The beautiful thing about innovation is that it almost always starts the same, humble way - with a person and an idea. Our greatest technological achievements - the iPhone, the electric car, the printing press - all started with someone who saw a problem and dared to envision a solution. It’s what Chris Powell calls “the art of the possible,” and it’s what has sustained his passion for the HR space for the last two decades. Chris Powell is the CEO of BlackbookHR, an HR software company that equips organizations to leverage workforce insights that impact productivity, performance, retention and culture.
Joe Cross is an Australian entrepreneur and filmmaker whose “reboot” concept empowers business leaders to take control of their health by making simple lifestyle changes. But before he was the picture of health and wellness and a beacon of hope for thousands across the globe, Joe Cross was on death’s door. By age 40, Joe’s health was in disarray, despite a flourishing career as a day trader and investor. As Joe explained it to us, he was focused on “wealth and not health,” and while he wasn’t looking his weight ballooned out of control. 100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe was at the end of his rope. Enough was enough. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, Joe discovered that the power to change was within his control, and that he could “reboot” his health and his life by making simple lifestyle changes. He lost the weight, cured his own disease, and threw all the pills away.
What is happening, Awesome Officers and purveyors of optimism? We’ve got a fresh new episode ready for your aural consumption that we think you will really enjoy. This one’s a little different though. This is the first episode of a new format we’re calling #SPKup. It’s a Q&A with AO captain Sean Patrick Kelly (aka, SPK), and a chance for you, the listener, to ask Sean any question you want. In this one, SPK tackles the top questions we hear from our awesome audience, covering all manner of topics, from business and leadership to life lessons and Sean’s greatest fears. No topic is out of bounds. This was recorded live in the middle of our SnackNation headquarters (the original Awesome Office), so don’t be surprised if you hear a steady buzz of activity (and some aggressive high-fiving) in the background.
Happiness. Does it really matter? Ask most business leaders fifteen years ago, and you’d be hard pressed to find one who thought that happiness was a primary concern, especially within the organization. Work is about results, and happiness is incidental. Or so the thinking went. Then came along a little company called Zappos, with a visionary CEO named Tony Hsieh who realized that delivering happiness was a unifying theme throughout the business. Not only did delivering happiness sum up the ideal experience for his customer, but making happiness a primary concern internally actually drove results. There’s no one in the world who understands the power of Happiness better than this week’s guest, Jenn Lim.
In a very literal sense, you’re about to have your mind blown. Or perhaps more accurately - this episode will blow your mind and then help you rebuild a better one. This week we have Dr. Robert Cooper, a bestselling author and researcher who holds a PhD in general psychology and neurology, and the proponent of a practice called “upwiring.” In this amazing interview, Dr. Cooper introduces us to the concept of “livewiring” - the idea that we’re constantly remaking the structure and function of our entire nervous system in realtime. The livewiring breakthrough led Dr. Cooper to the concept of upwiring - the practice of remaking your mind in a directed, purposeful way. The research has shown us that we all have the power to unlock hidden capabilities, push through obstacles, and generally perform better and lead richer, more fulfilling lives. And it's easier than you might think.
Liz Guthridge is a Charleston, South Carolina-based coach, consultant and trainer who specializes in employee engagement and creating high performing teams. She runs the award-winning management consulting group Connect Consulting, where she uses Neuroscientific insights to help organizations unlock their true performance potential.
Awesome Officers, I hope you are having another fantastic week filled with presence, productivity, and rejuvenation. We’ve done fifty episodes - that’s fifty great guests, fifty insightful conversations, and fifty interviews packed with actionable tips and insights to help your company create the culture it needs to thrive, and for you to excel as a leader and someone who just wants to get better. It’s been fascinating to see the through lines in these episodes. A number of themes have certainly come up, some of them repeatedly. That’s why we put together this “15 for 50” … that is, the top 15 takeaways from the first 50 episodes of the Awesome Office show thus far.
We are all drug addicts. It might sound strange, but it’s true. We’re all addicted to the drug of distraction. Our biology predisposes us to be addicted to the feel-good chemicals released by non-productive things like mindlessly surfing the web, living in our inbox, or worst of all, constantly looking at our phones. The biggest downside of these euphoria-inducing habits is that they prevent us from being fully present in the moment. And what’s more important than this? Being present empowers us to perform better, to be less anxious, and to be happier and more fulfilled. In this episode, I’m bringing you directly into the SnackNation and Awesome Office headquarters to hear a recent talk (we call them Sensei Sessions) that I gave to our team. My goal here is to encourage a life of greater presence, tranquility, fulfillment and productivity with our team and all of you.
According to Ryan Holiday, there is an enemy within us. This enemy has derailed the careers of promising young geniuses, decimated great fortunes, and run companies into the ground. It's made adversity unbearable and turned struggle into shame. It's name? Ego. Ryan Holiday is a media strategist, best selling author, and the former marketing director of American Apparel. He has been in the trenches building brands and designing media strategies, and today is one of the most highly regarded thinkers and marketers of his generation. But by his own admission, he hasn't been immune to the dangers posed by Ego. In his new book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan lays out a strategy for defeating the enemy Ego, and he was gracious enough to share some of this insight - and some incredible stories - with the Awesome Office audience.
In 2004, Mark Rampolla was sick of settling for low-hanging fruit. Sure, he had a comfortable life, a six-figure income, and was poised to reach the top of a Fortune 100 company. But he knew there was more to life than making money. Most of all, he was concerned about the example he was setting for his young daughters. Did he want their dad to be a corporate conformist, someone who settles for the status quo, or someone who could strike out on his own and change the world for the better? That’s when he decided to reach for the high-hanging fruit. A few months later he launched ZICO coconut water, a company that sought to transform the billion dollar global beverage industry by offering a healthier alternative to the sugar and chemical laden sodas that dominated the market. And he never looked back.
What makes an Awesome Office? Is it the culture? The leadership? Is it the office space itself? These are the questions that we set out to answer on this podcast from day one. You’d be hard pressed to think of a more qualified person to provide answers than this week’s Awesome Office guest, Sara Mailloux. As Hulu's Director of Workplace Experience, it’s Sara's job to provide the company’s 1,300 Hulugans with an environment that supports their culture and empowers them to perform at their best, day in and day out. While Hulu does have an incredible, open workspace, Sara contends that it’s the people in that - not the space itself - that make an office truly awesome. The office is there just to empower the people in it to do great things.
Sometimes, our brains are our worst enemies. It's true - our biology predisposes us to react emotionally and perpetuate negative self-talk. For leaders, this leads to self-doubt, tension, and dysfunctional teams. So what’s a leader to do? Simple: outsmart your brain. That’s according to this week’s awesome office guest, Dr. Marcia Reynolds, a world renowned organizational psychologist and leadership coach, and the author of the books Outsmart Your Brain and The Discomfort Zone.
There's no doubt that today, Marcus Buckingham is a master communicator. The entrepreneur and best selling author of First, Break All the Rules and Discover Your Strengths is one of the foremost experts on the topics of employee engagement and performance, and is a sought after speaker on these topics. You’d probably never guess that he grew up with a debilitating stammer. It's true: for the first eleven years of his life, this master wordsmith and public speaker couldn’t speak. So what changed? That’s precisely what we dive into in this week’s episode - overcoming the challenges that hold us back from becoming exactly who we want to be. Marcus tells us the incredible story of how we was able to overcome his speech impediment, and the lessons that he carried with him throughout his life and work.
When you think of innovation hotbeds, you might think of places like Austin or LA. Ten years ago, maybe it was San Francisco or Brooklyn. I’m guessing the words “Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada” don’t immediately come to mind. Well, not yet, anyway. Especially if this week’s Awesome Office guest Daniel Matishak has anything to say about it. Daniel is the co-founder and CEO of Mindable, a marketing optimization company that specializes in activating niche communities in the personal development space. The company has been able to grow into a massive, 8-figure marketing juggernaut based out of - you guessed it - Sherwood Park, Alberta. How have they pulled this off? One strategy that has paid off is a mostly remote workforce, that enables the company to attract top talent not just from their own backyard, but from across the globe.
In our digitally connected, multi-screen world, where people hide their true selves behind layers of snark and our deepest emotions are expressed via emoji, conversation seems to be a lost art. But as this week’s guest attests, conversation is one of the most important skills we possess, both in business and in life. Michael Rothman is a digital entrepreneur, master conversationalist and storyteller, and all around fascinating guy. A founding employee at Thrillist, his latest venture is Fatherly.com, a lifestyle site for men entering parenthood - and a conversation in its own right (albeit of the digital variety).
When faced with adversity, some people crumble. Andres Izquieta is not one of those people. Andres is a fashion designer, serial entrepreneur, and the CEO and co-founder of Five Four Club, an online men’s clothing subscription service. In 2008, Five Four (then a retail and wholesale outfit) was on the brink of failure. The worldwide credit crisis that gave birth to the Great Recession was decimating the retail industry, and it looked like Five Four might not survive. But Andres and his business partner had other ideas. They brought the company back into the black by pivoting to a men’s fashion subscription service. The strategic shift paid off. Today Five Four Club has more than 70k active monthly subscribers, and is about to launch several new verticals before the end of the year, including a formalwear accessory line, an athletic wear label, and a shoe brand.
As we’ve often said on this podcast, “time management” is a bit of a misnomer. Strictly speaking, you can’t manage time. We’re all given the exact same 24 hours - no more no less. And yet, it feels like some people are able to do so much more with those 24 precious hours than others. So what’s the difference between the person who always feels behind, perennially chasing and never out in front of their to-do list, and the high achieving rock star, who seems to effortlessly squeeze every ounce of magic out of the day? It's not by accident. There's a reason that some people consistently get more done than the rest. That’s what this episode is all about: 7 steps to set yourself up to have your best day ever - everyday.
Vulnerability is a big theme on this show. Time and again, we’ve learned that leaders who are willing to be vulnerable are able to communicate more authentically and forge truer connections with their teams. No one embodies this idea quite like this week’s guest, ShipOffers partner Tony Grebmeier. As you’ll see in this week’s episode, Tony G is an open book. A recovering addict, he’s unafraid to talk candidly about his darkest moment, when he was moments away from taking his own life. But Tony has come a long way from rock bottom. Today, he focuses on being 100% fully aware and present in everything he does. And he does a lot. Tony hosts the Entrepreneur Unplugged podcast, and his company, ShipOffers, is a trusted source for elite marketers of health and beauty products, acting as strategic partners for direct response marketers in 43 countries around the globe.
When people in the food industry meet Robyn O’Brien for the first time, they often remark, “Funny, you don’t look like one of them.” “One of them,” presumably being the stereotypical food or environmental activists. And to be honest, they're right. (To wit, Robyn does not wear Birkenstocks or tie-dye, nor does she have dreadlocks.) In fact, Robyn is a self-described “conservative Texas mom” raised in a military family, and admittedly, the last person you’d expect to be leading a crusade to reform the food industry. Yet she is at the forefront of a movement to fundamentally rethink what goes into our nation’s food supply. As a financial analyst in the food industry, Robyn began to undercover undeniable links in the chemical pesticides, GMOs, and antibiotics in our food and troubling health trends like the explosion of childhood food allergies.
Our guest this week is Scott Svenson, the co-founder and CEO of MOD Super Fast Pizza. MOD is the pioneer in the fast casual pizza market and is now one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the US, with 114 stores open today and plans to have 190 open by the end of 2016. Thats some serious growth. There's no doubt that Scott is an accomplished leader - he and his wife have built multiple successful companies both in the US and UK. But what impresses me most about it him is his calm demeanor, stoic nature and sense of confidence that he gives to others. He’s just got a really cool aura about him - like he is fully present and aware - and I know this is one of the many reasons people really love working with him, and why he has had so much success.