SFN159: Lisa Bodell on Doing Deep Work

SFN159: Lisa Bodell on Doing Deep Work


Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of futurethink, which enables organizations to embrace change and become world-class innovators. She’s also the author of two books: Kill the Company, which is about how to get rid of thing to make space for innovation, and Why Simple Wins which is about how can we get to the work that matters by making simplicity a habit or rather how to make simplicity an operating principle to make innovation happen.

In this interview, Lisa shares how to overcome the complexity trap, and figure out what is holding us back from making change in our organizations. Ultimately, it comes down to defining simplicity, “killing stupid rules”, and asking killer questions.


In This Interview I ask:

  • 3:20 - How do we start down the path of innovation?
  • 5:25 - How do you measure the productivity of “thinking time”?
  • 8:00 - What are we not doing, in terms of cultivating our employees, that is preventing their ability to think, and not do what they’ve always done.
  • 9:55 - How do we create the culture of [Killing a Stupid Rule] in our organizations?
  • 11:45 - How often should you meet with your team and how do you run meetings [effectively]?
  • 17:15 - How can the audience take action in doing deep work?
  • 20:29 - What are some killer questions that people can be asking themselves and their organizations [to] help them get to better answers?
  • 23:42 - How did innovation, change and simplification become your purpose?
  • 25:43 - How did you take your interest & passion and start down the path of making it into a business?
  • 28:01 - What kind of exciting change should [upcoming] entrepreneurs be paying attention to and start preparing for in the next couple of years?
  • 29:12 - What are the skillsets that people need to have to not be replaced by technology?


Kill a Stupid Rule

We need to give people permission for them to get rid of stuff that’s outlived its time (culture norms, business approaches, weekly meetings) - stuff that we do that we never stop to think why do we do it this way? We stop and look at our own behavior and the things we do every day and ask is it necessary?

It’s everyone’s job to think; however as leaders, we have to empower our teams to get rid of things that aren’t working. Leaders have to mandate simplification and show it by behavior so that team members will focus on work that matters. The reason a lot of people don’t get rid of stuff is because a leader put it in place. You need to have a strong leader who realizes that some things have outlived their time and get rid of them.


More is Not Better

We spend all this time organizing and that’s not simplifying. We also think that doing is more important than thinking. This kind of mindset is what’s keeping us from being innovative. It’s not always about less, it’s about better.


Simplification Starts with Leaders

You have to have someone who is willing to have a subtractive mindset, and not just an additive mindset, who doesn’t have a fear of getting rid of things. We have this fear of holding onto things because once we have something, we feel like it has value. We’re reluctant to give it up because, from a psychological standpoint, we don’t like to give up value and we don’t like to admit we made a stupid decision. We have to be comfortable to admit that something isn’t working anymore and get rid of it.


Time Versus Value

Take an audit of what we spend our time on, and if it has value or not. If it’s not valuable, why are you doing it? If it is valuable, could it be minimized or improve? How can we move it up the value chain to make it take less time and have more value. If it takes a lot of time and has no value, get rid of it. If it takes little time and has high value, you try to model everything after that. If it takes little time and has little value, look at the key levels of simplicity and ask how can I improve the value or decrease the time?


Define What Simplicity Means to Your Company, then Ask Killer Questions

You don’t know how to simplify if you can’t define it. An example definition of simplicity is: “To be simple, it has to be as minimal as possible. It has to be as understandable and clear as possible. It can be as repeatable as possible. It has to be accessible.”

If we had to get rid of several parts of this product or service and still make money on it, what’s the first that would go?

What’s the one audience we don’t want to give away stuff to that scares us, but we should really rethink?

If we had to cut this contract/meeting/process in half, how would we go about doing it in the next 24 hours?




Show Links:

Podcast transcript:

Frank: Basically, I record the introduction and post-production. So that will be taken
care of. I’ll position everything correctly based on what we talk about. So, really,
we’ll just roll into things.
Lisa: That’s great. Let’s do it.
Frank: Alright. Your last name, Bodell, right?
Lisa: That’s right.
Frank: Okay. Just making sure I’m pronouncing that correctly.
Let me get my stuff set. Let me make sure there’s nothing that’s going to make
noises as we’re going through this. Alright. And away we go.
And your book is called -- just so I make sure I’ve got it.
Lisa: Why Simple Wins.
Frank: Why Simple Wins. Alright. There we go. That’s out, right?
Lisa: No. It is coming out on October.
Frank: Ah.
Lisa: So what you could do is -- So this is what we should talk about. Well, we could
talk about right now is Kill the Company which is the current book.
Frank: Okay.
Lisa: Which has led to my second book coming up all around Why Simple Wins. So the
first book was about how you get rid of things that aren’t working to make more
space renovation. It was such a success that it led to Why Simple Wins which is
how can we really get to the work that matters and make simplicity a habit.
Frank: Okay.
Lisa: The first was more an innovation and this one is going to be about how you can
make simplicity an operating principle to make things like innovation happen.
Frank: So how to get rid of things.
Lisa: Yeah. So a lot of that TED Talk you saw was on this upcoming book but it focused
on a lot of the content of my current book because the new one’s not out yet,
Frank: Yeah. Okay. Beautiful.
So, I am joined today by Lisa Bodell. Lisa, welcome to the show.
Lisa: Thanks for having me. I’m really glad to be here.
Frank: We are too.
Lisa and I were talking a little bit leading up to this and the way that I want to get
us started is I really want to start by understanding -- we’re going to talk today
about change, we’re going to talk about innovation, we’re going to talk a little bit
about what is stopping us from getting that. So why don’t we just begin with
what is really holding us back from making change happen in our organizations?
Lisa: Yeah. I think a lot of it has to do with complexity. I know the people that are
listening will head nod with this is that we talk so much about innovating when
most of us, frankly, are just stuck in meetings and emails all day long. So, you
know, we get this mixed message, right? “Go forth and be innovative. Add
something new.” People are saying, “Add something new? I don’t have time to
think. I’m stuck in meetings and emails all day and I can’t add one more thing to
my list.”
Frankly, what’s holding us back is this complexity trap that we’re in and I think
when I start to get out my book Kill the Company is how we are approaching
innovation in all the wrong ways because we tend to put more in place to help us
innovate. And I advocate first to get rid of things that aren’t working. So we’ve
made that space renovation to happen. So, if we can eradicate that complexity,
that’s going to help us really get on the road for thinking time and innovation to
Frank: Okay. Okay.
So how do we start down that path of innovating? Is there something that we
should ask of ourselves, the teams that we manage, or organizations that are
going to get us thinking differently?
Lisa: Well, yeah. I mean a lot of it comes down to, interestingly, very human
behaviors. A lot of it is risk and fear. So a lot of the barriers that are put up or not
organizational behaviors or organizational barriers -- although people that work
in regulated industries would say risk and compliance are big issue. But it’s
individual things.
It’s that boss who wants to give you that extra 50-pages of financial. It’s that coworker
who needs the extra stuff on the PowerPoint. It’s that kind of stuff that
we really have to think about why is there so much of this junk that happens
every day and a lot of it is people who are trying to avoid risk or they have a fear
of consequences if they don’t look at every single angle.
So one of the favorite things from my book that gets at eliminating risk and
getting rid of barriers that have been put in place that are necessary is a tool
called Kill a Stupid Rule. I don’t even have to explain it, right? It’s one of these
things where we need to give people permission. Almost like a formal method
for them to get rid of stuff that just has outlived its time.
And so often we think it’s rules -- that’s why we talked about kills to the rule --
but often it’s just cultural norms, business approaches, weekly meetings, stuff
that we just kind of do like driving a car or taking a shower but we never stop to
think, “Huh, why do we do it this way?”
That’s the kind of stuff. We stop and look at our own behavior and then we stop
and look at the things we do every day and then question is it really necessary?
Frank: One of the things that comes up for me as we start to talk about this is giving
ourselves, or our organizations, time to stop and think.
Lisa: Yes.
Frank: So time to stop and think is massively valuable. What I can see happening is
listeners are wondering about this is they’re thinking from the top down. So, of
course, the CEO’s or the visionaries of a company should be spending time
thinking, creating visions, and then making sure it’s executed. What I’m curious
about is on a day-to-day basis for the employees of an organization, how do you
give them the space to think and remove them from the constant need to
answer emails and answer meetings?
I guess really what I’m asking here is how do you measure the productivity and
the success of someone if they tell you, “Well, Lisa, I’m going to spend the first
four hours of my day thinking about stuff. That way when I’m actually executing
on things, I’m doing the highest leverage things.” From an employee’s
perspective, what does that actually look like? How can you measure thinking
time instead of the things that actually make people look busy?
Lisa: Well, it’s not about the amount of thinking time, it’s the results you get from it,
right? So, I would want to measure -- I have four hours every day just to think. I
mean I think at some level that’s great because then you make space for it. You
know what I mean? You’re making space for meaningful things versus meetings
and emails and the stuff that’s so consuming in our work. But what you want to
measure is not the amount of time because that will get you the opposite of
what you want, frankly.
Frank: Okay.
Lisa: You want the output of number of ideas that were approved, number of things
that were funded, number of new opportunities that lead to the idea funnel,
number of revenue generating things that went to market. So you’re going to
measure the results, not just the input. That’s what that would look like from the
manager’s perspective to help manage their risk and fear of people not doing
this appropriately.
However, the reason this is important is it’s not just the senior level. It’s not just
their job to do thinking. It’s everyone’s job to do thinking. And what we as senior
leaders need to do is make that space for people by asking them one is
empowering them to get rid of things that aren’t working. The reason people
don’t decline meetings is because they feel like they have to go at everything.
They answer every email because they think politically they have to.
The leaders have to mandate the people’s simplify and also show them by
behavior that they don’t have to do all these things. What they’ll do is that will
change behavior of the lower level so they know that they should be focusing on
the work that matters. So that’s why Kill a Stupid Rule and some of these other
things are so important because it shows people that it’s okay to get rid of --
when we live in a culture that only typically rewards and values more.
Frank: Ah, okay.
One of the things that I took away from your TED Talk is there are some very
specific things that we’re not doing right now that are preventing our
organization from innovating. Let’s start specifically with some of the stuff that
we talked around from an individual level. What are we not doing in terms of
cultivating our employees that is preventing their ability to do these things that
we want them to do which is think and kill a stupid rule rather than just do what
they’ve always done?
Lisa: Well, I mean, it’s this mindset, right? If we think more is better. Most people are
actually -- they confuse of things being organized with being simplified. We
spend all this time organizing stuff and that’s not simplifying things. So we have
this kind of misperception.
The other thing is we think that doing is more productive than thinking. So as
long as we’re getting something done -- checking it off list -- that’s going to be
more important than just sitting around and thinking about stuff. This kind of
mindset or behavior is what’s causing us from not being able to innovate. If
that’s what your question was about.
Frank: Yeah, definitely. Like that I want to point out doing is -- we have an idea that
doing is more productive than thinking when that’s not actually the case.
Lisa: It’s not the case. In fact, I say in most organizations, thinking is a daring act. We
think doing is very important because we think it’s measurable, right? I can check
off this many task. Well, if these tasks were stupid, who cares?
We have to get out of this mindset of more is better. That’s not what this is. So
we have to get meaningful is better than more. That’s a hardship for people
because then you have to define what meaning is and that causes people to
really have to focus and get rid of all this legacy stuff that’s kind of outlived its
Think of it like a spring cleaning, a culling, a getting rid of. Frankly, it’s very
cathartic. As long as people are willing to embrace it, you need a strong leader.
Because often the reason a lot of people don’t get rid of stuff is because the
leader put it in place.
You know a lot of rules that my team didn’t want to killer the rules I put in place.
So they don’t want to tell me they’re stupid, right? But you need to have a strong
leader that’s willing to get rid of. They realize some things have outlived their
time and that’s the only way you can grow.
Frank: How do we create the culture of that in our organizations?
Lisa: Well, senior leaders. Again, this goes back to risk and fear, right? So you have to
have somebody that’s willing to have a subtractive mindset, not just an additive
mindset, right? Subtractive, reductive, whatever you want to say, that doesn’t
have a fear of getting rid of things because we have this fear of holding on to
things. Like once we have something, we feel like it has value.
You know, there’s a lot of scientific studies around this that once we own
something, we’re reluctant to give it up because what that says to us from a
psychological standpoint is we’re giving up something of value. Who wants to
give up value? Two, I must have made a stupid decision or choice and no one
wants to feel that way, right?
So, we, as leaders, have to be comfortable as leaders and humans to admit if
something isn’t working anymore. And show people that it’s okay to, one, get rid
of it. Two, you can quantify the benefits of getting rid of something. If it’s like a
meeting or an email, think of how you could quantify the average hourly
worker’s wage time the amount of hours saved. I mean immediately you can see
an efficiency that you gain by getting rid of ways and stuff.
And giving people permission to do that in ongoing basis is incredibly
empowering because, ultimately, what getting rid of things does or simplifying, it
shows people that you respect their time and that makes happier employees and
it makes a culture that focuses on meaningful work, not mundane work. And
people will stay longer because of that.
Frank: I want to get into some specifics around meetings.
So meetings are these things, again, where it’s probably just we’d set them up
and we attend these meetings once a week or twice a week and we never really
question whether or not it’s the best use of our time and we never really
question whether the structure is good. Let’s kind of dig in to meetings a little
Is there a way to determine the frequency of meetings with your team? How do
you view how often you should meet with your team? And then beyond that,
how do you actually run meetings to make sure that you’re not just wasting an
hour of everyone’s time but you’re actually gaining something from that time
that you’re spending?
Lisa: Well, there’s a lot there that I could say. I mean you could do a whole podcast,
series of podcast of better meetings and people have done it.
One simple thing you could do is something we did with Sprint which is rather
than killing stupid rules they got their managers together in each business
divisions and said they want you to kills to the meetings. And they said a really
high goal is saying you have to kill 20% of your meetings.
I think what they arrived at was in the business units who did this was they killed
an average of like 13% of the meetings which, by the way, is pretty good. But
how I went about this is doing an audit.
We have a tool called Killing Complexity. We have a whole simplicity toolkit and
one of the tools is killing complexity and it’s very simple. It just gives people
structure to audit all the meetings they have that are literally daily, weekly,
monthly, quarterly, annually and ad hoc. You do it as a group so you all --
And you look at your calendar, you write all these things down. And when you
really write them down, it’s kind of like when you write down what you’ve eaten
today. You think you haven’t eaten anything and then you realize, “Oh, now I
know why I’m fat,” right? “There’s all those stuff.”
So they didn’t audit and they realized all the meetings that they have and then
they -- People just started saying, “Why do we have this? Why is it …” It was a
great discussion and they could actually do this kind of calling together.
So that was one way that they went about it. They could make intelligent
decisions around what had value and what didn’t. What was the real risk to get
rid of something and what wasn’t, right? They could collectively talk about the
risks of getting rid of something because people have fears. So that was really
And then when they did have meetings they said, “This is Frank …” but also HBO
did this. They said, “What is it that makes our meetings not so great? Why do
they have to be the same timeline? Why don’t we come with agendas? Why do
we have to always meet at the same place?” It depends on the culture, frankly,
how you can run the best meeting. But the overall idea was less meetings more
meaning. To do that, they wanted to make sure that they set out a goal for every
meeting. That was it. They had to make sure that there was a goal in an outcome
that had to come out of every meeting otherwise you don’t get a meeting.
There’s one more thing I’ll say about meetings which is it’s not always about
getting rid of meetings because one of the things I talk about -- My upcoming
book is called Why Simple Wins and it focuses simply on this idea of simplicity. It
doesn’t come out till October but I had an interesting case with the Cleveland
Clinic and they’re amazing; simple amazing. What they do with data to improve
patient care and faster patient turnarounds to get better outcomes is
I talked to one of their IT guys that deals with all this data and they said, “You
know, it’s not always about less, it’s about better, and I’ll tell you what I mean.
They use Agile Scrum Methodology which is a typical thing with an IT that you do
succinct little small things faster. Once completed, you move on to the next, to
the next, to the next.”
If they had been measured on getting rid of meetings, they would have failed
because in that methodology you need more small meetings to check in and that
makes you more effective. If they had been measured on no meetings or less
meetings, they would have in fact failed. So the metric wouldn’t be objective if
that makes sense.
Frank: Yup.
Lisa: So, make sure what you’re doing in terms of limiting meetings is actually the
right way to go.
Frank: I want to go back to make sure I’ve got that. So it’s not less, it’s better that we’re
going for.
Lisa: Yeah. I mean overall -- of course, trying to simplify it. So typically that means
less. It means minimal, right? That’s a big component of simplicity which we can
talk about it. How do you actually define that but a big thing is minimal.
But it should be as possible. You want to minimize something as possible. If it’s
detrimental to do that, it makes it counterintuitive or less meaningful, then you
don’t do it. That makes complexity.
Frank: Okay.
I want to kind of jump back to what we’re talking about and it’s essentially about
doing deep work is the ability to get out of the “I need to be doing things,
sending emails, attending meetings in order to show productivity.”
Lisa: Mm-hmm.
Frank: So for the listening audience, the people who are running and scaling smaller
companies right now, I want to give them some actionable stuff. How do they
take action on doing deep work or thinking work over just doing work?
So these are folks who might not have a big organization. It might just be them
or them in a small team. What kind of a process can they set up on a weekly or a
monthly basis to be sure that, number one, they’re doing the things that need to
get done but, moreover, that they are spending their valuable time making sure
that they’re focused on the right things.
So what I’m looking for is maybe a process or examples of how you can set up a
structure where we’re focusing on thinking about what they’re doing rather than
just keeping doing the same old thing.
Lisa: Yeah. So this goes back to, again, one of these things I talk about is called killing
complexity. The reason this is so -- Oh, I just think it’s brilliant. I just think it’s so
easy is because what we’re doing is basically taking an audit of what we spend
our time on and how that has value or not. That’s really what simplicity and
getting to work that matters is is time versus value. It’s a very easy equation.
What are you spending time on? Is it valuable or not? If it’s not valuable, why are
you doing it? If it is valuable, can it be minimized? Can it be improved? How can
we move it up the value chain to take less time more value?
That’s a very simple way for people to think about it, right? So they don’t have to
sit there and pull out the grid and all the stuff. But if they wanted to, I could talk
to you about a value versus time thing. If it takes a lot of time and has no value,
you get rid of it. If it takes little time and has high value, you try and model
everything after that. And if it takes a little less time or a little less value and you
don’t quite have that balance right, that’s where you look at the key levers of
simplicity and figure out how can I improve this to increase the value or decrease
the time? Does that make sense?
Frank: Yeah, totally, time versus value.
Lisa: Those are the simple levers that somebody either intern inside a company can
do. Whether that applies to a process, to a person, or a meeting, for example,
you can use that. Or if someone that’s at a startup, right, and it’s your own
I’ve had my company, Futurethink, for 20 years and I’m constantly putting things
in place. And then a couple of years later, looking back and going, “Well, that
doesn’t work. Or why did I do that?” You have to keep on that time value
equation because, to be quite honest, things change. It’s not as standstill.
Frank: Lisa, you’ve got an amazing TEDx Talk and one of the things that I pulled down
and circled multiple times is that one of the better ways to get what you really
want is not to measure results or to find the answer but it is to ask better
questions. And I really wrote down one of the things that you underlined as how
to ask killer questions.
Lisa: Yes.
Frank: So, what are some of the killer questions that people can be asking of
themselves, their teams, their organizations that helps them get to these better
Lisa: Oh gosh! Well, first of all, for anybody that’s listening to this. I welcome them to
come to our site. You can email us at innovative@futurethink.com. We have, in
our toolkit, 50 questions to better simplify and they’re great because they’re
broken down into the different areas of what makes some things simple. Let me
tell you what that is first. Do you mind if I do a little bit on that?
Frank: Please do.
Lisa: So the definition of simplicity is -- to be honest, you don’t know how to simplify if
you can’t define it. Here’s what people do. They think “I’m going to simplify it.
I’m just going to get rid of things.” Well, that’s a part of it.
Minimizing is part of it. But to be simple, it has to be as minimal as possible. So
that’s getting rid of stuff or streamlining it. It has to be as understandable or
clear as possible. You may just have a jargon problem, right? Legal contracts are
50 pages if you can get them down to ten, that’s great if that’s just a jargon or
miscellaneous stuff. It can be as repeatable as possible.
So if you’re doing a bunch of one offs, they may all be great at one offs but why
aren’t you making things more template and repeatable, right?
Frank: Mm-hmm.
Lisa: And then finally, accessible. How do you make something as transparent,
accessible, usable with others? So you’re not the one -- this is a control issue,
right? A risk-averse issue. You’re not the one controlling everything. And that’s
where a lot of companies like banks and even product companies have become
more successful technology companies because they’ve made their code
accessible, right? We just kind of hold it all inside with our IT. And by opening it
up, we became even more scalable and growable than before. So, there’s lots of
ways to look at simplicity.
So the reason I stay into this, if you’re sitting inside of a company, first of all you
need to decide what your definition of simplicity is and I told you mine around
minimal, understandable, repeatable and accessible. But then what are the
questions that you can ask to do that? So under minimal, if we have to get rid of
stuff, what parts of this product or service and still make money on it, what’s the
first thing that would go?
Frank: Ooh.
Lisa: Right? So it’s transparent. What’s the one audience that we don’t want to give
away our stuff to that scares us but we should really rethink? If we had to cut
this contact meeting process in half, how would we go about doing it the next 24
hours? You get the idea?
Frank: I do.
Lisa: Yeah. What jargon in this contract, process, whatever, is something that if we
explain it to a five-year old or a family, they wouldn’t understand. So these are
the kinds of things that this list gets at and they’re simple questions. They’re not
things that they go and thinks about everyday so we just kind of do the thinking
for them. That’s all.
Frank: Lisa, one of the things that I’m finding myself really curious about is we talk a lot
about on this podcast about focusing on something that is your purpose that
gets you juiced. So I’m actually curious about your own personal experience in
life. How did innovation and change and simplification become your purpose
because you’re obviously passionate about it? What led you to this, to this being
your mission?
Lisa: Oh, it’s totally happy accident.
This is the thing I love to talk about on podcast because I think everyone always
says -- or maybe I’m the only one -- but “Oh, when I was little, I always knew I
wanted to do X,” but it was not me. I did not think about when I was in third
grade that I was going to be a futurist and a speaker and an author. Just never --
who is struggling with work-life balance and needed to write a book on simplicity
but here I am, right? I look back of my life and I know everything led me to this.
I was very lucky. I was always creative. And I was always a teacher. Those are the
underlining things as skills that are still with me today and I focused on work.
But how I got here was, you know, I was always a coach, I was always a president
or a leader of organizations. I was always good at teaching people things. I was a
good presenter. And one day I happen to get introduced to a futurist. And it was
purely by luck.
I was visiting my grandfather in Michigan and the lead futurist there Dow
Chemical. I mean “What’s a futurist? Why do they have that at Dow Chemical?” I
had coffee and he was leaving that day to move down to Texas and I just happen
to catch him right when my flight landed in Midland, Michigan. That opened
incredible amounts of doors for me.
All kinds of people that had jobs that I didn’t even know you could make money
[unclear 00:23:47] and they stretched my thinking and took me to new ways that
applied creatively to business, not just to art. And away we go. I became an
entrepreneur. I started preaching futurism. I started to turn that into practical
stuff for simplicity and that’s where I am today.
Frank: That’s awesome.
So for a lot of the audience, they hear all this talk about find something that
you’re passionate about, and then once you do, go spend time doing that. You’re
introduced to these things that you’re passionate about, that you didn’t
necessarily knew they existed. When you’re thinking about job opportunities
when you’re in high school, futurist is not usually one of the options. So, of
course, you would never be thinking about, “Well, that’s what I want to do,”
when you’re 10, 11, 12, 13 years old.
So, once you actually identify that, number one, this is an actual thing that
people do and get paid for and number two, it’s something that you feel excited
and passionate about, how did you take that interest and that passion and start
down the path of making it into a business rather than something where you just
read all of the books and use this like a hobby?
Lisa: I talk to others that do the exact same thing. Literally, that’s what I do. I think
you can read but I’m not that person that goes and reads about it, I call the
people up.
So I spend my time -- when I want to go find out about something, yeah, I can
read the articles and I Google it, I search around for stuff, but basically I find who
are the leaders in that area and I call them up immediately and I say, “Can I take
you to lunch? Dinner? Or meet you on my next trip, just talk to you for 30
minutes.” 99% of the people will talk with you or meet with you.
“Tell me about your job. What do you do? Did you always tell that you wanted to
do that? How is it a passion? What should I know is somebody getting into it?”
And some people will tell you “Don’t do it,” (laughs) which is always really funny.
People like to talk about themselves. That’s key. So if you’re a good listener,
you’re good at asking questions, you’re going to learn a lot of information.
My feeling is a lot of times people are hesitant but the first thing they do is they
read because that’s easy and it’s anonymous and they have fears of reaching out
to people and I say why. Call those people. Call the authors, call the leaders, call
the presidents, connect with them online on LinkedIn. They will talk to you.
Frank: That is awesome. That is awesome. So you can take action, you can talk to the
people that are doing the things that you’re interested in and get it from them
rather than go read the next 20 books.
Lisa: You will be shocked at how high up the chain you can go that people want to
help you especially -- It’s funny. If you’re young and you could literally call
someone 50. Not 50 or senior than you but maybe 30, 40, or senior than you and
they would love to talk with you and give you other connection. Spoils go to the
people who ask.
Frank: Yes.
So as a futurist, right? Our audiences are growing entrepreneurs. What is
something that you are really excited about over the next three years that these
starting out entrepreneurs really should be paying attention to? What kind of
change is coming and what should they be starting to prepare for now that is
going to be really exciting in the next couple of years?
Lisa: So much automation, I think, through -- not just machine learning obviously but
all these things with AI, etc; the intelligence that’s going to happen around
software. What’s happening right now at home, right? Even the simple things
like Alexa.
Frank: Yup.
Lisa: Which is really fun. My kids love it in our home. Or we do a lot [unclear
00:27:18]. We do in far beyond that.
But the idea is what that’s going to do in terms of making things more intelligent
is going to be so incredible and make our lives easier. What that’s going to do to
some people’s jobs is it’s going to put them out of work. It used to be anything
that could be done by a machine, right, would put you out of work. Now, it’s
anything that could be done by a brain is going to put you out of work.
The key thing is we’re still far ahead in terms of human intelligence versus
machine intelligence but I think people have to be really avant-garde and spend
a lot of time reading up about technology if they really want to stay ahead in
their jobs.
Frank: What is going to allow people to not be replaced by technology? What is the skill
set that they’re going to need to have?
Lisa: I think a lot of it is provocative inquiry. I do think asking the right questions is still
high on the list. Machines are really good at giving less answers but I’m not so
sure that they know the questions yet. So that’s going to be a good one. I still
think the creative thinker. There’s a lot of data they can give us hypothesis and
solutions and scenarios and percentage of likelihood of risk but someone still has
to come up with the ideas, right?
I think people that are critical thinkers, that are problem solvers, those are the
skills right now but obviously they’re trying to teach more of in school. It doesn’t
matter if you memorize something, machines can do that, right?
So it’s kind of like do you want to be the doctor as the general practitioner? Or
do you want to be the doctor that when you know something that’s really odd,
you can go to and they know how to solve that problem? You want to be that
doctor. So, it’s really being the one who knows how to think differently, who can
be a creative problem solver, who could be a critical thinker. Those are the kind
of skills for the future that are going to matter: memorization -- I mean forget it.
Frank: So machine’s intelligence, these things are going to be done by a brain but
they’re still going to need to be somebody giving the brain the input of what to
look for or what questions to answer.
Lisa: Yes.
Frank: Alright. I love that. That is beautiful.
Lisa: Me to.
Frank: Alright.
So, this has been amazing, Lisa. So people are probably now thinking, “Okay, this
is amazing.” So where should they go specifically to get that? Number one, the
question list of 50 questions that they can ask and then what are the other ways
that you’d love to send people to connect with you or to see some of the stuff
that you’ve got out there?
Lisa: So, go to futurethink.com. That’s the easiest way to go there and see some sexy
pictures around all the different types of training and tools and all this kind of
stuff we do around innovation and simplicity. I will challenge people to find more
stuff in simplicity than what we have.
We have a simplicity toolkit that if people are really interested has 14 tools in it.
They can help people -- entrepreneurs, to be honest, as well as people inside
companies and business unit leaders start getting that culture of change to
So they can write us at innovate@futurethink.com and we can give more
information on that. Because I think one is getting the tools and another thing is
then getting people trained up on how to do it quickly so you could get
everybody starting to simplify it’s in everyday habits.
Frank: Alright, very cool.
So you guys have heard from Lisa Bodell. We will drop everything that you guys
need to go take action on this stuff into the show notes. Lisa, thank you for
joining us here at Starting from Nothing.
Lisa: Thank you! It was a real pleasure.
Frank: Thanks. Bye.
Lisa: Take care. Bye bye.