Look Toward The Future

Episode 968: Look Toward The Future, with Jacob Morgan

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Look toward the future with Jacob Morgan. Learn the mindset and skills that business leaders can acquire when they look toward the future.

A look toward the future of work and leadership drove Jacob to pursue a career as a certified futurist. There are so many lessons to learn from this, and glimpsing into the future will work wonders for your business without you realizing it. 

Jacob Morgan is a four-time bestselling author, keynote speaker, and trained futurist who explores leadership, employee experience, and the future of work. He is the founder of FutureofWorkUniversity.com, an online education, and training platform that helps future-proof individuals and organizations by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the future of work. He is also the host of the weekly podcast The Future of Work, where he talks with top-level executives and bestselling authors about everything related to the future of work.


What you will learn in this episode of look toward the future:

  • How Jacob’s career journey started with him being a “terrible student”, and why a negative experience with a former boss pushed Jacob into his entrepreneurial journey
  • How Jacob is eager to look toward the future of work and leadership then develop a career around it
  • Why the six key concepts for the future are AI & technology; the pace of change; the new talent landscape; purpose & meaning; morality, ethics & transparency; and globalization
  • Jacob explains these six concepts and shares why each doesn’t stand alone but serve as an interconnected system
  • How the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has gone from 60 years in the 1950s to 20 years in 1990 and is expected to drop to just 14 years in 2026
  • How the framework of “job, purpose, impact and meaning” offers a guide to achieving your goals and maximizing results as a leader
  • Why leaders shouldn’t fear people disagreeing with them but should be more concerned about whether people understand what they stand for in the first place
  • What Jacob has determined to be the four mindsets and five skills that business leaders need to master to operate in the future
  • How there are two types of challenges for organizations, and how Jacob’s Notable Nine skills can help you overcome both types of challenges
  • Jacob shares some surprising research results highlighting aspects of the relationship between employees and their leaders
  • Look toward the future and envision what your business is going to be by then


Additional Resources:



Look Toward The Future: Full Episode Transcript


Get ready to find your recipe for success on how to look toward the future from America’s top business owners here at Onward Nation with your host, Stephen Woessner.


Good morning. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI and your host for Onward Nation, where I interview today’s top business owners so we can learn their recipe for success, how they built and how they scaled their business. In fact, my team at Predictive ROI will, I hope you’ve seen this. And so I’m just going to shine a bit of a bright light on it.


And how we’ve been rebuilding and building out and scaling our free resources section really has turned into a resources library that you can find on predictive roi.com. So you can download free practical and tactical guides for everything. How to build out your own authority sales machine. Everything from how to create your ideal client avatar, how to build out your value ladder, how to build out a sales funnel, and how to make sure your content strategy aligns with the ten truths to what makes someone an authority within their niche should just go to PredictiveROI.com/resources.


And as always, everything you request, we will send it right to your inbox before we welcome. Today’s the very special guest. I want to share some additional context around why, when Jacob Morgan and I were going back and forth about having this conversation, why it just knew that this was going to be something that was just off the charts.


Helpful. So here’s the context. Jacob is a four time bestselling author, a keynote speaker, and a futurist who explores leadership, employee experience, and the future of work Onward Nation. He’s the founder of TheFutureOrganization.com, which is an education and training platform that helps future proof individuals and their organizations by teaching the skills necessary to succeed in the future.


So, Jacob and I, we’re going to dive deep into some really big and meaty topics. I mean big topics, things like what are the trends that he sees that are shaping leadership? As you’ll hear, Jacob is in the trenches doing research with some of the biggest, most influential companies and executives on the planet and how he curates this into trends, I think is going to be very, very compelling and super helpful for you Onward Nation.


Well, so what are those trends say? What do they point to? They point to the top skills that leaders need today, as well as what are the skills that they’re going to need to master into the future? What are some of the greatest challenges facing leaders today? We all know that we’re getting a skills test today in many ways, shapes and forms, and it’s creating pressure and stress like we’ve not seen before.


So how are these insights going to be helpful to us? Also, this global leadership gap I’m using Jacob’s words there in specifically how leaders around the world think they’re doing much better than they actually are, which I think is going to be very intriguing to get his point of view around that. So this is going to be one of those conversations Onward Nation where you’re gonna want to take notes.


There’s going to be golden nuggets galore. And I’m very excited and honored that we get to have this conversation with Jacob Morgan. So without further ado, welcome to Onward Nation.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization 


Look Toward The Future: Jacob Morgan’s Introduction


Jacob, thank you for having me. You’re very kind. In the intro. You really built me up there. Well, all of it is true, obviously. and thank you very much for saying yes.


In all sincerity, I think this is going to be one of those conversations that creates those transformative moments for our audience. And so before we dive in, though, with which I’m sure is going to feel like a litany of questions that I’m going to fire your way, take us behind the curtain here first, Jacob, and and give us more insight into your path and journey.


For some additional context, and then we’ll dive in. Sure. Well, I suppose that my path is maybe not that dissimilar from some of the people who are listening. But I was always a terrible student in school. So my high school GPA was a 2.79, went to community college, Santa Monica Community College in Los Angeles, got a 2.8 GPA.


And then I went to the University of California, Santa Cruz. And that’s when I realized that if I don’t do well here, that I’m not going to get any jobs. So I really decided to focus and buckle down. And I graduated there with a dual BA in economics and psychology. In my first job out of college was for a technology company in Southern California.


When I interviewed there, I was told that I’d be doing all these really amazing and wonderful things and traveling across the country and meeting with entrepreneurs. And they really built up this opportunity, this company, to be something amazing. So I took the job and I had a three hour daily commute, which I was willing to forgo because the opportunity sounded great.


A couple months into my job, I’m doing data entry and cold calling and PowerPoint presentations, and the pivotal moment for me was when I, the CEO came out of his beautiful corner office in downtown LA and he says, Jacob, I got a really important project for you. And so I got very, very excited. I ran over to him and I said, yeah, what is it?


And he hands me a $10 bill and says, I’m late for a meeting. I need you to go down to Starbucks and get me a cup of coffee, and you can get yourself a latte as well. Oh, boy. Yeah. That was, one of the last full time jobs I’ve ever had working for anybody else over 15 years ago.


And ever since then, I’ve been really passionate about how do we create organizations where people want to show up? How do we build and cultivate leaders where we actually want to work with and for them? So I suppose I should be thankful for that cup of coffee. But ever since then, I’ve been on kind of my own entrepreneurial journey and building my business from scratch.


No context, no Rolodex, no experience, no nothing. So I had to really claw and grind my way over the last 15 years. Is it okay if I say great story? Because obviously that was a not so awesome moment. That triggered a great story, right? Yeah, yeah, that is true. Okay. And so where did the futurist piece come in?


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Becoming a Researcher and a Practitioner


Like okay, I can now help companies and their teams see into the future where like where did that come from? A lot of people think that futurists predict the future, but futurists actually help. Just make sure that you’re not surprised by what the future might bring. I use the analogy of sort of like playing a game of chess where you don’t know what your opponent is going to play, but you can think in terms of scenarios and possibilities, so that when your opponent makes a move on the board, you’re not just kind of taking it back like, oh, I didn’t see that coming.


You kind of think through it of like, oh yeah, that was one of the moves I thought he might play or she might play. And for a while, a future. A lot of people don’t realize this is an actual field of study. You can study, foresight. And there are a couple schools around the world that offer this.


And I studied a lot of these frameworks and models for many, many years because I was really fascinated in it. I love science fiction books, movies, and I was just really interested in the whole future, futures in space. And, eventually I went back toto school at the University of Houston and received my professional certification, in foresight.


So I actually went and I studied this stuff. I’ve been practicing these ideas for a while, but I didn’t have the certification behind it. So I went back to school and actually got certified with it. What do I think? What’s amazing, too, so not only have you taken this additional study, but you’re, I don’t know if you. I guess you can be my litmus test here.


I look at that as. Okay, you’re also a practitioner in the field doing research all the time as you’re collecting, through interviews and data and your analysis of it. So would that be fair to say that you are a practitioner, a researcher and practitioner in the field collecting data and then sifting through that? Well, what does it mean?


And then how is that going to be helpful then to the leaders in your community, right? Oh for sure. Yeah. I mean I do a mix of different things, but for all the books that I write, I try to do a fair bit of research on it. So when I have a topic that I’m looking to explore, for example, the recent books on leadership, my previous book was An Employee Experience, and even in that one I looked at 252 companies.


I looked at financial data. I try to bring in a lot of the research into the work that I’m doing so that people know it’s not just opinion, it’s not just observation. It’s stuff that’s actually based on data. It’s based on interviews with top CEOs. I think it adds a lot more credibility to it when I have that.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Trends in Shaping Leadership


So I try to do that whenever I can. Yeah. Great. Great insights too. So take us inside the trends piece. So when you think of trends that you see shaping leadership today as well as into the future, and I know that from a predictive standpoint, but to help us think through potential scenarios and so forth. So we’re not surprised.


What are some of those trends that you are actively sharing and bringing people and let’s say up to speed. But making sure that they’re familiar with there are six of them. Okay. and I can list through them quickly. And then if you want to go in depth in any of them, you can let me know.


Awesome. The first one is artificial intelligence and technology. Number two is the overall pace of change, of how quickly things are changing and moving. Number three is just the new talent landscape that we’re seeing. Number four is purpose and meaning. Number five is morality, ethics and transparency. And number six is globalization. Wow. Okay. So I was trying to write as fast as I could like you if you want to do this.


Yeah, I think number four again. What’s number four again. And number four is purpose and meaning. But if you want I can go through all six and just give you like a sentence about each one. That would be awesome. Okay. Cool. 


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: The 6 Trends


So, the first one was artificial intelligence and technology and basically this I think a lot of people are familiar with, it just looks at how technology, how things like I are going to disrupt work, how they might disrupt jobs, and how we need to update and upgrade the skills and mindsets that we have as a result.


Number two is pace of change. And this is just the general nature of change that we’re seeing in the world of work. Whether it’s around employee values and expectations, whether it’s around technology, whether it’s around something like climate change or fighting against social injustice, it’s just things are moving really, really quickly and leaders are having a hard time trying to keep up.


Number three is the new talent landscape. So we see multiple generations in the workplace. We see, in the work, not just employees, but we see a mix of employees, of contractors, of, you know, part time, full time gig workers. So we see just a different talent landscape, employees who care about different things, employees who come from different backgrounds, different generations. So talent today looks different, considerably different than it did, several years ago. 


Number four is purpose and meaning. These are things that we care about more than ever in, things that we want to be able to get from our organizations. Number five is morality, ethics and transparency. And now, more than ever, employees and customers want to work for leaders, for organizations where they know there’s a moral compass, where they know the leaders are going to be ethical, and where they know leaders are going to be transparent.


And this is something a lot of leaders really, really struggle with because they’re not used to this. And number six is globalization, which basically means that the world we live in is becoming like a big city. And the barriers and boundaries to doing business anywhere in the world are crumbling. 


Wow. Okay. So, as I look at the list and I know that each of the six are big in media and each of the six are super relevant during what we’re experiencing today with Covid, social unrest, social injustice, inequality, all of these are all very important topics that we’re finally having conversations about.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: An Interdependency Between The 6 Trends


So let me ask you from your perspective, and maybe this is an unfair question to ask you to choose. But, knowing our audience, we’re, you know, talking about before the interview like what are some golden nuggets in it? Maybe 1 or 2 of these that you think would be the most relevant or is this UN is an unfair, completely unfair and impossible to prioritize like that?


And we should actually go through each of the six. I really love your guidance here. Well, it’s hard to pick one because this is a situation where if you focus on maybe 2 or 3 and you ignore the others. The others will disrupt your business. Fair point. And so it’s really, really hard to just pick 1 or 2 of them and to have those be the ones that you focus on.


I mean, I honestly think all of these are going to be relevant and are going to impact all businesses around the world and especially, you know, smaller businesses, especially entrepreneurs, people like, who are listeners of your show. And so, yeah, I mean, it’s hard, honestly, to pick one. I think all six of them are completely crucial.


Okay. And so, let me ask you this. And then maybe we can step into each of them. But are the six, in your opinion, are the six interdependent? Like, are they because my based on what you just shared there, my thought is probably. But I’m asking you because obviously you’re the expert.


And in reviewing and collecting data around these trends. So is there truly an interdependency between the six? They can certainly work together. Yeah. So things like for example, the new talent landscape and purpose and meaning, I mean they flow in together. Right. So it’s not as if they are complete six separate buckets that have nothing to do with each other.


They kind of flow into each other. So you can kind of look at it like, you know, six buckets standing next to each other, and they’re all overflowing and the water is going from one bucket into the next. So they’re definitely very much related. and kind of flow back and forth. Great metaphor. Okay. I was visualizing that as you’re describing it.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Keeping Up with The Pace of Change


That was really, really good. Okay. So would it be possible to maybe, give us a highlight, maybe share a golden nugget out of, or like a key takeaway out of each of the six? Would that be possible? Yeah. And that’s exactly. So what we can do is we can talk about the six. And as you mentioned, this is what leads to the skills and mindsets that I think leaders really need to practice.


Okay. Awesome. So I’ll go through each one of these and kind of maybe pull out what I think is one of the most crucial aspects. And then we can jump to the next one. So when it comes to AI and technology, I think the big piece, the important thing for people to remember here is that automating a job is not the same thing as replacing a person.


And from all the CEOs I interviewed, there is general optimism around the future of work and the role that technology is going to play in the world of business. Now, in the context of the book, I specifically look at leadership, those who are running these businesses, those who are guiding and leading people. And in that context, AI and technology is going to make it blatantly clear who the bad leaders are and who the good leaders are because leaders typically focus on two aspects.


They, again, using the bucket analogy, one thing that a leader does is they make decisions. And the second thing that a leader does is they get people to move in the direction of the decision. But if I and technology will augment, and in some cases replace a lot of that decision making peace. If as a leader, all you do is tell other people what to do and you focus on command and control and technology is going to do that better than you, then your value to any organization, large or small, is going to diminish considerably and may even just disappear altogether.


But if instead you focus on both of those things, you know how to make decisions, but you also focus on the human aspect of getting people to move in the direction of that decision. Now, all of a sudden, your value within any organization increases by tenfold. And so the important thing here is that AI and technology is going to make organizations, I think, more human.


And it’ll make it blatantly clear who the good and the bad leaders are. Then again, there’s a ton that could be said on this, but I’ll jump to the next one, which is specifically around the overall pace of change. And again, here to one of the questions that I always ask the CEOs when I interview them is, how are you keeping up with this pace of change?


And their response was, well, we’re not keeping up. We’re just embracing that this is the new normal. Things are never going to be as slow as they are now, and I think that’s something that a lot of people need to remember, that we’re kind of forced to lead in a world that does not yet exist. And this is a very, very challenging thing to do.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Test Ideas and Experiment Within Your Company


There was a study that came out, I think it was with Dell and the Institute for the future, and they found that 85% of the jobs in 2030 have not even been invented yet. And if you look throughout history, there are a lot of organizations, armor, Bismarck, RCA, Bethlehem Steel, Douglas Aircraft. I mean, these were all very, very massive organizations at their time that most people don’t even know of anymore.


So, in the end, hopefully my recollection of this is correct, but in the 1950s, the average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 was 60 years. Wow. So almost a full lifetime, in 1965. So 15 years later, it shrunk to 33 years. in 1990, it shrunk to 20 years. And in 2026, the estimates are that this is going to shrink to 14 years.


Holy bananas. Yeah. So we’re going from a company that was on the S&P 500 for 60 years, down to 14 years. So does that also factor in like an exit through an acquisition. Or is it mean like they could do anything? It could be acquisition. It could be bankruptcy. It could be any number of things.


Okay. the fortune 500 list, actually, since its inception in 1955, there are only 53 companies that are still remaining on the list. Wow. So 53 companies out of 500 are still on the fortune 500. And this just goes to show that even if you’re a massive organization and you think you’re great and untouchable and nothing’s going to happen to you. We’re seeing a lot of change in the world.


Companies are not as bulletproof as they think they are. Companies are not insulated from the world as they think they are. So this is crucial for leaders. It means you need to constantly test ideas and experiment, build alliances with people and organizations, and you got to surround yourself by people who are smarter than you, who are more talented, more capable than you.


The next one is around purpose and meaning. And I have a whole section in the book where I talk about the distinction between what purpose, an impact and meaning is. But from a nutshell, basically what this means is that employees care and customers care. We all care about more than dollars and cents. I mean, this has been very, very clear and something that has been very, very true over the years.


And I can just quickly walk through the framework of the job purpose, impact, meaning, because I think it’ll be relevant for your group. Oh, I love it. That’d be awesome. Thank you. So there are four, four pieces to this, four steps to this that I want people to visualize, okay. Job, purpose, impact and meaning. Everybody knows their job.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Job Purpose, Impact, and Meaning


It is what is written on the job description why you got hired. My job is to sell. My job is to write code. Everybody knows what their job is. The next piece of this is the purpose. The purpose is, why are you doing that job? So, for example, the customer service agent might say, my job is to talk to customers on the phone all day.


The purpose of that is I’m trying to help customers solve their problems. I’m trying to get them to have a better day. I’m trying to get them to want to come back and transact with my agency, with my company on a regular basis. That’s the purpose. That’s the intention of your job. Next is the impact. This is the outcome.


And the impact here is, well, if your purpose is to make the lives of your customers easier. Is that the impact you’re actually having? So at the very least, you want your purpose and your impact to be equal. Meaning your outcome is matching your intention. Ideally, your impact will be even greater than your intention, meaning you’re going above and beyond your purpose.


What your intention is what you set out to do. You’re delivering exceptional customer experiences. You’re really, really going above and beyond. What you want to avoid is having your impact below your purpose. Meaning my purpose is to make the lives of my customers easier. But the actual outcome, the impact that I have, is that I’m making them more frustrated.


That’s not a situation that you want to be in, right? The last piece of this is meaning. Meaning is very subjective. This is what you personally get out of what it is that you do. So for example, for the customer service agent, this might be I personally get meeting meaning from building relationships. I personally get meaning from, speaking with different people, with building relationships, with learning about people, with having that human connection that’s personally meaningful to me.


If I’m an engineer, I might get personal meeting out of tackling complex challenges that nobody else can figure out. So job purpose, impact and meaning. Now, leaders typically have a good sense of their job, their purpose, and their impact because they have a lot of visibility into the organization. Most employees know what their job is, but they don’t have any insight into their purpose and impact.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Providing Insight


And I’ll give you an example. I’ll give you a story, and you can just tell me to shut up whenever I’m. This is awesome. I’ll tell you that. Go ahead. Please. I used to work in a movie theater many, many years ago, probably 20 years ago. And the movie theater, they used to run a contest, and it was the contest of who can upsell the most number of customers.


So you would come to the concession stand and you’d say, I want a medium popcorn, medium drink. And my response would be, well, for a dollar more, you can upgrade both to a large. Whoever can upgrade the most number of customers in a given week would be given a $5,000 gift card. I want a couple of these. And I you know, I did this all the time, but I had no idea why I was doing it.


The San Diego Zoo has a very similar program. Again, employees behind the concession stand and customers come through. They try to upgrade, upsell, get them to walk away with a stuffed animal, whatever it is. The difference is at the San Diego Zoo, the employees there know how the extra money they’re bringing in is going to help to, an extinction of a certain animal and how the extra money they bring in is helping with conservation efforts, how it’s impacting the zoo.


So the difference is both myself and the employees at the San Diego Zoo were doing the same thing, but I had no idea why I was doing it. I didn’t know the purpose or the impact. So the moral of the story is that for your employees, a lot of them are not going to know their purpose and their impact.


And the way that you can help them figure that out is give them insight, help them see how the work that they’re doing is impacting the business, how it’s helping customers, how it’s doing something tells stories, right? That is a crucial aspect here, but you need to help connect the job that someone has to the purpose and the impact that it’s having.


The last piece of this is meaning. Meaning is very subjective. you can ask employees questions to help them figure out their meaning. Now, what is it you enjoy? What do you care about? What do you value? What are you passionate about? But ultimately, meaning is something that we as individuals need to, need to understand and need.


They need to grasp, need to try to figure out what do you personally get out of what it is that you’re doing, and if you’re not personally getting anything out of it, then why are you doing it to begin with? Right? Well, the key here is that you want the, the purpose, and the values of the organization to in some way align with the meaning that that an employee gets if there’s no alignment at all between the people who work there in the company and the values, it’s not a good fit.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Talent Landscaping


Okay, so that was a long kind of rambling about the purpose and meaning, but hopefully that’ll give people some good context there. I’ll go through the other two quickly. trend number five was around morality, ethics and transparency and Oh no, I skipped the new talent landscape. Sorry. That’s okay. I was going to ask you to go back to it, but that’d be great.


Yeah. So the talent landscape really this is around, upskilling and retraining, right? Talent is changing. It doesn’t look the same way it does, now, as it did in the past. And it’s not going to look the same way in the future as it does now. So this means we need to think about things like diversity and inclusion.


We need to think about retraining and upskilling our people because things are changing quickly. So that’s kind of like, you know, it’s the whole talent landscape. That’s really what that means is, you know, upskilling, retraining, understanding that things are changing. And we need to equip ourselves and our people with the right tools necessary. The next one is morality, ethics and transparency.


And this just basically means that you, as a leader can no longer hide in the gray area. You need to take a stance, stop what you believe in, what you care about, what you value. And this is something that leaders have constantly avoided because leaders, and just in general, we as individuals, have a fear that we don’t want to speak up for what we stand for because people are going to disagree with us.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Ethical Vs Moral Organization


So as a leader, I don’t want to say, you know, I believe in this. I don’t believe in this. I want to fight for this. I don’t want to fight for this because I’m worried that my employees are going to say, oh, man, I don’t agree with that. But the biggest fear that we as a leader have, that we as an individual should have, is not that somebody is going to disagree with us, it’s that they don’t know what we stand for to begin with.


So that, to me, is a far bigger misstep than being open and transparent with what you care about and having other people disagree with you. It’s okay if as a leader, people disagree with you, it’s not okay if there’s a leader. People do not know what you stand for and what you care about to begin with. People want to work with and for leaders who stand for something, leaders who are doing the right thing and being ethical and moral is different.


Ethical just means you follow the rules. Moral means that you have your own Northstar. You have your own moral compass, you know. Marc Benioff, he’s a very, very good example of this. And some people might remember and I’m trying to remember the state that it, that it was, but there was a, a state where basically they passed a law that basically said that you can turn down serving, any gay, lesbian, customers.


And, it was a law that was passed. Meaning that it was legal. So by not doing this, you were technically doing the ethical thing because you were following the rules. It was gay, lesbian and transgender people. Yeah. That’s right. and so what happened is Marc Benioff stepped up and he said, you know what?


I don’t care if this is ethical. I don’t care if this is the law. I don’t agree with this. This violates my moral compass. And so what he did is he said, anybody who works in this state, that is a Salesforce employee, we will happily relocate you and cover all your expenses. We’re going to cancel all conferences and all events that are happening in this state.


And so he really stepped up and eventually the state changed. They changed their law. But that’s an example of the difference between an ethical organization and a moral one, and the moral ethical versus a moral situation. It was Indiana. I was actually trying to look that up while we were speaking. So Indiana actually had that law that was signed, which, as far as I understand since has been overturned.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Globalization in Business


So as a leader, you really need to step up. You need to be transparent, share what you care about and value. The last one, as I mentioned, is globalization. And globalization is really just this idea that the world is becoming smaller. I mean, there used to be a time when you had to stick to a certain currency, you know, only one culture.


But if you look at what’s happened, merchants and explorers travel to different parts of the world. We bring culture, ideas and currencies all over the place. And so today you can live in the United States. You have a car that’s imported from Japan, you eat at a local German restaurant, you get meat that comes from New Zealand. It made that were made in Thailand and use tech that was manufactured in China.


So we live in a very, very different world. People, ideas, technology, information, anything that you can think of has become very, very, dynamic. It flows from one part of the world to the other, which means that the barriers to doing any kind of business are decreasing. I have a team of ten people, for example, that I work with.


I’ve only met one of them in person ever. And we’ve worked together for many, many years, and they are the best at what they do. So we need to remember that the world itself is becoming like a big city. So those are the six trends. Amazing. Great examples, great stories that you’ve, intertwined with the lessons. That’s fantastic.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Balancing Humanity and Technology


So let me, just quickly go back to the four when you mentioned job purpose, impact and meaning. So it’s the relationship between those four, like, in your opinion, is it linear? Or should we not even be looking at it as a step one, step two, step three, step four. Because that doesn’t exist. They’re interdependent.


They I mean, you can look at it as a series of steps. Okay. Because it’s very hard to have one unless you have the thing that comes before it. So I think for something like this, you can look at it as a series of steps. So first is, you know, what is it that you do? What’s the intention of what you do?


What’s the outcome of what you do and why do you do it? What do you personally get out of what it is that you do? And but if you don’t have the previous components, then it’s very hard to get that personal meaning. So you can certainly look at it as a linear path. Okay, great high level overview. And then you also busted it out, several, golden nuggets out of each of the six, which was awesome.


So then how, in your opinion then how do the six trends that you just shared with us, How does that then connect into, you know, top skills that, in your opinion, leaders need both now and as they prepare for the future? There are so from the research I did for the book and to give people some context, I interviewed 140 of the world’s top CEOs from organizations like Oracle, SAP, Unilever, Audi, Verizon, Kaiser and many, many others all over the world.


Amazing. And I also teamed up with LinkedIn, and we surveyed nearly 14,000 employees around the world. And what came from all this research, specifically from the CEOs, is that there are four mindsets and five skills. The leaders need to master. And if you want, I can go through all these and maybe just give like a sentence about each one.


I’d be grateful. Thanks. So I gave them these kind of fun names to make it easy to remember. The first is the mindset of the global citizen. Mindset of the global citizen means you are able to think big picture. Again, using the analogy of the chess board, you don’t just look at where the action is happening, you look at the whole board.


And part of being the global citizen means that you surround yourself with people who are not like you. I don’t just mean eating of ethnic restaurants. I mean legitimately seeking out people who are not like you and asking to be a part of teams where people are not like you. Next is the mindset of the servant. And keep in mind mindsets.


This is how you think. This is sort of like your operating system when you boot up every morning, these are the mindsets that you need to have. So again, big picture people who are not like you, right? Global citizen next is the mindset of the servant. Mindset of the servant means that you serve four groups. Your customers if you have them, your leaders, your team and yourself.


And you also have humility and vulnerability. Serving yourself means that. And a lot of people are always like, what do you mean? Serving yourself means that it’s exactly what it sounds like. You owe it to your team to take care of yourself. Meaning that if you show up to work each day and you’re burned out, you’re stressed out, you’re exhausted, you’re, you know, you don’t feel like you want to be there.


You cannot effectively lead anybody else. You’re just doing everyone a disservice. and so, I mean, we even see this, right? When you fly on a plane, they always say, put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others. Because if you’re incapacitated, you can’t help anybody else. Same thing is true in leadership. You can’t lead other people unless you first take care of yourself physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, whatever you got to do, eat healthy exercise, I don’t care.


But if you cannot show up to work each day to lead others and to be your best, then you’re not being a good leader and you’re letting your team down. That’s what leading, or serving yourself means. So the mindset of the servant, those are the four groups that you’re serving. Next, we have the mindset of the chef.


Mindset of the chef means that you as a leader, understand that there are two ingredients that you need to balance. And anybody who’s tried cooking knows that there are lots of ingredients that you usually balance. if you want to make a dish taste good, if you want to make it look good, be healthy. You got to balance a lot of different things for a leader.


You’re balancing two things here just to stir humanity and technology. How do you embrace as much technology as possible in your company, but do so in a way that doesn’t make your organization less human? For example, you know, has anybody ever found a chat bot that they have found to be effective? No. Has anybody ever found A18 hundred number where you call it and you get an automated response?


Is anybody ever found those things to be helpful? No. If you’re anything like me, you just mash the buttons on the phone until you get to a human right? So why give me the automated bot to begin with? And so a lot of organizations are very obsessed with using technology for the sake of technology, but it actually creates distance between humans.


And so the point of this is by all means use technology. Use as much freaking technology as you want, but do so in a way that makes your organization more human. Do so in a way that augments your people but doesn’t replace them. So two ingredients that you balance humanity and technology. Next is the mindset of the explorer.


The mindset of the explorer is about having curiosity, experimenting. It’s about having a growth mindset where obstacles and challenges are not viewed as permanent things, but they are viewed as things that you must overcome and tackle and get through. It means that you’re agile in, nimble in your thinking. So the explorer mindset is crucial, and a lot of us don’t spend enough time, for example, just being curious.


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Look Toward The Future: The 5 Skills of a Leader


So those are the four mindsets, the four ways that you need to think. Next, we have five skills. And skills are things that you as a leader actually need to know how to do. So the first one is the skill of the coach. How do you help other people around you become more successful than you? Not just more successful, but more successful than you because helping somebody become more successful is easy.


It doesn’t require a lot of time or effort or attention. You can have a five minute meeting with somebody, and then now they learn something they didn’t know before, and you could say they’re a little bit more successful. It’s easy. Helping somebody become more successful than you requires a lot of time and energy and effort and focus. And if you believe that as a leader, that’s your job.


Then when you show up to work each day, you’re going to be a very, very different type of person. So how do you help make other people become more successful than you? Real. Next is the skill of the futurist. And again, this isn’t about predicting the future. This is about thinking in terms of scenarios and possibilities and options and really getting your mind to exercise that mental muscle of not just thinking down a linear path.


Next is the skill of the technology teenager. And this just means you’re tech savvy and digitally fluent a technology. Every company is a technology company. Every leader needs to be a technology driven leader. Technology is not just an IT thing. If you look, for example, whenever we have an issue with technology, we always ask our kids, you know, we go to the teenagers.


I have a four year old now who is, you know, becoming a master of technology. You know, they’re not coders or developers. They just tinker. They play around with it. They figure it out. You as a leader need to have the same approach. Last to next is the skill of a translator. And the skill of the translator is very much about listening and communication, and listening and communication have of course been around forever.


But these are also the two things that are changing the most. I mean, I see grown men now taking selfies with each other and sending emojis back and forth. So listening has changed because we’re very distracted. We have all these technologies and devices at our disposal. And by the way, listening and hearing are not the same thing. Hearing is the unconscious act of letting sound enter your ear, and listening is purposeful.


It requires attention and focus. You put away your devices. You make eye contact. You focus on your body language. You ask follow up questions. There’s a saying that says there’s no greater sign of of love and respect that you can show someone than by listening to them and think about the impact that you as a leader have. If somebody comes to you and they feel that you’re hearing them, but you’re not listening, meaning you’re making eye contact, but they can tell that mentally you’re thinking about lunch.


And we’ve all been in those conversations where you’re talking to somebody and you’re like, are you? Are you really listening to what I’m saying? Are you here or are you present? And when an employee feels that you’re not there, or when a customer feels that you’re not there, it crushes them. It’s demoralizing. It makes them feel like they’re not important.


So listening and hearing are not the same thing. When we talk about communication, look at all the different channels we have at our disposal. Now. I mean, you can text, you have emojis, you have collaboration tools, you have video conferencing tools, you have email. You can do things in person. You can write things. You can talk to somebody on the phone.


We’re talking about augmented and virtual reality stuff going forward. Some are experimenting with holograms. As a leader, you need to make sure that you know which platform, which communication method to use to get your message across. Meaning, if you’re going to have a serious conversation with somebody and you’re going to let them go, don’t send them a sad face emoji.


If you’re going to, if you want an update on a project, don’t send a text to one of your employees and force them to respond with 5000 words using their thumbs. Know which tools to use at your disposal to get your message across. And the very last one here is the skill of Yoda. And Yoda is the skill of emotional intelligence, specifically empathy and self-awareness.


Empathy is about putting yourself into somebody else’s shoes and perspectives and being able to see things from it, from their perspective and self-awareness is understanding your strengths and your weaknesses, and also making sure that other people around you understand your strengths and weaknesses as well. So this is a collection called the Notable Nine. And can I actually mention something if people want to learn more about this?


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Helpful Resources


Of course. So of course, there’s the book, which I would love it if people grab, but we, I put this in an article. They did really, really well. And it did so well that we put it into a PDF. So if anybody wants the PDF that breaks these things down, they can go to TheLeadershipDigest.com.


And you’ll be able to download a PDF of these nine, and get kind of an explanation and a quote from a CEO who’s talking about this. Fantastic. And Onward Nation, we’ll put links to both of those resources. from Jacob. We’ll put those in today’s show notes. And, Jacob, I know that we’re quickly running out of time here.


This was awesome. The notable nine. So as I’m thinking about the notable nine. And I’m tracking all of this in my notes. Then as you were talking I’m thinking, okay, how does this then hook into, Jacob’s point of view around the greatest challenges that are going to be facing leaders, whether we’re thinking about now or we’re, thinking about as we step into the future, whatever the future is going to be.


So is that the right way to think about this, that we’ve got the four mindsets, we’ve got the five skills we have. We obviously have the six trends, like how do those then shape into or maybe identify the greatest challenges there. So the way that I thought about challenges in the book is I broke them down into two types of challenges.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization


Look Toward The Future: Humanized Challenges


There are future challenges and humanized challenges. And the future challenges are exactly what it sounds like making sure your organization stays relevant, you know, it’s ready for the future. And the humanized challenges are exactly what those sound like. Making sure your organization stays human and focuses on people. And the good thing is that if you master the skills and mindsets that I talked about the notable nine, you will be able to overcome these challenges.


And I can quickly go through these, and I think they’re pretty self-explanatory. But if you want me to look at them in a more detail, I can. So first the human, the future challenges which are moving away from short term thinking to focusing on long term thinking, adapting to technology, keeping up with the overall pace of change, and moving away from the status quo.


Meaning doing things the way they’ve always been done simply because they’ve always been done that way. Then we have the humanized challenges, which are leading diverse teams reskilling and upskilling your workforce, attracting and retaining talent, focusing on actually doing good and making the organization human. So those are the challenges that current and future leaders will have to overcome.


And again, by embracing the skills and mindsets, you will be able to overcome those challenges. This is great because I think what you’ve given us here, you know, again, I like the visuals. And as you’ve been talking, I’ve been able to sort of see visuals where whether you intended that or not, I mean, you’re a great storyteller.


And around the notable nine, I can absolutely see how that becomes like a blueprint to follow. So that is just awesome. 


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Look Toward The Future: The Global Leadership Gap


Okay. So, again, I know that we’re quickly running out of time here, but I wonder if there’s still time. In the next few minutes to address the global leadership gap. Like, I love to get your point of view and perspective around the gap that you’re seeing.


So a gap is obviously not a good thing. So why did you describe it as that? And then what are you seeing? There are a couple gaps. Okay. so there’s just kind of third party research and then there’s mine. So the scary thing that I learned from doing all this research is first I asked a lot of leaders around the world, how well do you think you’re practicing these skills and mindsets?


And a lot of leaders were like, hey, we’re doing a good job. You know, were some of them said they were doing amazing, but most leaders were like, yeah, we’re pretty good. and they said this consistently across the board with the skills, with the mindsets. They said this in terms of we’re ready for the future, we’re ready for these challenges.


We’re ready for these trends. Okay. So in general, leaders were like, we’re good. Then I asked the people who work for these leaders and the people who work for these leaders say, oh man, we’re in trouble. Our leaders are not doing a good job of practicing these skills and mindsets. They’re not ready to face these challenges. They are in no way thinking about these trends and taking any actions to prepare.


So that part of the gap is that leaders live in a bubble. And this is, you know, something that we’ve talked about for decades, right? The ivory tower disconnected from the company, but there hasn’t really been much research that supports it until now. So this really does show that as a leader, it doesn’t matter how well you think you’re doing as a leader.


I don’t care how prepared you think you are. What matters is those around you. Do they think you’re ready? Do they think you’re prepared? Are they confident in your ability to lead them going forward? So that’s one part of the gap is that leaders are nowhere near as ready and prepared as they think they are. But the second gap actually comes from just other research that was done, which basically shows that a lot of employees are not happy with their leaders.


There was, for example, the Gallup study in the United States which showed that over 7000, or they studied 7000 Americans, and they found that around 50% of people had actually left the job at some point to get away from their manager, to improve their overall quality of life. Another study by Ultimate Software found that 80% of employees say they can do their jobs without their managers.


There’s the Gallup, another Gallup study which found that only 15% of employees around the world are engaged in their jobs. DTI, they surveyed 25,000 leaders around the world. Only 42% said that the overall quality of leadership in their companies was high. And the scary I. What I think the scary number is that 14% of the organizations have what DTI calls a strong leadership bench, meaning that they follow the leaders.


They got wiped out. Do we have enough ready to go leaders who can step up and take their place? only 14% of organizations said yes. So we’re really not thinking about the future. 71% of organizations said that their leaders are not ready to lead their organizations in the future. Okay. So there’s a lot of research and data out there that shows not only are we doing a terrible job now, but we are in no way prepared for the future.


So we have a massive leadership gap. I did an article in a podcast on this recently, and I actually called it. I said, we have a leadership pandemic, except unlike the other pandemic that we’re dealing with, which doesn’t have a cure at the moment, this is one that we can cure. This is one that we can do something about. But we need to change the way that we think about leadership. So that is the huge gap that we are faced with. 


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Look Toward The Future: Not Recognizing the Work That Needs to Be Done


Well great job, explaining it and articulate it again, visualizing it. And when you said in gap one that were, leaders are nowhere as prepared as they think that they are. I went back into my notes.


When you’re talking about the four mindsets and when you’re walking through servant, you use the word humility. So I wonder if arrogance is a hubris? Is it just, not wanting to recognize the work that needs to be done in order to close this gap, or to make sure that there’s no gap? Like, like that stood out to me and immediately went back to my notes and I’m like, Jacob, it said humility is that indication of lack of humility?


It could be a mix of another of a number of things. one lack of education, training on behalf of the leader. two it could be fear on behalf of the leader. They don’t want to change. They’re comfortable with the way things have always been going. And, change is scary. it could be lack of humility. It could be ego.


It could be, maybe a lack of communication or collaboration in the team. Maybe there’s so much hierarchy that leaders are just not doing a good job of communicating while the rest of the employees just don’t have insight into what the leaders are doing. There could be a lot of different reasons for why this is the case. But my view is that a lot of leaders are simply insulated.


They don’t have enough insight into what’s happening on the ground floor of their company, and they genuinely are not prepared. They are not ready. They think they are because of the little bubble that they live in. And so to give you another analogy, it’s kind of like, pretend you were going on a really, really long train ride, like a 30 year train ride.


And so you get on this train and it’s been going for 30 years now while you’re in the train, everything looks the same. And so there’s no change. You feel like you’re still in the modern world, and then 30 years go by, you get off the train and everything around you looks different now. Like, what the hell is going on here?


Clothes are different, buildings are different. It looks like a totally different world. But you haven’t experienced that because you’ve been on this train. And so the analogy here is that leaders are refusing to step off the train. They are on this train constantly, and they refuse to get off to look at the world around them, to truly see how things are changing and to acknowledge and to embrace it.


Sometimes we see change and we say like, yeah, whatever. That’s not going to have any long term impact. That’s just kind of a thing that’s tapping on happening right now. But it’s going to go away or we see something and we’re like, yeah, you know, that’s kind of cool. But it’s not really for me.


It’s not for us. It’s, you know, we kind of brush it off and that hurts the organization. So I think for anyone listening, whether it’s for your career or whether it’s for your organization, the moral of the story is you have to learn to get off the train. You need to look at how the world is changing, embrace the changes that you’re starting to see in community, that you are doing and making change happen with your teams.


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Look Toward The Future: Final Advice from Jacob


This has been so awesome. thank you for being as generous as you were and sharing your insights, your expertise, the findings of your research, breaking it into golden nuggets that our audience could take and apply. This is really, really exceptional, Jacob. So I know that we’ve quickly run out of time. I cannot believe how fast this went.


I mean, just now we have pages of notes. Exceptional. You’re just going to have to have me back one day. I would love to. I would love to. And we’ll talk about the entrepreneurial side of things. That would be fantastic. So before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, Jacob, any final advice that you want to share?


Anything you think we might have missed? And then please do tell our listeners the best way to connect with you. I think that the last parting words of wisdom for me and this is, it’s what I have on the cover of my book. It’s an image of a lighthouse and it’s kind of the visual that I want people to walk away with.


When you think of a leader, I want you to think of yourself as a lighthouse. Now, of course, lighthouses today are few and far between, but what they symbolize, I think, still makes a lot of sense. The whole purpose of a lighthouse was to guide mariners and explorers to their destinations, but to make sure that they got there in a safe way.


And that’s what I view the purpose of a leader to guide your people in your organizations to success, but to make sure that they can get there safely. And the whole thing of a lighthouse is as a leader, part of it is you need to build yourself up to become this lighthouse so that you can shine your big, bright light into the sea of uncertainty and onto others.


But the important thing here is that a lighthouse is useless if there are no ships in the water, meaning that you can build yourself up. You can get that really big bright light. But if you cannot guide others, if there are no ships in the water, then what good is that light? Who are you guiding? Why are you building yourself up?


So you need to remember that your job as a leader is to take people along with you to help make other people more successful, even if it means they’re more successful than you. So that’s kind of the visual that I want people to walk away with. And then, yeah, I do have a couple resources for people who are interested.


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Look Toward The Future: How to Connect with Jacob


So one, I mentioned you can go to the Leadership Digest if you want to get the PDF. If you want to take an assessment that will look at how well you are practicing these skills and mindsets, you can go to FutureLeaderSurvey.com. For people who are interested in going even crazier with this, there is a course.


The URL for that is Future Leader Course. And right now it says that the doors are closed. But if you put your name and email down there on the waitlist, then I can reach out to you and let you know when it’s open. So there’s a course that we put together. And then, of course, my personal website for anybody who wants to reach out to me is TheFutureOrganization.com.


And the email is [email protected]. So connect on social media, say hi let me know. You tuned into the podcast say hello awesome and onward. No matter how many notes you took or how often you go back and relisten to Jacob’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope that you do. You have to take this incredible blueprint, this body of knowledge that he so generously shared with you.


Take it and apply it, and you’ll accelerate your results. And Jacob, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day. And I know how compressed your schedule is. I am grateful that you said yes to come on to the show, to share your insights, the trends, the research and your point of view around leadership so that we could all move our businesses onward to that next level.


Thank you so much, my friend. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. This episode is complete, so head over to OnwardNation.com for show notes and more food to fuel your ambition. Continue to find your recipe for success here at Onward Nation.


Learn how to look toward the future by using these 14 principles for your organization

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