Lisa Bodell – Killing Companies, Creating Space, the Not-To-Do List

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Today’s guest is Lisa Bodell, who is a globally recognized futurist and expert on innovation. Lisa is an award winning author of the bestselling book Kill the Company. She serves as a global council member of the World Economic Forum, and she is a monthly columnist for the publication Strategy and Business and a very frequent contributor to Forbes and the Harvard Business Review. Welcome to the show Lisa.

Oh, thanks for having me today, Mark.

To get into this, can you tell me what led you to found your company future thing?

I like to call it strategic luck. I was a recovering ad agency person, and I was always a very strategic person in a very creative environment. I loved the mix of the two, but I became very frustrated within advertising because I felt like it was all sizzle and no steak. I left, and I wanted to start my own business and really focus on how can you get people thinking in
terms of coming up with new ideas to grow a business, not just to grow a product? That’s how I started Future Think, and to be honest I lucked into meeting a group of futurists. I didn’t even know that was a job. I didn’t know that was a thing. I didn’t realize people could get paid money to do looking at the future in organized ways. That’s how I started to
learn about a thoughtful approach to change. I got my certificate degree in strategic foresight, and that’s what really launched me into not just consulting people on how to come up with new ideas, but how to help them actually get more comfortable with change, because I think ideas are easy. It’s really creating that environment where people feel comfortable with change in the first place that matters, and that’s why Future Think started.

Okay, then pretty quickly after that I guess the book arrived.

It did.

It’s quite a revolutionary book, and it’s quite provocative. I’m not talking just about the title and the cover, but also the approach. Tell me a little bit about how did you land on that angle for introducing it?

Well, it’s interesting. A lot of the things that have happened to me in business was they came out of frustrating experiences. I’m a natural problem solver, and when something doesn’t work, I like to be able to
tinker and figure out why. What happened with Kill the Company was we were coming in and being invited to teach people change. Executives were asking us to come in and teach their teams change, and what we found was when we got there, the very people that asked us to come in and teach change were the ones that were resisting it when we got into the room. It was kind of like “Here, teach change, but not that much. Tell people to think differently and be disruptive, but not disruptive in my business.”

It was this counterintuitive thing, and we realized that what people say they want in terms of change and how they approach change is all wrong. The reason why is they spend a lot of time with the sexy part, which is “Let’s create more. Let’s come up with more ideas.” A lot of leaders and a lot of people on teams resisted it because they don’t have any more space for ideas. They are bogged down in the minutia of every day, so for you to be able to start change, you have to create the space for it first. What we realized was really Kill the Company was about how do you get
okay with identifying problems, getting rid of things, stop doing things to begin with, so then you can create the space for people to really feel comfortable to change. Asking people to take on more does not work. Asking them to take on better or more valuable does, but they have to have the time and the bandwidth to be able to do it. Killing your company will help you achieve it.

That must have been pretty frustrating on one hand being invited in to talk about change, and then recognizing very quickly that they weren’t serious about it.

Right, and it was kind of … The analogy I always give is that it was like being given a box of crayons. Telling people to color this incredibly vivid picture of the future, but only color within very specific lines. You already know the picture you’re going to get, so it’s a completely futile exercise. We wanted to tell people to stop operating with handcuffs and start better operating with guardrails. Give people the tools, but then trust that as long as they know where they’re going that they can color and paint it in lots of different ways. That’s where things like diversity and creative thinking and different kind of hiring comes up, because you want lots of different types of people on your team, and you want to get comfortable with the fact they might approach things in different ways. Leaders get okay with that as long as they know you’re going towards the same goal. Kill the Company helps them get comfortable with that.

Okay, and in the book you talk a lot about culture as being a blocker for innovation. I’m actually an anthropologist a long time ago, so I relate to that. What do you look for when you walk into an organization as you for a view very quickly of a culture? What are you looking for to help you understand whether the culture is either a blocker or actually going to be an enabler of what you’re trying to do with the client?

The mindset of the leadership. We’ll go in, and one of the tools that we quickly do with people is called PPCO. I’ll tell you what that is in a second, but the idea is you present a new idea to a group with the leader in it, and you ask for the feedback on what is seemingly a ridiculous idea. You get a very quick picture based on the feedback you get to new things how leadership approaches change, how much innovation is allowed, how much risk people can take because usually what happens is, within a lot of companies and with a lot of leadership, they think they’re being smart and managing risk, but actually what they’re doing is being professional skeptics. They can tell you everything that’s wrong with something before they can tell you what’s right. A lot of times they can’t tell you anything that’s right; they’re too focused on the negative. We know right away that that’s a culture that’s based on fear, not embracing risk, sticking with the status quo no matter what comes out of their mouth and they say they want in terms of change.

This tool around PPCO actually helps them get in the mindset of positives potentials and then talk about concerns and overcomes, so PPCO. The reason I talk about that is what that allows people to do is get into the language and the mindset of thinking positive first and concerns second. You start to get them in the language and the mindset of change being okay, because most of the things that hold people back are leadership. Leadership is the number one barrier to change.

Interesting. In terms of the … I’m curious about what do the really good leaders, so leaders as a barrier to change, what do the leaders that actually enable change do? What do they look like, and how do you spot them beyond using a tool, which is obviously a very effective diagnostic?

A few things. Their number one job is barrier busting. That’s their job. Everyone else can come up with ideas. Even on a micro level, they can reward and recognize each other; they can build different kinds of culture, but the job of the leader is to break down the barriers because they have the responsibility, and they are empowered. People on your team are looking to you to do that, so that’s their job, so it’s to identify the barriers, to get comfortable with the fact that they themselves may have put barriers in place through their silly rules or processes or things that have just built up over time, and they have to get comfortable with getting rid of them and actually doing that. If I was a leader …

The leaders that I value the most are the ones that are okay with getting rid of things, that are good with fighting the good fight and knocking down the
barriers, and don’t take it personally when some of the barriers are the ones that they created themselves. They say “You know what? You’re right. I
put something stupid in place. We don’t need that report. We don’t need that meeting. Let’s get rid of it.”

You described quite a self aware and confident leader who is willing to actually reflect on some of the things they might have done in the past which weren’t particularly helpful.

That’s right, and it’s not personal; it’s professional. It’s about organizational change, not individual pointing fingers.

Do you see this model of leadership actually … To what extent has that evolved over your time working with organizations?

It’s more collaborative and less hierarchical. The idea of being more collaborative invites diversity of different types of groups and people and being open to that, different types of ideas as well. It’s not one person’s vision or one person’s say in the matter; that’s the hierarchical part. It’s the collaborative piece of it, and they get better results and better ideas. They also get more help in terms of breaking down barriers. The thing that hurts leaders is they think it’s all up to them. “Not only do I have to identify the barrier, but I have to get rid of it. Not only do I have to ask people for ideas, I have to come up with them and implement it.” The more collaborative and open they are, the more they realize that the work gets shared. It’s not just on their plate.

Yeah, because I’m thinking of a quote that I think I heard you make earlier on as I was reminding myself of the kind of work you do. I think it was around … Yeah, here it is. “In the past, leaders are taught to come up with answers, and today the emerging model is that leaders actually need to be more focused on asking the right questions.”

That’s one of my favorite quotes. One of the things we talk about is one of the best skills that a team can have, in particular a leader, is provocative inquiry, because in the future asking the right questions is going to be more important than getting the right answers, because we have machine learning, we have artificial intelligence. Google is not a search engine;
it’s an answer engine. What you put into it is what you get out, so are you equipped at asking the right questions? Teaching leaders how to ask better questions will get them better answers. The problem is that a lot of us are out of habit, or we’re not good at it anymore, and we have to get back in the experience of asking better questions. Being provocative in terms of inquiry, like asking people difficult questions and it’s okay to make people a little uncomfortable, that’s a sign of a good leader as well.

Yeah. I mean, but it is very difficult because particularly in public companies, leaders are expected to have all the answers.

That’s true.

I reflect on my experience in industries that are shifting where things are obviously speeding up, where there’s more complexity. The default position is to go back to hold on to what you know versus actually embracing the uncertainty.

Well that’s true, but the only problem with that is that then you have this habit of going to what you know, and then the problem is you don’t know what you don’t know. The one phrase I like to talk about is ‐‐and this is where Kill the Company came in‐‐ you have to continually practice proactive obsolescence. Do it to yourself before someone does it to you. By people going back to the status quo over time, they’re really focused on who they are. The people that will own the future are focused on who they’re becoming, and that’s a very important difference. Let your team work on who you are. They’re executing that, but a leader’s job is also to be focused on strategic foresight. It’s who you’re becoming in the next five to ten years, and that takes a lot of time for thinking, that takes a lot of risk taking, that takes a lot of curiosity. If you think you have all the answers, you’re not going to be very good at figuring out who you’re becoming, because you
have to be much more inquisitive.

There’s a lot in there. You say it takes a lot of time. One of the things that you also mentioned is that you asked this question over and over again “How do you spend your time?” The answer is exactly the same: in meetings, doing e‐mails.

That’s right.

What are the companies that get this, that understand this and move beyond, are actually able to do this strategic foresight and create this space? What are they doing differently from the bulk of us who are overwhelmed by death by meeting and thousands of e‐mails that back up all the time?

I think there’s a few things. One, they make it a habit. Simplification becomes a habit for them, and the reason that’s important, it’s not a one and done. It’s not you go in, “Hey, this is a terrible report we have in place,” or “We’re spending too much time in meetings. Let’s kill this one meeting.” It’s a continual weeding of the garden. Simplification is something that you don’t just do once. It calcifies; it builds over time. The people that are focused on it as a strategic imperative, not a tactical thing that they do. That’s number one, because that gets rid of barriers. Simplification is part of breaking down barriers over time. What it does is it shows that you are focused on valuable work. “We’re going to get rid of the crap, and we are going to focus on work that matters.” What it comes down to is evaluating your time.


Going off on a tangent here, what’s interesting is I find it fascinating that we get so upset when people waste our money. Why don’t we get the same level of irate when people waste our time? Why aren’t we valuing that? That’s what we kind of get at with simplification here in terms of companies. The ones that are doing it well, they’re simplifying because they know that time is actually equity, and it’s something that should be valued as capital. That’s number one.

The second thing is, I think, that people are really good at being able to kind of move forward with this innovation or strategic foresight as they also have a better time horizon. They have a better risk level. What do I mean by that? People that have a better risk level, they look further out, so I I know that there are certain pharma companies, let’s use that as an example. They’re highly regulated. They have long time horizons, but there are certain pharma companies that only really look out the next one to three years. There are other ones that look out. They bring us in to say “Tell us the future of pharma 2050.” That, to me, I know that yes they’re simplifying on the inside. That’s great; they’re getting rid of the weeds, but at the same time they have a group of people that are looking very far out in terms of who they’re becoming. What that says to me is they are willing to take longer term risks, and I would rather bet on that company. They do it on both ends. They’re simplifying. They look long term.

Is it reasonable for a leader, a CEO in that kind of environment, to be able to do both, or do they …? These are public companies often with shareholders banging on the door saying “What’s the quarterly numbers look like?” How do you see leaders managing that, and secondly how do you see people in the trenches managing that tension? Because the deeper you go into the organization, the harder it is to manage that kind of thing, right?

Yeah, but I think at the same level, they already do it using different language. Some people are very pragmatic. They’re really good at cutting costs and the bottom line. That’s simplification on one level.


I’m just calling it something else, and they need to get comfortable with the fact that simplification gets down to the task level. It can be the unit of work. That sounds very unsexy, but that’s where the problems lie, and that’s where you can find the nickles and dimes and things like this that really can make a difference in terms of being more effective and boosting the stock price. Yes, I think simplification, from a strategic perspective, a CEO should do that. I also think from a strategic foresight, they have to do that. Stop being so
… At least pardon the US perspective, but being tied to quarterly earnings is just, I think, a death match. They need to have a team, I would think. Call it the CSO can own strategic foresight. I hesitate to say the COO can own simplification, but if it has to sit somewhere int he organization, it’s probably there. To be honest, I think simplification at some point has to be either a separate group. Some people are starting to be CSOs, Chief Simplification Officers, which I think is fascinating. Or it can sit within HR, which does not seem intuitive at all, but the reality is the purpose of simplifying to create that space for more is if you get the work right, you get the culture right.

We spend way too much time on cultural aesthetics of colorful walls and whiteboards and all this stuff. It doesn’t matter. What matters is the work that we do every day; that is culture. If the work that we do every day is meetings and e‐mails, then people are going to leave, so simplification is a retention strategy and a recruiting strategy. I don’t know if that’s the COO or frankly the CHRO, but it could fit in either bucket.

One of the things that I like about your book ‐‐we talked about it being quite provocative‐‐ is you talk about the power of the middle of the organization to drive change. This is why it’s sort of a little bit almost Marxist or certainly revolutionary from that point of view, certainly by the cover. Many listeners would welcome your advice. If you’re an intrapreneur, so let’s say a thirty something individual deep in the bowels of an organization frustrated because they see things happening far more quickly in other organizations, and they’ve got good ideas. They’re having difficulty moving stuff forward. What advice would you give them around simplification or other certain tools that you’ve got in Kill the Company that would help them to build the momentum around the change or the innovation that they’re championing? The unit of analysis here is more the intrapreneur, if you like.

Sure. I think that the difficult thing about being in the middle is you don’t feel quite empowered. You’re responsible, but not empowered often. I think what has to happen is you have to look at yourself first. That’s what I tell everybody. Be individual about it, and say “What can I change within the purview where I operate every day? Forget about bitching and
complaining about mother ship or bitching. What can I change within my group? That starts to make you feel empowered about what you can get rid of or stop doing. Then you can start to move it up, and I think the way you start to move it up and create a bigger sphere of influence is don’t call it innovation; call it efficiency. It’s just a different word, but it’s the same thing. By killing stupid rules, that’s a big tool that we have. Bosses love it because what you’re doing is creating the space for change, but what you’re telling them is you’re driving efficiency. That gets comfort with the boss, it makes you empowered, and you’re getting the end result that you as a middle manager want, which is more time to think and more space for innovation.

Can we go into this tool? I think we’re going to make this available to the listeners in the show notes, but for those who haven’t read the book yet, how does the tool work, and what benefits can an organization derive from it?

I’m very biased towards kill a stupid rule because it’s simple, it’s easy, and everyone loves it because they get it right away. Everyone has rules in their organizations that are stupid, they’ve built up over time, and they’d love to get rid of. The basic premise is this: if you could eliminate or kill two rules that hold you back from being more innovative or more effective at your job, what would they be? You give people fifteen minutes. They can either do it individually, or you can pair them with someone in their group. What’s amazing to me is that at the end of fifteen minutes, they usually want more time because there’s so many things they come up with.

Most of the things they come up with are not rules. They are day to day general workplace annoyances, things like “I’m very annoyed at the number of meetings, e‐mails, reports, policies, procedures, dress codes, number of sign offs” and it goes on and on and on. Some of these are kind of rules or processes, but many of these are assumptions. What happens is you ask people then in your group to kind of post on a wall what are all the different rules and things that we’ve come up with that you would want to kill right away? You can see themes. You can start to have discussions. I’ve actually been with leaders before where they stood up at the wall of these post‐its and pulled them off the wall and said “Who told you this was a rule? I never told you this was a rule. Don’t do this anymore.” It was just about communication.

The other thing it does is it allows people to identify real pain points. A leader’s job is to break down barriers, and they can start to get some quick wins right away. It’s a quick win tool. It identifies and prioritizes barriers, and it’s pretty low risk. You can actually get some things right away that create the space for change, and it makes people feel really good. It’s a great way for people to say “Oh man, the culture is changing. I can feel it.” When people say “What should we start with?” Kill a stupid rule.

Excellent. Okay, so you’ve touched on this already, but let’s get into the next book that you’ve got that you’re working on at the moment. What led up to that? I know it’s been quite a challenging process, as I’m sure any book is. Tell me about how did you land on the topic, and what’s the book about?

The idea is how do you create … It’s called right now, the working title is Simplification Imperative, how to cut the complexity addiction and get to work that matters. The reason for this is we are literally addicted to complexity, I believe, within our organizations. We create the monster that we become slave to, often with good intentions. We’re trying to solve a problem. We’ve got a regulation. We’re creating something new. We’re expanding and scaling. It’s a lot easier to add onto versus step back and get rid of, so this beast starts to form. It becomes the status quo. It’s too hard to fight, and we just fall into this trap of complexity and complacency. Why am I telling you this? I started by running an innovation and foresight company. I wrote the book Kill the Company because people were resistant to change, and what I really realized was they’re not so much resistant to change. They don’t feel empowered to do it because of what happens to them every day.

Why do I tell you this? I go out now, and I speak to about a hundred thousand people a year. That’s a lot of people, and it’s all over the world. I was wondering what was holding them back from actually killing their company, so I asked them a very simple question. I said “What do you spend your day doing?” I do this with small executive groups or huge audiences. “What do you spend your day doing? Shout it out to me.” What surprised me was not the uniqueness of their answers, but the consistency of them, because no matter the company, the country, the level of group I was talking to, the first two things out of everyone’s mouths when I said “What do you spend your day doing?” The answer was meetings and e‐mails.

I say that to people, and they go uh‐huh, I know. The next few answers would be things like reports or policies. Things like strategic thinking and being with customers was way down the list. We’re doing all this change management, and we bring all these consultants in, and we spend all this money. You know what? It really doesn’t matter if we’re spending our day in these meaningless tasks. I wanted to really help people ‐‐I’m very practical‐‐ give them the tools to kill complexity. Kill the stupid rule is one of the ways to do it, but I want to give people a diagnostic to help them realize where either organizational or individual complexity sits, questions that they can ask to start to provoke change, tools that they can help them kill stupid tasks or eradicate complexity, and structures that they can put within their organizations that are simple. It can be a chief simplicity officer, a simplification team, metrics to get simplifying so they can start this process to happen. We’re really focused on more, and I think the time has come that we have to focus on less.

Yeah, I mean I’m wondering whether … There is the famous, I think it’s the Dunbar rule which says that anything over 150 people from a human society perspective just doesn’t work. I wonder whether this is … To what extent in your hundred thousand people that you talk to are the famous sort of silicon valley startups or the Gore‐like organizations where they’re managing it differently.

Yeah, when you started talking about chaos theory, I like that. I like chaos theory, and depending on who you quote it’s either 120 people or 150 people, because at that point you need some structure. By the way, I think organizations need structure. I think it’s ridiculous if somebody comes on and says “You don’t need a hierarchy. You don’t need any structure. Blow
it up.” Humans like consistency. They like status quo. They like stasis, so there’s something that can be very jarring if you get rid of that. The idea is we just want to make it so specific in handcuffs; we need to get more comfortable with the guardrail.

Of people I talk to ‐‐to answer your question‐‐ a very small percentage of them are startups because startups get it. Most of them are those multinational big company beasts that, frankly they can ride out complexity for a while because they’ve got a brand. They’ve got a name. People trust them because they’re known. The problem is that then there’s these startups that eventually come up, and they get the Uber, the Airbnb. Something all of a sudden catches them off guard, and they go “Where did that come from?” It’s been there for a while. You just weren’t looking because it was very easy to get lulled into complexity and think there’s nothing you can do about it.

Also, the value proposition for people who actually want to make change who really want to do something with a bit more purpose is no longer there either for these organizations.

Exactly. You nailed it, Mark. It’s not about doing less for people. People come to work every day to do meaningful things. They don’t come to work every day to do meetings and e‐mails, so quickly the rose kind of dies on the vine as they stay because they want to do something meaningful, and they realize “Oh my God, now all I’m doing is meetings, reports, and e‐mails. How do I change this?” When they can’t, after a while they leave. That’s why I think in the future simplification will drive culture, and it will drive HR retention.

I’m curious, you’ve got your own organization. I don’t know how many people you’ve got in there, but to what extent do you sort of practice what you preach around simplification, simplicity, but also around killing a stupid rule for instance? How does it work being on the other side of the table?

I love that you ask that because I said to everybody here we have to quote “Eat our own dog food, or we are the biggest hypocrites in the world.” I talk a lot about in my speeches that I am a hypocrite. I get it, because we’re a company of seventeen people, and I will tell you nobody can put reports and meetings in place like me. I am happy to do it without even thinking, because it’s almost like it’s a knee jerk reaction. Let’s have a meeting about it, but do you really need a meeting? I think it’s been kind of therapy for me and people involved too, so I always say I’m the biggest hypocrite because I go through it, but what we do every year ‐‐in fact, we’re getting prepped for it right now‐‐ is I do something called FOFT, future of future think.

This is a new way that we do annual planning. What basically happens is everyone presents their state of the union, whether you’re in marketing or product development or training within our organization. We get the lay of the land because data is important, but then they have to end with the big hairy question, and they have to pose a big hairy question for 2016, and they have to use one of our tools to solve the problem using everyone in the room, or they can come up with their own, and maybe that will become part of our tool kit. We test our own tools on our own problems, and we end every future of future think doing two things. We kill stupid rules, and by the way most of them are usually the rules that I’ve put in place every single year, and I have to calm myself down when I see what people put on the wall because they’re always my stupid rules. Then we kill our company. The way that we end our strategic planning day is we kill our own company, and then we decide what things we have to change right away. It’s cathartic, the stand outs of the rules and the killing the company, and the fun part is testing our own tools to make sure we’re keeping it real.

So it’s internal R&D at one level?


The other piece that I just wanted to explore is around your ecosystem. How do you connect and ensure that you remain fresh and that your ideas are relevant? I see that yous it on the board of diversity and inclusion in Novartis. The question I have for you is how important is diversity of thought, over and above the sort of demographic diversity, for you to practice what you do and to be relevant in front of your clients and obviously leading your organization?

It’s critical. I love the fact that now the conversations about diversity aren’t around the typical: sex, skin color, handicap, whatever it might be. It’s about diversity of thought, as you said. The hope is that those topics around sex, skin color, religion, those things eventually will be silly, like “Why did we ever think of that?” They fade into the background because the purpose is how people think differently, not the exterior but the interior. It’s extremely important in terms of diversity, but frankly in terms of change.


Because there’s no one way to do it, but the problem with change is that human nature gets in the way. The more human nature we have involved, we can kind of figure out the best way to do it versus thinking my … I’m sure I approach change very differently than you, Mark. Who’s right?

Yeah, so where do you go to get your … What’s your ecosystem look like in terms of remaining fresh and getting slightly different views. The danger, of course, is to the woman with a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right?


How do you avoid falling into that trap?

There’s a few things, and a lot of it involves a comfort zone. It’s like how do you meet somebody who has nothing to do with what you do? I try to do that once a week, so I’ll tell you a few things I do. One is how do I meet someone that does something completely different than me once a week, just to stretch my thinking. You said you were previously an anthropologist. Who knew? Who knows that I’m f futurist. I mean, some people would know that. I’ll meet with my friend who’s a chef. I’ll meet with my friend who’s an inventor. I’ll meet with my friend who started a clothing company. I’m amazed at the things that I learn from them.

The other thing I’ll do ‐‐that’s the kind of stretching my thinking‐‐ is there are some rituals I have in the morning, and the first thing is I try and learn one new thing. That can be from I look at a new website, a new e‐mail newsletter. It can be I’m going to commit to ‐‐this sounds stupid ‐‐taking a new route to work. Maybe I’ll take a different subway, but if you don’t do different, you don’t see different, you don’t learn different.

The other thing is I think we all, especially leaders, are really good about their to do list, and you fall into the urgency trap. What do I have to get done? I’ve been really … I’m trying to create a habit around a to don’t list, so I look at my list, and I’ll say “What do I have to do today?” Then I’ll see if there’s one thing on that list that I just won’t do, and I’ll just push back on it and stop doing. I have to say, it’s really scary at first because you think you’re going to offend somebody, that you’re going to choose the wrong thing, but it becomes very liberating to say no, so the to don’t list was the big aha for me this year.

Lovely. That’s great. We’ve gone into your morning rituals, so I think thank you for that. A couple of other questions. What have you changed your mind about recently?

It’s interesting. What have I changed my mind about? You get reflective as you get older, and as somebody who is fifty is just around the corner, the reality is for somebody who’s a leader in an organization, you have as they say one or two chess moves left. What do you want to do with those two moves, meaning either before you retire if there’s some big difference you want to make et cetera. What that really told me about was what do I value and then how do I spend my time? The reality is I think a lot of people value
more, and I wanted to figure out what are just the two things that I value and then put my time there. That also drives my to do list, by the way.

What have I really changed my mind about, which is the value of my time. How do you get comfortable with “Okay, if these are the two things that I value, how can I make sure that everything that I spend my time on drives to that?” That’s a real methodical thing, and you have to take the time to really think about it, and that’s the one thing most of us don’t have is time.

Yeah, it’s the only non‐renewable resource, right? Money you can get elsewhere, but time is going.


I presume that, is this going to be a theme that’s covered in the book?
Wonderful, okay. This comes out … When does it come out?

September of next year. The manuscript is due in a couple months, and then it goes into its publishing cycle, and September 2016 is the goal.

Wonderful. Well we’ll look forward to that, and we’ll let the audience know as it’s coming out. Final question, and you set it up beautifully by revealing how close you are to entering, I’d say the back nine is how I’d put it. What advice would you give to your twenty‐five‐year‐old self?

To my twenty‐five‐year‐old self, it’s interesting because I really was focused on my career and what the linear path would be, like “Does it make sense?” It’s easier for me to say this now because I’ve had a very eclectic career, but I would say “Don’t worry about it so much. Get as many experiences as you can, and then you’ll see what really interests you.” I look at so many of my friends who chose a very linear path, and I’m not sure that they are very happy. I think being able to try a lot of different things and then follow the things that really turn you on, so to speak, is definitely the way to go because as you play the back nine, you’re not going to look back on it and say “I’m glad I really had that resume that pleased everybody else.”

Absolutely, very good advice. Well Lisa, it’s been a great pleasure to meet with you again. I really enjoyed our talk, as I’m sure our listeners did. Thanks for your time, and let’s keep in touch.


Lisa Bodell is a globally recognized innovation leader and futurist. She founded futurethink in 2003 and is the author of the book, Kill the Company. Lisa sits down with Mark to discuss how leaders can become more efficient in the work place and how they can properly simplify the work process for everyone in the company.

What Was Covered

  • [01:50] – Why did Lisa start her company, futurethink?
  • [03:10] – Lisa talks about her book, Kill the Company.
  • [04:35] – Asking people to take on more work, doesn’t work.
  • [05:50] – What does Lisa look for when she needs to get a better feel of company culture?
  • [07:20] – Leadership is the number one barrier to change.
  • [07:40] – What characteristics do good leaders have when trying to enable change?
  • [09:10] – Good leaders are open to collaboration.
  • [09:40] – The leader’s team can help define the barriers and break them down.
  • [10:15] – Leaders should focus on asking the right questions first, before coming up with the answers.
  • [12:30] – Leaders spend most of their time in meetings and answering emails.
  • [18:35] – Don’t call it innovation, call it efficiency.
  • [21:30] – Lisa talks about the book she is currently writing.
  • [21:45] – Lisa believes organizations are addicted to complexity.
  • [26:00] – People want to do meaningful work, not answer emails and attend meetings.
  • [29:00] – Lisa talks about diversity thought; how people think differently.
  • [32:05] – What has Lisa changed her mind about recently?
  • [33:50] – What advice would Lisa give to her 25-year-old self?


Links And Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

Mark Bidwell

Mark Bidwell

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