Igniting Innovation By All

Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place To Work®, explains why business leaders today must abandon antiquated ideas to disrupt the innovation process, and how they can create a Great Place To Work For All. He will dive into 30 years of survey data from more than 100 million employees and reveal the leadership behaviors that are required to escalate innovation and the agility needed for every organization, whether it is a Fortune Global 500 company, or a small family-owned business.

Key takeaways from video:

  • If you are still making the business case for diversity, you are about to be disrupted.
  • Learn exactly what leaders need to do to lead in this new way.
  • Understand why this approach is Better for Business, Better for People and Better for the World
Show Transcript

Thank you everybody, and I hear we have some new people here. I heard the round of applause, so welcome, and I gotta get everybody on the same page. Get everybody up to date, so I wanna explain this photograph.

Some of you have seen it before. This is the photograph of a card that my wife Melba gave me. We've been married 32 years, and where it came from is just like this morning, us standing looking in the mirror, and I got this routine where I'm getting myself together, and she's like, "Honey, I don't know what you're looking at, but I don't think you see what I see." Hence, the card. The cat looking and seeing the line, and I'm like "Oh honey, who I know who I see? I see Denzel Washington." That's who I see, and I don't mean fat, sloppy, out of shape, Fitz's Denzel, I mean Training Day Denzel.

Afterwards, many of you, my friends, my colleagues, have said, "Hey Mike. You need to just love yourself. Accept yourself the way you are." I said, "Okay, let me give that a try. Let me see if I can start actually seeing myself." I got a therapist, did some work, started trying to love myself, but then I noticed around my house, there were these dog-eared magazines, People Magazine, GQ Magazine, and I was like, "Hmm," and it was just me and wife at home. My kids are out of the house. I was like, "Alright, either I can listen to my friends, or I can try to get to my 33rd year."

I decided to see who she was dog-earing, so this is who I see now, Idris Elba. Yeah. Apparently, he's the man now. Okay. That's who I'm trying to be. Part of being a leader, trying to do something that hasn't really been done before, we have to be delusional. We have to see the world the way we want to see it, and so we've got a powerful mission. This is it, to do anything we can do at a great place to work, to help your organization become a great place to work for all, and we'll do anything to try and make this happen.

We know this is better for business, better for people, and better for the world. We've proven it. How many of you have gotten one of these great badges? Yeah. That's how you let the world know. You tell the world no, and the thing is, you can't get these badges until your people say you're a great place to work. That's what I love about it. You have to earn it. Your people have to say.

When we say great place to work for all, just to be on the same page, for some of the new people, let's talk about what we mean. It should be a great place to work for all if you have no hair. It should be a great place to work for all if you have gray hair. It should be a great place to work for all if you have uniquely beautiful hair, and It should be a great place to work for all if, because of what you believe in, you choose to cover your uniquely beautiful hair. When we say great place to work for all, we mean great place to work for all, including 9% of all working people who have a member of their family, who is physically or mentally disabled, and only half those people tell their co-workers about that, because they're afraid if they tell their co-workers, it'll affect their career progress.

Those aren't crazy people. Those are smart people, because then a place that that's not a great place to work, it will, because in Great Place To Work Company, we know this is an awesome person who can get up at 3a.m., and get their kid ready for school, and come and do great work. We know this is an awesome person. We know it's better for business. We've done all the analysis. We've written books about it. Other people have searched us. We know it's better for people, not only working people, but their families, and their communities, and we know it's better for the world, because when you put those things together. It changes the world, which is what we're all here trying to do.

We believe in what Marc Benioff says from Salesforce, always at the top of one of our list, "This is the role of business. It's much more than just business. We believe it is to improve the state of the world." How does it happen? What is this thing called a Great Place To Work for All? It's made up of a few things. Many of you know, because we measured and score it. The first is values. We talk to the employees. We survey the employees to find out whether or not the values that are on the website are actually for real. We look at leadership to see what kind of environment they're creating. Are they creating an environment where innovation thrives, or one that stifles innovation? Trust, this is what Great Place To Work has been serving, and been talking about for 30 years.

This is the foundation for all our work. Without trust, there is no engagement. Without trust, there is no inclusion. Without trust, there is no innovation. We measure maximizing your potential. This is the newest part of our methodology, because we found out you could be a great place to work for some, but not great place to work for all. We do a demographic comparison, and we reward companies where there are fewer gaps, where people are having a consistently great experience, and we penalize companies where that's not true, because when you unlock people, you get innovation by all. What this summit is all about, and when you do that, you get financial growth.

That's more dineros. That's more dough. That's more money, trying to be international. Okay. Dough is what I love, but that is money, and that's what happens. This methodology stands on trust, and as leaders what are the things we think about? Number one is respect. This is how we treat people, depends on how we walk by people, how we greet people, the kinda email we write, the kinda Tweet we tweet. All those things build trust or erode trust, and we always wanna be building trust.

Credibility. As a leader, we wanna be credible, which means we have to be consistent. We have to talk to everybody in the same way, not an uneven way, and fairness. The most important of all. This is thing. People wanna know that they're being treated fairly compared to everyone else regardless of who they are, what they are, or what they do in the organization. Why? Because it really matters. Here's some data. We did a study. We looked at the companies on our Best Workplaces for Women's list, and we compared them to companies that aren't on our list, a survey of the American Worker. This is U.S. data, and what we see here is in some important, like favoritism, pay, and promotions that are deserved. The experience in a Great Place To Work company is twice as good. Twice as good.

 Here's some other things that matter. Do you really wanna get up and go to work? Does your organization celebrate innovation? Is the environment emotionally and psychologically safe? It's twice as high in a Best Place to Work for Women compared to the American experience at work. We just wanna say for the record, because whenever I do something on the stage, and I talk about women, I get these Tweets, "You're being too political." We just wanna make something clear. Great Place To Work, fairness, justice, and equality are not political ideas. Okay? They have nothing to do with politics. This is how you make that dough. Okay? It's better for business. You can do it to be a good person. I love that, but this is better for business.

Let's look at our friend, Woody. Woody's out of the closet. He actually lived in the closet. Okay? He's out. He's super excited. He's fired up, because he's going to a job interview, and look at the team that's gonna interview him. Just look at that. Woody walks in, but then Woody feels like this. Why would Woody feel like this? Well, it might be because he didn't see anybody else made out of wood, and 15 inches tall. I think Woody might feel different if right here, there was Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Alright? It probably would make Woody feel a little bit different, because what we see matters. We know in diversity, it's not everything. We can't believe what we see, because it leads to assumptions. Our mind discriminates, but it is one part of it. It's far more complex than that.

My friend Julie Sweet, I love this quote. I always use it. "You can't have innovation without diversity of thought," which leads me to this. I wonder if this is a great place to work? Okay. Stay with me people. I love everybody. Okay. Let's just establish that, but I'm just saying. Okay. They haven't called us to do the trust index survey yet, but we are waiting, but when I think about this diversity of thought, people having to think the same way, I'm just not so sure that it drives innovation.

Innovation. We've done a lot of research in this area. If you'd like to get that research, please hit me up on LinkedIn. We send it out free, but this is our seminal study that got us started, where we looked at many companies across the U.S. to measure this thing called the "Innovation By All" experience, and what we found is there are many great companies that have something called the accelerated ratio. When you look at the people, and you see people circled in green, these are the people you love. They're fired up. We have to change, shut down the product, and move in a different direction. Let's go. You don't need change management consultants when you have a lot of people circled in green.

Consultants hate a company that has a lot of people circled in green. Okay, but this what agility is. People circled in green, and the people in red, let me be clear who they are. You know people where you say, "Hey, I have a great idea," and you say the idea, and they go "I don't like that idea." Alright. I'm married to one. Okay? You need these people. These are super smart people. If it wasn't for this connection that I have, you wouldn't have met me today, or you might have but I would have been in front asking for a dollar. Okay? A whole different situation. You need a diversity of thought. You need people who will challenge your ideas, but the people in red aren't those people.

 These are people who are having an experience at work based on who they work for, that they don't feel trusted. They don't feel cared for. This is the worst thing you can do to a person, which is smash their motivation, and their potential. Well great organizations have only two. They always have work to do. These aren't bad hires. These are people having an experience and there's a leader who needs development. We've also surveyed all companies across the United States that we don't work with, and we found this is the case.

I'm calling it the disruptable ratio, because these places are right for disruption, because people are having a bad experience. That's why this songs like, "Take this job and shove it. Thank God it's Friday." That's why they were so popular, because of this ratio. Okay? It's a real thing, because when you're circled in red, you have fear. Fear looks like earlier today when you looked at each other. It's hard to see. Fear is like, "What are you afraid of, nothing? That person's afraid." "What are you? Nothing?" Okay. That's what happens. It's bad for organizations. I would fear something like this. I would even fear something like this, but I don't wanna fear at work, because it stops inclusion. It stops innovation. Two of the things your organization needs more than anything else.

It would be far easier at work if fear looked like this, but it doesn't. It's hard to see. You have to be aware. As a manager and a leader, you have to be thinking about the experience that you're creating for people. The cost is high. Old ideas, managing by fear, another old idea. I've been at companies, and I've had the CEO say, "I'd like you to welcome our Chief of Diversity and Inclusion, Cheryl. She's gonna make it happen here," and they call Cheryl up, like one person's gonna diversity and inclusion happen, and usually Cheryl smiles, and she's happy, and then she sends me an email later from a Gmail account saying "What do you think," and I'm like "Look Cheryl, we're gonna do everything we can to help you, but I would get my LinkedIn profile updated," because this aint an "I" thing, it's a "we" thing. All leaders need to do it.

They can follow the lead of a chief diversity and inclusion officer, they can't be held responsible, one person, for making that happen. This is the case for diversity. Come on people. It's 2019. Are you kidding? I'm gonna come back to this a little bit later. It's time to be different. That's why we're here. That's why you come to a summit to have a different experience. It's about us. We get inspired, and have to go back and try and inspire others, and I'm inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Either way. I'm inspired, because what he did was read a book, and realized that generations really didn't understand democracy, and the messiness of it, and the pain, and the frustration of people creating this great country that we now live in. We innovated. He had an idea. He worked with others, and decided through song, he could educate millions, as he has done, like it has not been done before.

I'm wondering if that's the key, maybe, using music as a way of communicating. I'm just curious about that. How many of you know about our 9 practice areas? They're the things you fill out in the culture audit. We have these 9 high trust behaviors, so I'm gonna be talking about those in a moment, and doing it in a new and different way. Are you ready? Okay. Let's see what happens.

We have to change. Not just me, but you have to do it too. We're important. It's about us, because we have to go back to work, and help the leaders that we work with, maximize the full potential of others. This is people way. This is what happens when you unlock people, when you care for people, when you let them know about the purpose of the organization. They get fired up. No wall can stop this way. Purpose provides profit, but you've gotta have your head right. If you need to meditate, meditate. If you need to read a good book, or exercise, exercise. Find what you need that gets you going. You know what I need that gets me going? A hot fudge sundae. Okay? It absolutely gets my head right.

Back to the things that leaders need to do. We need to listen to the people. All the people. We need to inspire all the people. We need to speak to all the people. We need to thank all the people. We need to develop all the people. We need to care for all the people. We need to welcome all the people, and we need to celebrate the people, and share that dough, because when people are unlocked they will lean in. They will give your organization 100%, and when you run across a hidden figure, there's no need for fear, you need to be excited, because when you meet people, and their potential has been minimized, you maximize it, awesome things happen. The business case for diversity, we got it. We got it. We got it. We got it. We got it.

Here's a business case for all the business cases of diversity. We don't need to study this anymore people. We know what we need to do. Are you with me? We need to listen to all the people. We need to inspire all the people. We need to speak to the people. This is what leaders do. We need to thank all the people. We need to develop all the people. We need to care for the people. We need to welcome all the people. We need to celebrate all the people, and share that dough. Are you with me people? Yeah. This is what we need to do as leaders. Thank you. Thank you. We wanna do these things everyday. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

That's what happens when you treat people good. Now when you treat people bad, what happens then? It gets bad, bad, bad. Yeah. I'll do absolutely anything to help you create a great place to work for all. Let's think about this for our leader, the original hidden figure, Dorothy Vaughn. She learned Fortran programming, taught her team how program Fortran, because of the purpose, which is to get a man around the moon and safely. She knew artificial intelligence couldn't people. People had to do it, and speaking of people, we've surveyed over 100 million people, put the data in your hands, and I feel good. Do you feel good?

Something's missing. Now I feel great. I feel great. It's time to summit people. We don't need any oxygen. All we need is each other. The time is now. The time is always right to do what is right. We need to do it for her. We need to create a world for her where she gets treated with equality, and given full equity as full member of society. Jimi Hendrix was right. "When the power of love, overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Thank you very much, and thank you for coming to the summit. It's gonna be magnificent. Have a great time. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you.