. But I think I might want to look for something else. Is there a checklist or questions I should ask myself before launching a search to make sure I'm actually doing the right thing?

Phil Heavilin

Yeah, something I've mentioned before on a podcast and with clients that I work with is make sure you understand what you're trying to get into rather than what you're just trying to get out of. Really taking stock of what it is that you're doing right now, what is it that you like. What is it that you don't like? Because that's usually the driver for people when they're they're out online, and they're looking at job postings, and they're applying to things on the side. It's usually the dislikes that are driving that activity. So really understanding what that is so that when you make that next move, you're not just duplicating, you're not just getting into a similar situation. So, for example, typically, it's the relationship with a supervisor that's driving people to change jobs. So maybe when you're looking for a new position, and you maybe get deep into the process, really understand who it is that you're going to be working for.

Ken White

Right.

Phil Heavilin

Ask your potential colleagues what it is like working for this individual. You get a lot of good positive feedback, as are opportunities for growth. Making sure that those questions are answered before making that big move into a new position.

Ken White

Is that one of the top reasons that people look at the relationship with the supervisors is not as great as it can be?

Phil Heavilin

That's correct. It is the top reason why people transition out of their current employment.

Ken White

That's number one. So good for supervisors and leaders to know about and good for those possibly seeking a new position. We here and in, the three of us, deal a lot with millennials, many of them just I'm going to go online and apply and apply and apply. Is that the one and only way to do it? What's the best way?

Phil Heavilin

That's a strategy. That's a strategy. If you don't like getting out and networking and meeting with people and just want to apply to job postings, and you really do have to apply literally to thousands, it can be a numbers game at that moment. And that's actually more difficult than networking because people try to manage their job search and try to manage the positions they've applied to. It's just a nightmare because you have an excel spreadsheet with hundreds of companies on there. You really have to. That's part of it, but you really need to get out and just meet with people and the holidays, whether it's pre-holiday or the new year. There's great opportunities to get out and meet people in your industry. There's always a typical networking events which kind of put people off. People feel uncomfortable going in networking events. They feel uncomfortable meeting new people, especially if you characterize yourself as an introvert, but there's other opportunities like volunteer activities where maybe you get attached to an organization or a cause that you really believe in, and so really the byproduct becomes meeting people. And I don't. I've met many people just through my volunteer activity and what you have is now you have something in common with everybody who you're meeting in that in that activity because you all are there. You have a shared interest and a shared goal trying to contribute to this organization, so immediately you have something in common, whereas if you're going to just a general event, networking event, the whole goal is to find someone who has something in common, and so you go through this period of awkward back and forth small talk with the whole purpose of trying to land on something you had an interest in.

Ken White

Dawn, I know you work with clients 18 all the way up in terms of age and experience, and I know you spent a great deal of time talking to them about networking. Networking season beginning a bum rap lately. People are saying don't network, make conversation instead, make friendships, and so forth. How do you position networking, and how do you try to share tips and ideas with people with whom you interact?

Dawn Edmiston

I really like Phil's opening statement that you should never take a holiday from a career search. In fact, I would take that analogy one step further and say that you should give yourself the gift of opportunities of networking of reflection, and the holidays are a great chance to do that. We live in such a hectic environment where it is react react react, and we need to take a moment to reflect. And the holidays are an ideal point to be able to do that. And as we go through that reflection process and as we start thinking about the things that we can do to further contribute our time and our talents. Networking is a critical element of that. And it does at times. In fact, when I was in graduate school, one of the greatest lines I ever heard at a conference was networking is not a negative word.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

And I have often thought about that because I'm an introvert. I'm an introvert by nature. It is very difficult for me, and I know that my students and clients would never believe that, but by nature, this is not this. Even this podcast is not what I would choose to do. However, I am passionate about marketing and passionate about personal branding, and I understand the value of networking. And to Phil's point, if we can think creatively about networking and what works for you, then move forward in and through those channels. And with that, too, we had a brief conversation just before the start of this podcast about how digital technologies allow the introverts and all of us to be able to connect with other individuals. So I was just having a conversation with students about a conference that they are attending during the holidays. And I said to them have you looked on LinkedIn for those individuals who are speaking.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

Have you tried to connect with them in advance because that can help when you approach them at the end of their session and acknowledge what they've shared, and share with them how you value their insights? And that's yet another positive relationship moment. And know we have plenty of those opportunities through digital technologies.

Ken White

There seems to be a lot of discussion, books, articles written about don't treat it as or don't go in and say I'm looking for a job but instead say I'm looking for advice or could you help me. What do you think about that approach?

Dawn Edmiston

No doubt about it. I mean, in a focus, I've said again and again the focus should always be on the other individual's needs because if you are meeting their needs, they will eventually appreciate your value and that that's really where the focus needs to be. We should not be starting with I statements. It should be what you need and how can I contribute to those needs. How can I bring value to you as an individual or as an organization?

Phil Heavilin

I would go piggyback off that and say that when you're reaching out to these people, ask for advice, ask for insight that's you're going to trigger something that's just part of human nature, and as that, we intrinsically we want to help other people. We do. And when people come to us seeking advice and insight, and it's something that we can give. Oh, I know that topic. I feel comfortable sharing that information. That is incredibly fulfilling for that person to be able to meet the need of the individual who is coming to them asking for advice and insight and through that exchange, what you're doing is you are establishing a rapport and establish a relationship that it may be something that turns into a professional opportunity, but it might turn into a mentorship or something down the line. So if you can use that a word advice and that be the goal objective of that initial contact is asking for advice and insight that can launch you into a whole variety of different directions with that person.

Ken White

So if you're looking for a job, go ahead and apply online but make sure that networking must be a part of that. But as Dawn said, don't treat it as a negative. Treat it as an opportunity, a way to meet people, a way to build relationships, and the fact is most people would love to help you, especially if there's a connection right an alma mater, something you both like, the field, whatever that happens to be, and it may not be quite as tough as maybe some people make it sound.

Phil Heavilin

It's tough in the beginning.

Ken White

Yeah right.

Phil Heavilin

We get through a few and what you actually find is that there is a certain rhythm when you meet someone for the first time. There's always initial small talk kind of banter going back and forth, and maybe you identify something that again you have in common, and so you'll find that there's a rhythm to that exchange. And the best way to be successful in that kind of an engagement is to prepare for it. To go into it, whether it's an event or going into or maybe you reached out to someone on LinkedIn and said hey can we schedule 15 20 minute chat and they respond. People are frightened that someone will actually respond to them. I mean, they're frightened. And so when they actually say yes, then having a set of questions half a dozen or so that tap into that person's specific career path. What do they like about that industry? What do they like about that company? And so having some questions established ready ahead of time that's going to give you a little bit more confidence knowing what it is that you're going to actually address with that person, and then you're going to find that there's a rhythm. And then the subsequent conversations you have with people can be easier and easier and, dare I say, fun.

Ken White

Yeah great. So let's back up. I mean, if we were talking about networking, probably the first thing most people will work on when they're seeking a new position is their resume. There don't seem to be necessarily a hard and fast rules. What do you tend to advise people in terms of resume?

Phil Heavilin

Resumes are important to keep up. For one thing, it's difficult, especially if you've been in a position for a few years and you've had some great accomplishments, to then go back a few years after your accomplishments and try to remember the details and then structure, you know an accomplishment statement within your resume that is a good reflection of what you did. That can be very difficult. So as you have these winds currently in your career and in your position, you have your resumé on your desktop on your computer, so you quickly get up there, and just maybe you're not wordsmithing it at that time but just get it up there on your current employment so that if you find yourself either having to transition out you already have something there to work from and you're ready to go.

Ken White

Yeah.

Phil Heavilin

It's got to be one page too. These recruiters they are breezing through these resumes in just a few seconds. So making sure that's one page. It's not a biography. It's just enough to get you the interview. That's what a resume is for. It's just to get you the interview, so giving them everything that you think that they need and that they're looking for. That's the content of the resume.

Dawn Edmiston

And that's actually the most important point at the end. Is what the employer needs from you. It is not a reflection of what you have done. They are not concerned about your titles or your credentials. They want to know about the experiences that you've had and the insights that you've gained from those experiences that you can contribute to the organization. And having that mindset is critical, and Phil's emphasis on preparation before you are seeking advice those are critical success factors. Having an understanding, you do not have to have a specific knowledge about your exact dream job. However, you do need to know where it is that you want to direct your focus, and you can do that through aspirational job searches. The holidays are also wonderful opportunities to do aspirational job searches. Print out two or three positions that you do aspire to achieve even if you're living happily ever after in your current role. And look at what is required to succeed in those roles and then be certain that you are using that language to describe your experiences, whether it's on your resumé or your LinkedIn profile or in conversations when you are networking with others.

Ken White

We'll continue our conversation with Dawn Edmiston and Phil Heavilin in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education helps companies and organizations from all over the world by creating and delivering business and leadership development programs. If your organization is looking to get to the next level, contact the Center for Corporate Education to discuss how we can create and deliver a program that specifically fits your needs and gets results. For more information, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Dawn Edmiston and Phil Heavilin on landing a new job in the new year.

Ken White

Older workers, how far back do you go on a resume and on a LinkedIn profile?

Dawn Edmiston

Well, to Phil's point again, I think it's important that you think about the employer.

Ken White

And what's relevant to them.

Dawn Edmiston

And what's relevant to them. Yes. So I would not say that, you know, go back 20 years if you had started in that career field and perhaps had transitioned into another industry and now are interested in moving back. That foundational experience can be very important.

Ken White

Right. And it could actually be wrapped up in a sentence if you want to say I had one career, now I'm in this one sentence can cover that old career just sort of let them know.

Phil Heavilin

Yeah, that's right.

Ken White

Yeah.

Phil Heavilin

And oftentimes you're you have to fill out a pretty extensive job application for the employer, too, and so they're going to ask for a little bit more detail.

Ken White

Right.

Phil Heavilin

So the resume again it's a marketing tool. It does not have to have all these specific details from 25 years ago. It's just not necessary.

Ken White

It seems like we've been talking about LinkedIn for 50 years. It hasn't been around quite that long. Some people get it. Some people don't. Dawn, you do a lot with executives and professionals in LinkedIn. I guess rule number one if you don't have a profile, for crying out loud, you don't exist.

Dawn Edmiston

In most cases that's, that's true. Yes. I mean, LinkedIn is now in excess of 400 million users worldwide, and it is a great platform for networking. I will share that there are always exceptions.

Ken White

Sure.

Dawn Edmiston

If, for example, in your particular field, it is more important for you to have a creative portfolio or other aspects. Yes, and that's where your focus should be first. However, I will share that LinkedIn has become quite robust as they've evolved and now have the opportunity. One of the initial challenges with LinkedIn was you were taking a one-dimensional resume and simply importing it into your LinkedIn profile.

Ken White

Right.

Phil Heavilin

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

And again, to reinforce a point I made earlier, it is not about the titles that you've held or the credentials you've earned. It really is about those experiences. So if you can share examples of your work, whether it be projects that you presented, videos that you've developed, LinkedIn is a really powerful place to be able to do that. And it's free and it still tends to be one of the first search results that will appear on any of the major search engines. And that's the only thing that you are doing to develop a personal brand that is a very good place to start.

Phil Heavilin

When they look up Dawn online, and her LinkedIn profile is going to be on the first page of Google. I saw a statistic. I think 93 percent of people do google searches don't even go into the second page.

Ken White

Sure.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Phil Heavilin

So LinkedIn it's going to be right there in the first pages of the google search.

Ken White

One of the things, Dawn, I think a lot of people at least many executives that I interact with really struggle with is this the professional summary know LinkedIn for those who know it or don't you have your photo you've got your resumé your title and so forth. But we have this opportunity to write a commercial, for lack of a better term about ourselves. But some people really struggle with writing the summary. How do you guide them?

Dawn Edmiston

We do. It's hard.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

In fact, in a senior-level undergraduate course that I teach at the College of William & Mary, we've now developed this concept called the perfect pitch and perfect pitch videos, and in 60 seconds, my students need to deliver their perfect pitch. And if you look at the summary sections now on their LinkedIn profiles, many elements from those perfect pitch scripts are now appearing in their summary. It's a narrative to allow you to connect with potential employers. I think it's very important again that the focus is not entirely on you. It's a summary of the experiences that you can contribute to others. So as you are developing that summary, you need to think about what it is that you want to do. I also encourage students and clients to think about LinkedIn as a forward progressive media channel. Do not think about it as a reflection of what I've done in the past. So, for example, if you're looking to transition careers, your LinkedIn profile should be a reflection of the values that you will bring to that future career, not a reflection on what you've just done in the past. I just have a client who has been an accountant for more than 20 years wants to move into marketing for financial services. So we're literally reflecting on everything that they've done in the past 20 years that can also be perceived in the marketing communication role, and that could bring value to them in this financial services market. And that's that's important to consider as you develop the summary section and as you develop the bullet points that explain the contributions that you've made to past organizations that you will bring to future employers.

Ken White

So have your profile have a professional photo. We all know that and really take time to have it other centric or employer-centric summary. Any other new tools that LinkedIn has introduced? Is there video?

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, you can embed video. One of the most important tools, and I know that you have both heard this from me before but give yourself a gift during this holidays if you have not already personalized your LinkedIn URL. That is the single most important tactic that you can take because, to Phil's point earlier where, if you were to search for Dawn Edmiston, even though I have my own domain named dawnedmiston.com. The LinkedIn profile because it is personalized is still typically the first result that appears.

Phil Heavilin

I always tell my students and clients that every morning I log into my email, and then I immediately open up LinkedIn every single morning because, to me LinkedIn the breadth of activity that you can engage in on LinkedIn, whether it's developing and nurturing your personal brand, your personal profile. The job opportunities that are there setting up job alerts that are relevant to what either you're doing now or what you want to do in that next step. The ability to mine for contacts for informational interviewing or networking, I think people are bought in that it is essential, but just in case there's a few doubters out there. LinkedIn is absolutely essential on a variety of different fronts.

Dawn Edmiston

And I do encourage networking building to the 500 plus. That's the critical point within LinkedIn once you reach 500 plus that that appears on your LinkedIn profile. It seems to have a certain credence in the marketplace. However, it is important to have contacts and connections that are valuable to you.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

Because they are now, that is the content that you will see in your LinkedIn feed, and that is how other individuals will potentially associate you. They will look at who you are associating with and getting a greater appreciation of your interests of your experience. But in particular, I do think that LinkedIn has become more powerful at curating content as well as creating content. Now that you're able to do LinkedIn publish posts.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

We really have no need to do professional blogs because LinkedIn now serves that purpose, and with a touch of a button, I can reach thousands of individuals where I would have never had that outreach those outreach opportunities in the past.

Ken White

For those who don't know that. Yeah, you can. Everybody with LinkedIn profile doesn't have to be a premium account. Any kind of LinkedIn profile, you can create thought pieces, opinion pieces, instructional pieces, write them, you can add a really cool graphic or a photo if and I'm telling you I am horrible at technology, and I can. It's so simple to do this. It is very, very simple to add the photo and write a piece and push it out, and it's not only to your connections, is it? It can really have some legs because your connections can then share it.

Dawn Edmiston

Yes.

Ken White

What do you recommend to professionals about posting and about writing on LinkedIn?

Dawn Edmiston

First, you should start with what you know and very often, I've had the privilege of also teaching undergraduate and graduate students at the College of William & Mary, and recently in the online MBA course that I taught several of the students their posts relative to market research tools for a particular assignment were so good that I told them that they needed to share those insights on LinkedIn.

Ken White

Great.

Dawn Edmiston

And because other individuals would want to know about those market research tools and the value of those tools to their organizations or to their individual success. So I would start with what you know.

Phil Heavilin

Absolutely, I would concur. Definitely write what you know, and question for Dawn how important is it to have someone maybe who's within the industry or close colleague maybe take a look at it before pulling the trigger.

Dawn Edmiston

Yeah.

Ken White

Yeah.

Phil Heavilin

I think everybody is so nervous about putting something out there.

Dawn Edmiston

And one of the other good things about doing that is then you also have an individual. Once that article is done, you can ask them would you be willing to share this across your social media channels. Yes. I mean, getting that feedback getting that insight, that's invaluable.

Ken White

And it doesn't have to be that lengthy, and actually, if you're not a journalist, it's pretty easy to kind of figure out the formula. Five tips to this or three highlights about this I think if you'd like to post one of the best ways to learn to read others who do it well, look at the daily feeds from Entrepreneur magazine, Fast Company, Bloomberg Businessweek. All of those have really, in fact, some of them even tell you right up front three-minute read, five-minute read, and then you kind of get the idea, oh I get it. The main idea may be back it up with two or three points and then and then wrap it up. Is too often? Can that be an issue? I'm posting twice a week or once a week. What do you think in terms of how often someone should publish on LinkedIn?

Dawn Edmiston

Yes, there is definitely a limit. I have actually removed connections because they just are constantly in my LinkedIn feed, and LinkedIn, unfortunately, that's one of the attributes that they do not have at this point. Unlike Facebook, for example, where you could limit what you see from certain individuals. LinkedIn does not seem to have capabilities at this point. So it is similar to Twitter. You just continue to watch. Watch the feed build, and that can be difficult. So I would state that if you're an individual, posting once or twice during the week could be powerful. I do not post that often. I do certainly share that often. I make a valiant effort to be engaged. I think it's important to know that you don't necessarily have to be creating content to be engaged in these environments as well. So if I see something as usual that Dean White, you know, shares or Phil shares, you most likely have seen me share it to my constituents as well because it's relevant to the environment in which we live, and I know it's relevant to the connections that I have. So you do not necessarily have to simply create content to be effectively engaging through LinkedIn and other social media channels.

Ken White

And an easy way, I think to be involved in LinkedIn is to endorse others for their skills. Right. So you know Phil, I'll go into his profile. I'll click on leadership, and he then gets an endorsement from me, and I think that's a great way, and you see that. What a wonderful way to connect with other individuals. What about I'm talking to a number of professionals who say I seem to be getting a lot of invitations from people I don't know, and man, that takes time. Do I know this person? Did I meet this person? There's no introduction. It's just connect with me.

Dawn Edmiston

So there are so many points in that statement that need to be.

Phil Heavilin

Yes, quality contacts are very important. I remember when I was a new professional, I was happy when anybody.

Ken White

Yeah, right.

Phil Heavilin

I don't know who you are, but by golly, you're in my network now.

Ken White

You have a job you're in.

Phil Heavilin

Now because, you know, for a variety of reasons, and I work with a lot of students who, you know, I want to connect them with my network. I'm much more interested in quality connections who if someone that comes to me and says to me oh, I see you're connected with so-and-so on LinkedIn, you mind maybe making an introduction? I want to be able to confidently say yes because I know who that person is. I've had some circumstances where someone asked to be introduced to someone in my network, and I don't really remember who that person was. And so I realized, okay, I need to really begin to vet the requests that come through to me.

Ken White

So when you're making a request because all three of us get several a week from people we've never heard of, and there's really nothing written in the box, it just says, let's connect. So when you're making the request.

Dawn Edmiston

So that's another limitation of LinkedIn. There are certain parts within the LinkedIn environment where you connect, and LinkedIn sends an automatic invitation.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

Do not do that.

Ken White

Right.

Dawn Edmiston

You always want to send a personalized note with your invitation. In fact, when I speak now at conferences, I do feel because I speak on personal branding and marketing communications that, there might be individuals who want to connect with me afterwards and follow my work. And so, I just simply ask them, please, when you send the invitation to connect. Just let me know that we met at this event, and I would be glad to accept your invitation.

Ken White

Yeah, so simple. Hi Dawn we met after your speech at the conference loved it. Would you mind connecting?

Dawn Edmiston

Yeah.

Ken White

Other than these blanket. Very strange. And I've actually run into people I have, in fact, met, but they didn't put it in the invitation, and then you say no thank you. And you know you've offended somebody and so forth, and Dawn, you were talking about the number of connections too. The 500 is the magic number or that that sort of, and those are connections people who ask you to connect and vice versa, what to do in terms of LinkedIn and social media if I'm not searching for a job. The person is really happy.

Dawn Edmiston

You should not change what you do. I mean, the time to start building these relationships is now when you do not necessarily need them but could still value them.

Phil Heavilin

Absolutely your connections you have to nurture whether you're actively searching or not. And I think many people are always passively looking for new opportunities or at least open to new opportunities as you want to maybe be open to that. But I think absolutely you have to continue to nurture, update, like, share, communicate, post so that if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you have to tap that network, it's already developed, and now it's a matter of harvesting rather than trying to grow.

Dawn Edmiston

We had an executive recently deliver a guest lecture here, and they said that graduates will now have between 16 and 32 different positions in their career.

Ken White

Yeah.

Dawn Edmiston

And knowing that that's true. You do not necessarily know where these opportunities when they will arise and but you always have to be available for them. I mean, you always have to position yourself so that you can take advantage of these opportunities when they're presented to you.

Ken White

So our listener who's seeking is doing a great job at work. And so now they've decided I'm going to look. They've got their resume together. They're out there network as difficult or as easy as that might be. They're on LinkedIn, any other social media, any other channels that they should be considering as they start this new year and looking for new opportunities or is doing working hard, networking, and LinkedIn enough.

Phil Heavilin

I think there's always opportunities to explore different avenues to maybe tap a network of people we haven't tapped before. And getting involved in professional organizations I think especially if you're transitioning into a new field that's a great way to start establishing people and professionals within that industry. So getting involved in maybe a local chapter of an organization, I think, is really important. To me if I had one piece of advice, is that you got to set goals. Once you're kind of ready to go and ready to move forward, really have set goals in order to know how to get to wherever your destination is because you don't have goals, you don't have direction, and direction is what gets you to that destination. So you've got the LinkedIn profile you kind of have an idea of what you want to do then set those goals in order to get where you want to be.

Dawn Edmiston

And be proactive about not only developing this personal brand presence but also in monitoring it and using tools such as Google alerts. You should definitely have a Google alert set for your name, for organizations of interest to you, for fields of interest to you, for competitors. Another great free tool is mention.com. I've actually found mention.com to be even more robust than Google Alerts, especially relative to social media. So I had a student recently post a very kind comment in a random blog about me. Thank goodness it was kind, but mention would have told me otherwise, and it appeared in my mention.com feed, and I thanked this student, and they were shocked that I would have had access to this particular blog because it was so industry specific. It was, in fact, it was a music blog, and this was her field of interest, and they were asking about individuals who had inspired her work, and I was very I was flattered to be a part, and I wouldn't have known about it had it not been mention.com. And a third free tool I want to mention is brandyourself.com. Another free tool, brand yourself, is especially good because it monitors what appears on your the first page first pages of your Google search. So again, having that professional online presence is important. Having those networks are important but monitoring the process is also a very important part of engagement.

Ken White

And final question Phil. Is there a certain amount of time have we've seen statistics, or have you seen anything that how long a job search might take? Does it vary?

Phil Heavilin

Very good question. It does, and the federal government does a lot of studies related to this, and it's a part-time job it really is. It can be upwards of 20 hours a week just from all the activities associated with what we discussed today. Establishing a profile on LinkedIn if you don't have one, reaching out to connections, reading content, getting up to speed on an industry, going on interviews, applying to positions this takes real tangible time for an active job seeker who might be still employed. That can be up to 20 hours a week that you're dedicating to that kind of activity.

Ken White

And it may take time for you to find that right job, but you got to keep doing the right thing and hang in there.

Phil Heavilin

You got to do it. I always say it's a marathon, not a sprint, if you can just commit to certain activities a week. Set those weekly goals maintain that activity because as long as you're doing the right things, it's going to happen, and it's going to work out.

Ken White

And that's our conversation with Dawn Edmiston and Phil Heavilin, and that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization get to the next level with business and leadership development programs that specifically fit your needs. For more information, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Also, we'd love to hear from you regarding our podcast. Please share your comments, thoughts, or suggestions with us via email at podcast@wm.edu. Well, thanks to our guests this week, Dawn Edmiston and Phil Heavilin from the Mason School of Business, and thanks to you for joining us for our final podcast of 2016. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe and productive week. And happy New Year.

More Podcast Episodes

 Karen Locke
Karen LockeEpisode 57: October 18, 2016
The CEO of Your Own Career

Karen Locke

Episode 57: October 18, 2016

The CEO of Your Own Career

The days of spending an entire career with one employer are long gone. Today, professionals can expect to change employers and career paths multiple times. Managing your career can be a real challenge, but if done correctly can lead to a great career in which you and your employer are happy. Karen Locke is the Pat and Margaret Walsh professor in Leadership and Ethics at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business who works with a range of professionals on, among other things, how to be the CEO of your career.

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Show Notes and Transcript
Show Notes
  • How students can take progressive steps in their leadership journey
  • The value of translating skill sets into career paths
  • The importance of gaining feedback
  • 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
  • Why employees are important resources for business growth
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The podcast 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, the days of spending an entire career with one employer are long gone. Today professionals can expect to change their employers and career paths multiple times. According to CNN Money, millennials will change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. But with that in mind managing your career can be a real challenge. But if done correctly, you can have a great career in which you and your employer are happy. Karen Locke is the Pat and Margaret Walsh professor in leadership and ethics at William & Mary's Mason School of Business. She works with a range of professionals, from MBA students to seasoned executives, on, among other things, how to be the CEO of your career. She joins us on the podcast today. Here's our conversation with Professor Karen Locke.

Ken White

Karen, thanks for taking the time to be here today. We appreciate it.

Karen Locke

Sure thing.

Ken White

Tell us first off about what you teach the leadership class you teach in the MBA program and what that's all about.

Karen Locke

So the way I think about that class, it's not teaching about leadership. It is hopefully helping the students take some steps in their leadership journey, and students will come at it from a number of different places, obviously because they bring a range of experiences. But starting that journey out by really looking from the inside out. So thinking about what it is that they bring to the table not from their own experience of themselves but through a rigorous look at themselves so that they can understand that the way that they are going to move forward and show personal and professional leadership in the roles that they occupy is going to be different from the person sitting next to them. And that's okay. There is no single model. What they need to figure out is, personally and professionally, where are they going to be at their best. When they are at their best, what kinds of things are they doing? How can organizations find those valuable? And then how can they find and place themselves so that if they have, for example, a skill they'd love really intractable problems that have multiple stakeholders challenging them, then they're ripe for dealing with, say, complex problems in government if they want a career in consulting actually if they have that skill there probably isn't anywhere that someone wants to place them because dealing with intractable problems that are politically invested in by a range of different people is something that we're going to encounter anywhere in the organization.

Ken White

So looking inside out, someone really can't do that on their own. You do a number of assessments. And what other things do you do to help somebody determine what they can bring to the table?

Karen Locke

So we come at it a number of different ways. We do a number of assessments which give them some vocabulary a more refined vocabulary for looking at their behavior and looking at their inclinations. We also spend a lot of time emphasizing the importance of gaining feedback in the MBA experience. The students gain feedback from their MBA teams. We give them assignments where they go out and talk with people with whom they've worked before to give them their perspective, and then through the resource, we have our EPs. Our EPs will observe them and also provide their observations. One of the things though Peter Drucker, who is the touchstone really for this, was talking about this in the early 1970s, really before the notion of leadership development really took off in any large sense, was the idea of doing what our military students would call after action reviews on yourself. So if you are making a decision putting down in writing, he suggests what it is that you are thinking what your expectations are and filing that away and after whatever cycle of time it takes, he says 18 months. But he was thinking about strategic decisions. Whatever time cycle for the event that you've made the decision on his path, come back and look at it and see if it turned out positively. Is it because of the reasons that you believed were operative at the time, or did it turn out positively for something else? And so you can really test how you think about that. So Drucker says we basically feel like we know ourselves, but we really don't.

Ken White

Sure.

Karen Locke

It takes work to figure out and to confront ourselves with the consequences of our decisions. It takes work to figure out exactly what kinds of situations we're going to be best in and be able to make our greatest contribution in.

Ken White

You mentioned the MBA students dealing with the EPs. For those in our audience who don't know what that is, those are our executive partners here at William & Mary's Mason School of Business. A number of executives who help coach our students and I'm sure provide very good feedback to the students throughout these exercises, don't they? No punches are pulled there.

Karen Locke

Right.

Ken White

Yeah.

Karen Locke

And we start out by sort of giving the students we give them two phases. In the December, we talk about who shows up when you walk into the room. And the idea is not who shows up for you but who shows up for the other people. So to what extent does who you intend to be actually play out in the experiences of others? And then in, a little bit later on, we ask the students to think about what it's like to be on the receiving end of it. Just to sort of flip their point of view from now from the inside out, flipping it to what the experience of them on the outside is. So again, being rigorous about what it is that they bring to the table not from the story that they're telling themselves but from a range of outside ways of gaining data about themselves.

Ken White

Seeing what others see and experiencing what others experience, and that's on the MBA side, you do a considerable amount of work with companies and corporations all throughout the world. Is a different when you're working with them, or what do you do differently?

Karen Locke

It's not that different. I think one of the things that is increasingly obvious it's true of all of our experiences. We are all more and more busy. Our jobs have all expanded no matter what kind of role, what kind of industry what kind of occupation we're in. And I think the busier we are, the more difficult it is to pull back and really look at what is it that I am bringing to the table and how is the value that I might be able to bring going to translate in this situation versus just trying to get it done. And I think the busier we are, the more the orientation is. Just try to get to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing and not take a step back and say, okay, what am I contributing to getting it done? How might I contribute better? How might I get my people and if I know what it is that their strengths and talents are? How can I get them to take a piece of this and, in taking a piece of this, grow and develop themselves so that the whole organization is able to perform at a higher level than all of us just trying to get it done and me if I'm the manager driving to get it done unreflectively? So the personal growth story never stops.

Ken White

Now companies will come to the Mason School to the Center for Corporate Education and go through this. What if there is a professional listening, an individual? How do I find out how do I assess myself? What are some tools or some references you can share with some of our listeners that maybe a book or some programs that are out there to help assess? Where am I, and where should I be going, kind of?

Karen Locke

A program that's tremendously popular right now is strength finder.

Ken White

Right.

Karen Locke

Right, so strength finder comes from, and it's consistent with this whole sort of positive psychology notion, which we haven't talked that much about the idea that many of us have been brought up focused on a problem-finding mindset so that what we're trying to figure out is what are we not doing well and being able to perform is always looking for where are the holes where are my shortcomings and trying to plug those. Instead of the other way of thinking, which I've been alluding to, which is what are my strengths, and if I focus on those strengths, I'm going to get much more runway, so Strength Finder. It's quite reasonable it's available as a resource. The other thing I hear is an idea is to sit down with your peers and ask them to tell you. Ask them have a conversation on a recent project which is a debrief conversation. What is it that I did that was useful and don't allow them to get away with saying oh, that was fine? No, what in what you did was fine, and how did it help them? So you have your able to build the connection between actions that you take or abilities that you have and outcomes that matter to the organization. And then, similarly, what could you have done differently? What did you omit to do, or what did you perhaps not do in a way which would have helped them more? So sitting down asking for that feedback would be a second useful thing to do. And then the third thing is you can just practice that exercise that Peter Drucker talks about in managing oneself, which is to write down what are you doing, what you're deciding, why you're deciding what your expectations are from this decision is file it away and then resurrect it wherever the timeline is three months six months whichever is your business cycle for that decision and look at it and say well did I get it right. Did I get lucky? Did I mess up?

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Karen Locke in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you get to the next level with its certificate in business management program. Coming up the last week of this month. It's a five-day program for the professional who lacks an MBA or wants to improve on critical business and leadership skills. Each day is devoted to a topic, including communication, leadership, strategy, managerial accounting, and organizational effectiveness. For more information on the certificate in business management program, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Professor Karen Locke.

Ken White

Basically, when you're saying go to your colleagues and so forth, you're basically describing a 360 review. How do those go over? I'm guessing some people do want, in fact, to improve and do want feedback until it's not that great. What's your experience with 360s? I mean, you have to have a thick skin.

Karen Locke

It shows up actually the problem-oriented mindset versus the strengths mindset. Right. So a 360 instrument is going to give you information on a range of competencies, and then inside those competencies, they'll be specific behaviors like Karen is a good listener. Right. And then rate the extent to which you agree with that. Not at all, to a significant extent. And when I sit down with clients, and we go through the 360 invariably, they'll have the document in front of them, and I'll see the parts of it that are marked up of all of the places where there are negative comments.

Ken White

Right, of course.

Karen Locke

There is nothing marked up on what they did well.

Ken White

Right.

Karen Locke

So yeah, people are focused on an evaluation of a performance versus what are they learning, what can they learn about themselves, and in what they're interested in learning. We seem to be wired, and this is true from psychology, right? The negative holds our attention much more than the positive does.

Ken White

Absolutely.

Karen Locke

And so it can be a challenge getting people to understand the negative and say okay, so there is an opportunity for some learning here. But what are people saying about what you do well, and how does that translate into results for your business? And so, don't ignore the negative but understand the larger picture again who shows up when you walk into the room in whatever role that is that you occupy. None of us like to receive news that we're not perfect, amazingly.

Ken White

Of course. Fifty people can fill out a review all A pluses, but that one that you want to know who that one is right. You talk about being the CEO of your own career, but boy careers are changing so much now. People are going to have multiple jobs multiple areas as professions, as a matter of fact. How does the young person approach being the CEO of their career knowing that they won't be with the same company for 30 years?

Karen Locke

I think that first assumption. So if I start out with the assumption that I have to find a company to work for that's going to take care of me or basically house me professionally for the rest of my career. That's probably a starting place that is not available. The other mindset which is I'm going to be someone that is a bundle of skills and experiences that I can apply in a number of situations, maybe go and work for a company for a while. Maybe a part of my own organization, so I have quite a varied career path. Then the ownness is on me to be accumulating the experiences to be understanding who I am what I bring to the table, to be looking for where the matches are between what I can contribute and where new opportunities might be opening up. So I think of a model of self as a free agent where I am responsible for understanding what I bring to the table and for making sure that I'm aware of how I'm feeling about the contribution that I'm making and to reshape my career multiple times which I think is what's happening now and which is terrific so that I can have a satisfying career. Now on the other side for, organizations that presents them with enormous challenges.

Ken White

No kidding.

Karen Locke

Right, so all companies are dealing with the reality that what millennials want is a chance to grow and have a sense of purpose in what they're doing. So if they are find themselves in a situation where they don't see a path ahead, they don't see themselves growing, they don't feel that they're learning anything new, they're not going to stay.

Ken White

Right.

Karen Locke

And that's a challenge for companies today.

Ken White

Right, so knowing that are they are companies still making the investments in professional development and in teaching employees like they have in the past in your experience.

Karen Locke

Well, so here we are, seeing companies come to us and expressly talk about that and talk about it in two different ways. One is that they're providing growth opportunities and are helping meeting that need for continuous learning. The other is trying to shift their cultures for some of the companies that have been around here for a longer time, where managers understand that growing their employees is absolutely necessary for the company to survive. So if I'm a manager and I think about my subordinates as lucky to have a job, then that's going to create one kind of relationship versus I see my subordinates as an important resource to grow. And we're lucky to have them then that's going to create a very different kind of a mindset.

Ken White

And the subordinates certainly see that too. We hear all the time our MBA students I want to work for a company that cares about me and wants to help me develop.

Karen Locke

So it's finding that sweet spot between what I want what I can contribute, which is all a me story to where that overlaps with what the organization needs. The way I can contribute can make a difference for the company in both of us come out ahead is really what we're looking for.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Karen Locke. And that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization get to the next level with business and leadership development programs that specifically fit your needs. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunities at the Center for Corporate Education for you or your organization, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Well, thanks to our guest this week, Professor Karen Locke, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 Bob Williams
Bob WilliamsEpisode 54: August 30, 2016
Pillars of Leadership

Bob Williams

Episode 54: August 30, 2016

Pillars of Leadership

For some professionals, the ultimate goal is to serve as a leader that makes an impact on the world, customers, and people within their company. Recent graduates of the Part-Time MBA program at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary heard from Bob Williams, a clinical lecturer at the school. He teaches leadership and we sat down with him to talk about what it means to be a leader today.

Podcast (audio)

Stephanie Linnartz: Leadership & the Marriott Recovery TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes and Transcript
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 Elvis Presley and leadership
  • The responsibility of being a leader
  • What it takes to be a great leader
  • The seven principles of leadership
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The weekly 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. Leadership. For some professionals, that's the goal to serve as a leader who makes an impact on the world, the organization, its people, and its customers. Well, a couple of weeks ago, a number of leaders and aspiring leaders graduated from the Flex MBA program at William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Bob Williams, a clinical lecturer at the school, was asked to speak to the graduates at the diploma ceremony. His comments resonated with those in attendance, and afterward, many of those individuals encouraged us to invite Bob to be on the podcast to share with you what he shared with the new graduates. Williams brings a wealth of experience to the Mason School. A graduate of the Wharton School's MBA program, he spent the bulk of his career with DuPont serving in a number of roles, including Vice President for Marketing and Communications. He teaches leadership and other classes at the Mason School and at the school's Center for Corporate Education. Here's our conversation on leadership with Bob Williams.

Ken White

Bob, thank you for taking the time to join us. We're asking you at the at the probably the worst time of the school year, right? Classes just began, and a exciting time of the year, though.

Bob Williams

It is very exciting it's great to see the students come back. It really enlivens the building and really gives the faculty some really meaningful work to do to spend some time with these folks, which is what we're all about.

Ken White

Yeah, it sure does. And actually, right before the students arrive, there was a ceremony for the graduates in the Flex MBA program, which is a working professionals program and you talked to that group, and you shared some thoughts, and after that, after you did that a number of people said boy you've got to ask Bob to be on the podcast to share that with our listeners, and you had a few points that you shared about success and about leadership. And so that's why we're here to ask you to share those with us today, and one of the first you shared with the group was principled achievement. Can you tell us about that?

Bob Williams

Yeah, I spent some time thinking about preparation for what I wanted to say to the students in the Flex program. And Larry Pulley, our dean, spends a great deal of time emphasizing those two words in commencement addresses to our full-time and to our undergraduates that are graduating, and I thought that'd be very appropriate to share with the flex students because I'm not sure that the ones that we were talking to that particular day when I was speaking at heard it. So I thought I would make some sense, and the power of it, I thought, was that the two words at least get they're like thought starters. They get you going into other words and other questions. So they're like catalysts. They make you think about other things because you take those two words apart, and it makes you ask questions. And so what I shared with the students was some of those questions included things like what do you believe. What do you believe about other people? Do you think they're basically good? Do you think they have some bad tendencies, and if so, whatever you think will really make a big difference in terms of how you behave with them and how they behave with you? Another one might be what principles do you really live by. I mean, what makes your attitudes develop, which will change your behavior? So you need to spend some time on that. What do I want to be remembered for was the third one? You work hard, spend a great deal of your time every day at work influencing the actions of other people. When you step back at the end of the day or at the end of your work life, what do you really want to be remembered for? We don't spend a time on those kinds of questions.

Ken White

Sure.

Bob Williams

How will the decisions that I make as a leader in a business impact other people and, most importantly, if you think about the last one? Are those decisions that I'm making because some of them can be very difficult? Some of them are really rewarding, but the difficult ones that you have to ask is, am I being fair? And so it all started with principled achievement.

Ken White

Right.

Bob Williams

And so you start taking those things apart, and that's really raising a lot of other issues.

Ken White

In your interaction with executives and leaders, are they thinking about leading a life of principled achievement? Is it in the back of their mind? Where is it in your interactions?

Bob Williams

Well, I would sure hope they are. I mean, in my experience, the answer's yes. But you know what makes it really, I think, relevant today is you can't pick up the Wall Street Journal and not see somebody that got sideways with the regulatory authorities or who tried to cut corners in their product or in their relationships with Wall Street. It becomes an ethical issue. So I think principled achievement lives. It's never going to go away. People that are leaders have a great deal of power. How they exercise that should be with the highest ethical standards, not just because it's right but because it'll keep you out of a world of hurt.

Ken White

Yeah.

Bob Williams

You know, I actually, Ken, I think about the Olympics that just played out here in Ryan Lochte, the swimmer.

Ken White

Right.

Bob Williams

Second only in capability and talent to Michael Phelps.

Ken White

Incredible.

Bob Williams

Here's a guy that had all the package. I mean, he was a good-looking guy, an accomplished athlete, personable, and with one ethical misstep, it all blew up. He did not live principled achievement. He did not think before he acted.

Ken White

Right.

Bob Williams

All those questions make you think before you act, and that's the power of it, I think.

Ken White

Excellent. Yeah. And it really resonated. You could see as you were talking to the to the group they were nodding. They were actually whispering to one another from time to time. So it's certainly a topic that was resonating. You talked about leadership in general, and you gave some guidance in terms of leadership and how to approach that because people with MBAs will lead if they're not already leading.

Bob Williams

Yeah, I think that's true. I mean, we're actually teaching them that at this school. I mean, one of the powerful things I think that we accomplish that you hear from students that come back to us after they're out in the world of work is, boy, there were times when I thought this leadership thing was a little soft. I was really interested in the quantitative analysis of everything, and I was really taught well about that at school. But when you touched on subjects that were seemingly soft, like leadership issues, I wasn't sure they were relevant. Boy, they're relevant. Interpersonal skills count. Communication skills count. Sensitivity counts.

Ken White

When you talked about leadership, you shared a story about Elvis Presley, of all people.

Bob Williams

Yeah, that was really had an effect on me. I'm a fan obviously of his music and sometimes not necessarily of him, but my wife and I toured Graceland, and as we walked around and as you go on this tour at Graceland, you inevitably walked by his office and what caught my eye was a plaque. It was actually a framed ad that was on his wall in his office, and it was called the penalty of leadership. Now I couldn't read it on the tour. So I went home, and I googled it, and I shared it with the students.

Ken White

And this is a newspaper or magazine ad?

Bob Williams

It's an ad for Cadillac motor cars is considered by many in the marketing business that it probably one of the best pieces of copy ever written, but it's all about the penalty of leadership and the fact that you get all these trappings that go along with leadership all the splendor and all the perks, but there are times when you're very isolated especially if you're trying to change things because people just by their nature resist getting out of that comfort zone. You know what? It reminds me of what I was doing my classes. I can close my eyes after about three sessions in my classes and tell you who's sitting where. They all return to the same seat. And it's they don't want to move out of that comfort zone. Well, Presley, I think, identified that this ad had a great impact on him because he was a change agent.

Ken White

Right.

Bob Williams

You know he was the devil to a lot of people that he had those swinging hips and the ducktail and the peg pants, and by golly, he's leading our kids to hell.

Ken White

That's right.

Bob Williams

And yet what he accomplished is obviously in the history of what's happened to music and musicology.

Ken White

And he knew it. He saw himself as a leader, and interesting that he finds an ad for a car and likes the way it talks about leadership.

Bob Williams

Yeah, and here's one of the things I shared with the students, and it's just an excerpt. Quote long after greater good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious continue to cry out that it can't be done. The old world continues to protest or continued to protest when Fulton could never build a steamboat. While the new world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by the leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him or her is merely added proof of that leadership close quote. Change isn't easy. Leaders have to make decisions. Decisions are choices. It's not unanimity. The result is going to be that you're going to have to persevere. You're going to have to have the grit that Angela Duckworth talks about in her latest book. That's one of the key characteristics of great leaders is they persevere and have grit, and so I shared that with the students.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion on leadership with Bob Williams in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you get to the next level with its certificate in business management program coming up in late October. It's a five-day program for the professional who lacks an MBA, has been out of the classroom for some time, or wants to improve on a critical business and leadership skills. Each day is devoted to one topic, including communication, leadership, strategy, managerial accounting, and organizational effectiveness. For more information on the certificate in business management program, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Bob Williams on leadership.

Ken White

Tough gig. I mean, there is a lot of responsibility, and it's not always fun. Why do people pursue it, and why are some so good at it in your experience?

Bob Williams

I think there's a couple reasons, some of which are wrong. One of them that I don't think is necessarily the right reason is money. I mean, they're going after the salary, and they're going after the power in the position, and sometimes they, and that's nice but they sometimes forget that there's a great deal of responsibility that goes along with that. They're responsible for other people's lives. They're responsible for taking companies into the future, which means that's the unknowable. The thing that I think leaders have to have is an overriding drive if they want those positions is they have to get a kick out of watching people develop under them because, whether they like it or not, they are identified as role models. That comes with a great deal of responsibility. What you're driving in the MBA program is really important when you say own it. You talk about appearance, that that's really a part of it. You talk about three other things which you're more familiar with.

Ken White

Initiative.

Bob Williams

Initiative.

Ken White

Substance. Communication.

Bob Williams

Those are all important.

Ken White

Very much so.

Bob Williams

And you know what. You can't go to a balance sheet or income statement, or cash flow statement and find those. But when you're in a leadership position, everybody that reports to you knows how to do all those things. What they look to you for is ethics. They want to follow you into the future, and you're their role model on how you get there. But it isn't easy. You have to make some decisions sometimes that aren't so good. It's a penalty of leadership.

Ken White

You told a story about a speech you had heard years ago about balance in terms of life and leadership. Can you share that with us?

Bob Williams

Yeah. And I really don't remember where I heard it, but I do remember who said it was the CEO of Coca-Cola at the time that was giving a commencement address. And it really rang true with me, so I shared that with the Flex MBAs. His comment was that you should think of life as having to juggle five balls and those five balls have names. One is work. One is family. One is health. A fourth is friends. And the fifth is spirit. And the point that I thought was really telling that he made was, you know, you should think of work as being a rubber ball. If you dropped something at work, i.e., something doesn't go exactly right. It bounces, but if you drop things like family, health, friends, and spirit, then what you really have are balls that are made of glass there. And when they drop, they are marked in some way or, worse yet, shattered. You don't put them back together, so it kind of helps you with your priorities. If you think about the five balls and what's important, which I think we probably, regardless of what level you are in a business, you need to revisit that. Why am I doing what I'm doing, and am I doing the most important things, and when things go bad, what's rubber and what's glass?

Ken White

Right. And what's interesting is that's not new. I mean, you had heard that years ago, and yet we're talking so much about work-life balance now. It's not new. It's just a different term.

Bob Williams

No, and it's getting more intense because a lot of families, both parents, work. It's really incredibly important. I think that we refocus on why we do what we do, and those five balls help you do that.

Ken White

And in your talk, you finally wound up with and summarize with seven principles, and you said you know, consider these, think about these. It'll help you stay on the right path. What were some of those?

Bob Williams

Well, the thing that got me about the seven principles is that they integrate principled achievement, and they make the five balls work. So they are kind of like a recipe that causes them all to come together as ingredients. And the principles I talked about these. One, don't take for granted those people and things that are closest to your heart. Without them, life loses a lot of meaning. Second, don't spend all your time living in the past or even in the future, for that matter. The past is done, and the future is really unknowable full of assumptions. Live in the present you'll enjoy every day. Third, don't give up while you still have something to give. Nothing's really over until you stop trying. And I talked about taking reasonable risks. The idea that risk that isn't crazy but reasonable is really what helps make you brave and courageous because it pushes your envelope a little bit. You're going to places where there is risk and uncertainty, but it doesn't frighten you. I talked about knowledge being weightless has some to do with, I guess, adult education and continuing to add to your inventory of learning because knowledge is weightless. It's easy to carry, and I made the point never stop learning because it is easy to carry and it just makes you better.

Ken White

Yeah, and it's so much easier to learn today.

Bob Williams

Oh yeah.

Ken White

Books on tape, podcasts, web.

Bob Williams

Yeah, everything's changing. I mean, nothing lasts very long. So you better stay current, or you're gonna be in a world of hurt.

Ken White

Yeah, and enjoy staying current.

Bob Williams

Yeah, exactly. Have a good time with it. I made two other points. You shouldn't use time carelessly. Time is finite. We all have 24/7. I often tell my students you know if you if your idle is Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Think about it this way how do they use their 24/7 relative to the way you use it? Because they've got that same resource no more or no less, but the thing that you really want to focus on as students is don't waste your time. And then I quoted Steve Jobs in the address, and I said quote live every day as if it was your last because one of these days you know you're gonna be right close quote.

Ken White

That's right.

Bob Williams

And then, finally, it was about worry because people are worrying about a lot of things, and the comment I made in closing this portion of what I had to say to them was worry is like a rocking chair, really. It gives you something to do, but it really doesn't do anything in terms of moving it forward. So if you use those principles and combine them with principled achievement and the five balls, you least have a recipe or a roadmap for how you can make all this stuff work.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Bob Williams, and that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization get to the next level with a business and leadership development program that specifically fits your needs. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunities at the Center for Corporate Education for you or your organization, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Thanks to our guest this week Bob Williams and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

More Podcast Episodes

 David Long
David LongEpisode 52: August 16, 2016
Impression Management at Work

David Long

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 a 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.

Podcast (audio)

David Long: Impression Management at Work TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes and Transcript
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
  • What the field of organizational behavior means
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The weekly podcast 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. Ingratiation establishing oneself in the favor or good graces of someone, especially by deliberate effort. When we change jobs and join a new company or organization, ingratiation plays a significant role in how we create relationships with our new colleagues and superiors. In many cases, it goes beyond that and moves into office politics. How new employees build relationships through ingratiation and impression management and how that affects leaders is the topic of new research by Professor David Long of the College of William & Mary's Mason School of Business and his colleague Trevor Foulk of the University of Florida. Their research will be published in The Journal of Psychology later this year. Long, who teaches organizational behavior, completed a series of studies on ingratiation at work. He joins us today on the podcast to talk about new employees, kissing up, and how it affects the rest of the team. Here's our conversation with Professor David Long.

Ken White

David, thanks for taking the time to talk about your research. It's great to have you here. Thanks for being here.

David Long

Thanks for having me, Ken.

Ken White

So you've done some recent research on impression management. Tell us about the specific research piece you did.

David Long

So impression management is almost self-describing, but it's the behaviors that we employ in the workplace to control or at least try and control how others perceive and evaluate us. And for instance, if you want to be liked. Well, there's some things that you can do to be liked. You can compliment someone. You can praise them. You can even do them a favor. Let me grab you a cup of coffee. And what research shows is that when you do things like that, the person reciprocates by liking you more. If I want to self-promote and be seen as more competent, I may volunteer to work overtime or come in on the weekend or pick up an extra assignment or two again to try to prove my competence to others.

Ken White

Are we, as people in an organizational setting, doing this purposely? Is it sort of subconsciously? Where does it fit?

David Long

Both typically, it arguably is the most pervasive social phenomenon that exists in and out of the workplace. We're always trying to control how others view us, and we're always passing judgments on others. So yes, it's both. We're doing it subconsciously all the time. We purposefully don't belt. We don't realize it, but we don't, for instance, burp when we're around others because we don't want them to think poorly of us, but at times we do say, okay, this is an important moment where I need to make the right impression. Like a job interview. And so you switch from subconscious to conscious, and you're very deliberate about what you say or do again to control how you're perceived.

Ken White

One of my favorite cartoons is in Harvard Business Review, and there's a Millennial in the interview chair. And then there's a baby boomer doing the interviewing, and the baby boomer says if you take one more selfie, this interview's over.

David Long

Exactly. And so the millennial not recognizing how they're being perceived. The interviewer is saying I'm judging you. Exactly what you're doing.

Ken White

So tell us about your study. What did you do?

David Long

So I was my colleague and I were really interested in when you're new to your organization, you are desperate to try to form an impression of your boss because think about your boss. Your boss controls your destiny. Your boss dictates how much you're going to make. Are you going to get promoted? What are your job responsibilities and job duties going to be? So this is an important person. And when you're new, you really want to figure out if that is someone who you can trust because your fate is in their hands. So what we know is that the quick and easy way to form an impression of someone is just observe them or interact with them, and that's what we call a direct way to form an impression. So I may observe how you act towards me, what you're wearing, things you're saying again, and I'm as you're doing these things, I'm forming an impression, and a newcomer again is very hungry to kind of fill that bucket to say who is this person. Can I trust them? Is this somebody who is good?

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

The problem is when you're new, a lot of times, you don't get that direct face-to-face interaction with a supervisor. You have to rely on other social cues. Well, because, as we know, ingratiation, which is a form of impression management where people are trying to be liked, is so common in the workplace. As a newcomer, it just so might be that when you observe your co-workers interacting around the supervisor and the boss, you might just actually see them ingratiating that person. So instead of making a direct observation of the boss, you now or watching someone else interact directly with the boss, and that's an indirect way to form an impression. Well, we don't know how a newcomer will interpret that interaction. What will that interaction do in shaping their evaluation of their new supervisor, or even will it shape it? So that was our ultimate research question.

Ken White

Interesting. So how did you go about you had an experiment, really?

David Long

We did several. We ran several experiments, which is pretty typical in experimental research. What we wanted to find out is A does the phenomenon even exist if a participant acting the role of a new employee observes this type of interaction where a co-worker who is in the organization ingratiates the supervisor. Does it impact their evaluation of the supervisor, and how. So we did a series of studies with students, with full-time workers, where we had them watch videos and in the video. And again, as a newcomer, you really wouldn't have much background knowledge of your co-workers or your supervisor, so when you watch a video of alleged co-worker interacting with your new supervisor, it's kind of like it's what we call realism. It has the realism of being new to an organization. And so the co-worker would ingratiate the supervisor, hey, can I get you a coffee? I really like what you said at that meeting the other day. I thought it was excellent. You're so smart. You know, it seems like everything that you bring to the table is always a win. You know some of the typical overtures that you may hear in the workplace. And then, we ask the participant what do you think of the supervisor based on that interaction. Well, two schools of thought about how this may turn out. On the one hand, a lot of people think when they a lot of observers of impression management find it unsavory because it's manipulation. When they see somebody purposefully trying to elicit attributions and shape how they're perceived, they see it as maybe slightly deceitful. Again it's manipulation, and so to them, it's unsavory and unsettling. However, we don't really know how they will judge the targets of that behavior. We know how they will judge the person performing the behaviors what we call the actor. But again, the target that we don't really know. So we could see that it might that unsavory impression may transfer to the target or because this person is spending so much time trying to impress their boss. That might signal something more positive, like, wow, this is somebody who really is worth someone's attention and effort. So what we speculated and found is that when a newcomer sees their boss their supervisor being ingratiated by a co-worker, they actually think more favorably of them. They like them better.

Ken White

Huh. Is that just on an engagement? Are they making assumptions? I guess is my question.

David Long

Yeah absolutely. So the way that we measured liking when we call it warmth is through adjectives like is this person nice? Is this someone you trust? Is this someone you like? Is this someone that you think positively of? And when they were the target of ingratiation, they were saying yes, they were, and what that tells us is that they trust that person. They see them not only as likable, but as somebody who is warm and that they can be comfortable that is somebody who is a good person to work for. So it's a little bit of a paradox. They think more negatively of the ingratiator and more positively of the ingratiated.

Ken White

Interesting.

David Long

A really unique finding.

Ken White

Yeah.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with David Long in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you get to the next level with its certificate in business management program coming up in late October. It's a five-day program for the professional who lacks an MBA, has been out of the classroom for some time or wants to improve on critical business and leadership skills. Each day the program is devoted to one topic, including communication, leadership, strategy, managerial accounting, and organizational effectiveness. For more information on the certificate in business management program, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Professor David Long on ingratiation at work.

Ken White

This has an incredible impact on a leader.

David Long

Well, so I completely agree with you, and one of the things that we surmised based on the findings is that most leaders know one thing and that it's important how I'm perceived by the people who work for me. I really want to make a good impression on these. I want to be the type of leader that I want to be. I want to be trusted. I want to be seen as competent. And so it's important that I communicate that image in the right way. What the new finding, of course, is it's not always what you do, but it's what others do around you and toward you, that can communicate that message.

Ken White

Wow.

David Long

So it's important to observe how others are interacting with you and to recognize that this interaction is actually helping me shape my own reputation and image. And so I need to be cognizant of that. Are people how are people treating me, and what are they doing to me? Because it's an important message that's being communicated.

Ken White

And it could negatively affect a leader. An interaction such as the one you explained.

David Long

Absolutely absolutely. We even changed the experiments a little bit because, again, we wanted to make sure that our data wasn't there wasn't some alternative explanation for our findings. So we did a couple of different experiments just to confirm that our findings were pretty sound. For instance, we gave in another experiment in another study. We gave some of the newcomers some background information, and we said things like this is somebody who you have heard. This boss is somebody who you've heard is a good boss, and we gave another group some information that said this is a boss that you've heard is not a very good boss. So we almost prime them with some positive and negative information, and we wanted to see if that priming with an override the social cues they gained from the information, and it didn't. Even when they were primed with either positive or negative information, they still formed a more positive impression of the ingratiated boss. So it was the ingratiation that was driving the impression.

Ken White

So any recommendations from your research for that newcomer who is and they're observing, and they're watching relationships people interact with the boss? What should they keep in mind?

David Long

Okay, well, two things. If I'm the newcomer, my recommendation would be do two things. When you're forming, an impression of somebody is important as a supervisor. Observe social cues that are indirect, like how the co-workers interacting with the boss but also find time to directly interact with the boss because what you don't want to do is base your because first impressions are lasting. Don't solely base first impressions on what others are doing because it may just be that you are observing a lot of people who are willing to say yes to a boss. Who just want to go with the flow and please the supervisor. Go talk to that person directly to form a more holistic impression.

Ken White

Which can be difficult to do as a newcomer, especially if you're young.

David Long

As a newcomer or then be aware that your first impression may be based solely on indirect information and maybe hold off on me on kind of making that concrete dry. Just say okay. He seems like a good person. She seems like a great supervisor. Let me just wait a little longer before I really may form this lasting impression.

Ken White

Yeah, and any recommendations for the leaders?

David Long

Absolutely so as a leader, just be wary of what others are doing around you. We ran one additional study because your question about anything for the leaders we really wanted to address, and so in the second study, we had the leaders then react to the ingratiation. We had some leaders like it by saying I really like you and other leaders kind of be a little colder to the ingratiation.

Ken White

Wow, interesting.

David Long

And we wanted to say, okay, what happens here, and what we found is that leaders, by being positive and affirming and receptive to ingratiation, can also elicit a positive impression from the newcomer. Leaders who are more standoffish and cold. They also elicit a more positive impression. So the key takeaway there is that ingratiation from a co-worker can help a supervisor look good, but the supervisor also can control his or her own destiny by how they perform. If they show liking, then they can still be seen as a good supervisor.

Ken White

Wow, very interesting. Your field is, as we call it OB, organizational behavior. For those who don't have an MBA because that's really where you hear that term and run into researchers and scholars, and teachers. What is OB?

David Long

OB is it's a field where we study human performance in the workplace, and there's a couple of anecdotes that really, I think, hammer home what it is. The two most important outcomes or things topics that we study are job performance and organizational commitment. We are consistently trying to find ways to improve employees' job performance and their loyalty to their organization because job performance drives productivity and organizational commitment drives turnover. And if you can increase productivity and reduce turnover, that's a recipe for success for an organization.

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

So prior to academia, I worked in retail. I worked for home depot.

Ken White

Right.

David Long

And I was a newly minted store manager. I was running a big box, and my trusty old district manager first day that I was a new store manager, came into my store to walk me, the proverbial walk, which is you do a walk around the store with the district manager. So I prepared hard for this. Knew it was coming. District manager shows up in the store. Dave, let's go for a walk. So we're walking around the store, and we're looking at hardware. We're looking in garden. We're looking in lumber, and he stops me about halfway through the walk, and he goes okay, what's the most important thing inside the store? And I was like, okay, I got this. I was like, well, I know in the springtime it's garden because we sell so many bags of mulch and lawnmowers and fertilizer and garden hoses. At Christmas time hardware, everybody's buying power tools and saws. But maybe that's not it. But oh, wait a minute, lumber and building materials. That's year-round. I know it's low margin and a commodity, but the contractors come in and buy truckloads and truckloads of sticks and concrete. I'm like, okay, it's going to be one of these, and I want to make sure I get it right. So I'm what I'm talking aloud and articulated all this. And he's just got this huge grin on his face, and he goes you're way off.

Ken White

Yeah.

David Long

And I go what and he goes most important thing inside the store is your people. He goes let me tell you something, as a store manager, if you can figure out how to make the people in here happy and satisfied with their job, they're going to sell garden stuff in the spring. They're gonna sell power tools at Christmas time, and they're gonna sell lumber and building materials to the contractors. They will do that stuff for you. You take care of them, and they'll take care of the rest. And I was just like, oh my goodness.

Ken White

There it is.

David Long

And so that's it. This is the people side of business.

Ken White

Very interesting. Research-wise, what's up next for you? Is there something you'd like to kind of focus on? An area you'd like to look at?

David Long

Yeah, absolutely. I'm going to keep parsing back the impression management side.

Ken White

Sure.

David Long

Impression management is synonymous with things like political skill or politics and reputation, branding, and those are all really important for leaders to make sure that their reputation is not only the right one but it's sound and intact. I'm doing some recent work on authenticity, informing, and impressions. So what I have found, at least my preliminary findings, are that impressions that are perceived as genuine and authentic are longer lasting than ones that are a little, maybe less authentic or genuine. So if you can form, if you can build the right impression, and you can do so in a way that people perceive as genuine, it's rock solid.

Ken White

That's our conversation with David Long, and that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you, and your organization get to the next level with a business in leadership development program that specifically fits your needs. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunities at the Center for Corporate Education for you or your organization, visit our website at wmleadership.com or go to the William & Mary site, click on the Mason School of Business and then go to corporate education. Thanks to our guest this week David Long and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

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 Deborah Hewitt
Deborah HewittEpisode 49: July 19, 2016
The Ramifications of Brexit

Deborah Hewitt

Episode 49: July 19, 2016

The Ramifications of Brexit

Brexit has been a 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 a 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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Deborah Hewitt: The Ramifications of Brexit TRANSCRIPT DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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Show Notes and Transcript
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
Transcript

Ken White

From the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is Leadership & Business. The weekly 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. It's been the topic of discussion in political and economic circles around the world for the past several months. Then a few weeks ago, it came to a head when British citizens cast their votes, and Brexit became a reality. Great Britain's exit from the European Union, the 28-nation economic and political alliance. Well, since the vote, the British prime minister resigned. Stock prices were affected, and people in Europe and around the world wonder about the effects Brexit will have on business, the economy, and Britain's social identity. To get the answers to those questions, we invited Deborah Hewitt, Clinical Professor of Economics and Finance at the College of William & Mary, to join us on the podcast. Before teaching, Hewitt spent much of her career abroad. Today, in addition to teaching at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, she leads global immersion experiences for executive MBA students. She's written a number of academic and business articles on international trade and business, and she joins us on the podcast to discuss Brexit and what it means to the United States, Great Britain, and Europe. Here's our conversation with Professor Deborah Hewitt.

Ken White

Deborah, thank you for joining us. Just a couple of weeks ago, you and your colleague Dr. Bud Robeson met with a number of our executive MBA students and hot topics and this came up and it was really fun just to listen to that conversation, and I thought, wow, we've got to have you on for the podcast. So thanks for taking the time to join us.

Deborah Hewitt

Absolutely my pleasure.

Ken White

Yeah. So Great Britain leaving the EU. What were the reasons what started all of this in the first place?

Deborah Hewitt

You know, there's really two reasons, and I think you can get down to fundamental human self-preservation as the most basic reason. We could put it in economic terms of, one being migration. Because of being a member of the EU, there are four principles there all having to do with free flow of goods free flow of capital, and one of them is free flow of people. So once you're in the EU, you can go anywhere, you can work anywhere. And because of its strong economy, Great Britain was one of the major recipients of migrants.

Ken White

Right.

Deborah Hewitt

Approximately two hundred thousand a year.

Ken White

Wow.

Deborah Hewitt

And so, in a country that size. So people, of course, were concerned about not just their jobs but that's key.

Ken White

Sure.

Deborah Hewitt

Is my job going to be taken? What is it going to do to our culture? Because people were coming from all over the place and so, that was really a key reason. Concern over what that was doing to the country. And another one is that you know Great Britain has remained a little on the outside of the EU although they're a member of that trade block.

Ken White

Right.

Deborah Hewitt

They've kept their own currency. They are pretty independent. They've got that channel between them in England and they like that. And so I think as economics and the whole European debt thing have developed since the Great Recession and the payments that the wealthier countries are having to make with Germany and France to pay off Greek and Spanish debt and that. They just finally said you know, we just really don't want to be a part of this. It's not in our best interest.

Ken White

Were you surprised by the outcome?

Deborah Hewitt

Well, gee, I think you have to say everybody was surprised, but it's always interesting looking back, isn't it? You say, why were we surprised? Because even leading up to it, the polls were suggesting something like a 60/40, and really, if you think of probabilities, that's pretty close. You know it wasn't like 90/10 or something probability of passing. So it was 60/40, and so really, we shouldn't have been as surprised as, of course, polls are always off.

Ken White

Sure.

Deborah Hewitt

And we shouldn't have been that surprised, but yes, I think everyone in the world was.

Ken White

What will the effect on this have on the United States and the United States economy?

Deborah Hewitt

Truth is very little. It's not something that is going to rock our boat. I looked into the size of our trading relationship with Great Britain, and you know you can always put things. Either way, you want to which side you want to support, right? So, on the one hand, it is true that they are our fifth largest trading partner but they only represent 4 percent of our exports.

Ken White

Wow.

Deborah Hewitt

Because our major trading partners are our contiguous countries, Canada and Mexico, each of which is 20 percent, then we have China. So you see, even though they are the fifth largest is, only 4 percent of our exports.

Ken White

What about stock prices? What do you think?

Deborah Hewitt

Well, the biggest thing there is just uncertainty. Stocks don't like uncertainty. That's why you saw that major tank. One of the best buying opportunities of the summer, right?

Ken White

No doubt.

Deborah Hewitt

Because look, all of the markets now have rebounded very smartly, but it just shows back to your other question about, you know, was I surprised? It shows that everyone was surprised because that vote was not built into the markets, and that's why they tanked so severely once it went the other way. But of course, now it's come back as people have had a chance to just sort out what does this really mean.

Ken White

Right.

Deborah Hewitt

How strong an impact, but I'll say this. On the US, impacts will be minimal, but for Great Britain, the uncertainty is going to continue for a number of years. If they really stick with this. There are so many agreements that had previously fallen under just EU auspice that they now have to negotiate and work out independently. That it's going to really hurt them in terms of capital coming into the country. A number of companies have already said well we were going to build our headquarters there. But no, it's too risky now. So it will impact them for a number of years until they really get this sorted out.

Ken White

I mean, it's a big piece. I was reading in The New York Times not long ago there was a professor who said you know, in Great Britain, leaving is like Florida and California being lopped off the United States. It's a pretty, pretty big piece. So the other members of the EU, what's going through their minds at this point in time?

Deborah Hewitt

I think one of the things going through their mind, and really through the minds of many countries that are in trade blocks because there are numerous trade blocks around the world, is this going to start a trend. Who else might leave? Who else just like Quebec, right? You know who else is going to think they want to be off on their own? And that is a concern that we should all follow and analyze because globalization benefits everyone. Free trade benefits both sides. Now it's without question that certain parties may come out worse in a free trade deal.

Ken White

Sure.

Deborah Hewitt

But the countries as a whole benefit. That's been proven over many hundreds of years. So there are two ways this could go. Other trade blocks may start falling apart, and that would be that. It may be because this proves so upsetting that the lesson will be learned. Another trade block will say no, we don't want to mess with it. We better stay together and just work out our differences.

Ken White

Right.

Deborah Hewitt

That's my hope.

Ken White

We'll continue our discussion with Professor Deborah Hewitt in just a minute. Our podcast is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you get to the next level with its certificate in business management program coming up in late October. It's a five-day program for the professional who lacks an MBA or wants to improve on critical business and leadership skills. Each day is devoted to a topic, including communication, leadership, strategy, managerial accounting, and organizational effectiveness. For more information on the certificate in business management program, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Now back to our conversation with Deborah Hewitt on the effects of Great Britain's exit from the European Union.

Ken White

The pound, what's it looking like? Where is it going?

Deborah Hewitt

Well, again, the pound is down pretty smartly. It was 10 or 12 percent last time I looked, and that is probably not going to change anytime soon because of the effect I mentioned, the uncertainty. Capital is not going to flow into a country where you don't even know what their trade deals are. They don't even have any a tariff schedule now. They don't even have one. So until things start happening, the pound is going to be weak.

Ken White

So the big word is unknown uncertainty, it seems like at this stage. What do you think is going to happen over the next months, year?

Deborah Hewitt

It's my experience that markets overreact, and I really agree with George Soros, who said the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets, and it can be figurative blood. It doesn't have to be literal blood. This was figurative blood, and it still is. I think their new prime minister has a good head on her shoulders and, of course, a woman with great leadership in times of crisis. And I think she can. She's already talking about steps she's going to take. And I think as that starts to happen, the uncertainty begins to subside, and things begin to normalize again. So but I do think we're looking at a couple of year workout to get here. It'll it'll resolve.

Ken White

From a leadership standpoint, what an interesting place to be in at this point, isn't it? Some opportunities are there. You can make history.

Deborah Hewitt

Yeah, I'll tell you this. Her stepping into that role reminds me of a quote from one of our MBA alumni, as a matter of fact, who was in a position in a company that was involved in putting security people in the Middle East at a very tough time and unfortunately a lot of members of his firm were caught in an ambush and he wound up being literally the last person standing and took over the firm. And I remember him saying to our students he was addressing our students, and he said you never know when you will be the last one standing. Be ready to lead at any time.

Ken White

Yeah.

Deborah Hewitt

And that's what has happened to Great Britain, and now she has emerged out of who was not really considered a candidate, but everyone else really sort of got knocked out.

Ken White

Absolutely.

Deborah Hewitt

And she was the last one standing.

Ken White

It is it's going to be so interesting to watch that as we move forward. What are some lessons? What are the business lessons that we can learn from Brexit?

Deborah Hewitt

This, to me, was the great scenario that got away. That's one of the things that we teach here is scenario analysis that. You need to be thinking about things that could happen even if they have a 5 percent likelihood. Have a plan. At least think about it. What is the impact going to be on my company if this does happen, and particularly what's valuable is what are some strategies I can take now that would protect me, you know, if this even seemingly unlikely scenario does come true. Well, this is the one that got away because, as we said, it was actually pretty likely. I mean, the polls were sort of 60/40. You know, but nobody had a plan. No one had a plan. So to me, that is one of the greatest business lessons here is look always be looking scanning the entire global environment for things that may not seem directly related to you, but because the global economy is so interrelated now, it's all related to you.

Ken White

Absolutely.

Deborah Hewitt

In one way or another, it could affect a supplier or a customer, or a competitor somebody. So be scanning and always look for what are some steps I can take now that will protect me. That's low cost if this thing happens.

Ken White

What are you? I'm going to ask you to look through your crystal ball what do you think will happen in terms of Great Britain. You mentioned the new leadership mentioned that it'll probably just work itself out, but anything specific you want to predict moving forward?

Deborah Hewitt

Well, I think it probably will be concluded, even after they work things out, that this was a mistake. Now, will the EU ever accept them back in? I don't know. They're playing pretty much hardball now, but I think it will it will show as a mistake because you can look at all kinds of indicators, and they actually benefited by being a member of that union. As I said, free trade benefits everyone, and I think that will become clear that it was a mistake. So that's going to be a tough lesson of history, but maybe it will benefit other countries and other trade unions.

Ken White

That's a big player to lose for the EU. What are they doing? What's the leadership of the EU doing to rebound and to think ahead?

Deborah Hewitt

Yeah, I think they're on again. They're playing hardball, and I think they need to because the last thing they've made it clear to Great Britain that they will not allow them to cherry-pick. Don't say you want free trade in goods and capital with us, but you don't want free flow of people. You know it's all or none. And I think they're smart to do that because otherwise, literally, every member could start renegotiating right. Well, we want this part of it and not that part of it. So I think they're doing the right thing. They're sticking with the basic charter as it stands, and you know, take it or leave it.

Ken White

That's our conversation with Deborah Hewitt. And that's our podcast for this week. Leadership & Business is brought to you by the Center for Corporate Education at the College of William & Mary's Raymond A. Mason School of Business. The Center for Corporate Education can help you and your organization get to the next level with business and leadership development programs that specifically fit your needs. If you're interested in learning more about the opportunities at the Center for Corporate Education for you or your organization, visit our website at wmleadership.com. Thanks to our guest this week, Deborah Hewitt, and thanks to you for joining us. I'm Ken White. Until next time have a safe, happy, and productive week.

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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
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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.

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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.

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Show Notes
Show Notes
  • What are leadership networks?
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