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A Case of the Mondays

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Ever wonder how to combine meaning and work? Ever feel like a rebel in your own company? Have you looked at other companies and thought 'Why can't we innovate like them?' Join your host, Chris Thierfelder and his guests from all corners of the business world to discuss these ideas and more each Monday through the summer. Spend a little extra time in the car with us, and maybe you'll learn something new, or maybe you'll just have a reason not to step in to that cubicle on time. A thoughtful business podcast for thoughtful business people.
29 Episodes
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Today, we're talking about risk! Why it's hard for people to understand and assess, how to make it easier (or less risky) to evaluate risk, and why being good at risk is a practice that scales with you along your entire career so the risks you take can be handled better and smarter than some examples in industry.Link to the article Chris mentioned:ChatGPT is 'Down all the time' and it's a good thing...Check out the Project Management Masterclass and other offerings to help you or your enterprise improve leadership and management: TWC Group
On today's episode we talk about the recent spate of layoff, and how they aren't good for anyone, including the company doing the layoffs. We talk about empathy, treating people like the human sacks of emotional baggage they are, and how all that relates to today's topic of Stakeholder Management!That's a terrible phrase. We'll really talking about how you, as the Project Manager, need to create relationships with the people who have interest in, and influence over your project and your team. Additional Reading and ReferencesWhy are there so many layoffs? An interview with Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Jeffrey PfefferHow Apple Has (So Far) Avoided LayoffsList of the Latest Companies Making Cuts (LinkedIn)The American Prospect: Tech Workers Should Unionize ImmediatelyWhat is Stakeholder Management? (Good article, but they are trying to sell you something.)Project Stakeholder Management, Engineering Management Journal
Today, we're talking about Project Management as an "Accidental Profession." The fact that despite its proliferation (16 million NEW PM gigs in the last decade!) companies still seem to think of it as a nuisance and a "necessary evil."What to do to understand how YOUR company views project management and, by extension, project managers is going to be your first step at making your current reality a stepping stone to your long-term career goals. Oh, and we also check in with our pals at Southwest Airlines because no matter what's going on in your career, at least you're not them. Some articles from the show:NY Times: Southwest CEO Bob Jordan on "What Went Wrong." Business Horizons: Lessons for an Accidental ProfessionPMI: The Accidental Project ManagerUniversity of Minnesota Press: Creating a Project Culture
Welcome back to A Case of the Mondays!This episode, Chris introduces the concept for Season 3: a series of mini-pods designed to give Team Leaders a little something useful every week. We'll talk a little about why front-line or "middle" managers are so important, how they don't get the love they need, and why investing in them can save your company from massive headaches down the road. Sit back, tune in, and enjoy while wearing your corporate-branded t-shirt. 
Having now taken a couple of weeks to consider Season 2, Chris sits down at the mic to give his thoughts on some overall themes to the season and what he himself has been working on. Chris gets personal (kind of) and draws out a lesson in karma and the awesome power to alter realty that we all carry around with us, if we'd only just stop to consider it. 
Today's the last interview of Season 2, and for it, Chris sits down with artist and author Brian Rea. Brian's book, "Death Wins a Goldfish" is a beautiful, thoughtful, charming, and insightful look at what happens when the hardest working being on the planet--the Grim Reaper Himself--takes an imposed yearlong holiday and what lessons he learns from stepping away from work. Those lessons are some we can all learn, and that's why we saved this interview for last. It was one of Chris' favorite conversations, and we hope it one of yours, too. Chris also talks about the last couple of weeks of protests, why history rhymes, and what we can learn from the moment we're in. Learn more:Brian's Website: Brianrea.comBook: "Death Wins a Goldfish"Article: "The Mystery Gift at the End of the World" by Brian ReaRevisionist History Presents: The Limits of Power (Chapter 7 of "David and Goliath" by Malcom Gladwell)...this link will open up Apple PodcastsNot an sponsor, but buy their stuff anyway: Diop
Today, Chris talks with author, researcher, executive coach and now podcaster(!) Moe Carrick. Moe's work focuses on creating dynamic, human-centric leaders and work places so that we can all thrive and flow in our careers. Her books tackle some of the thorniest ideas in modern leadership, and pays respect to that most complicated workplace mystery: people! Moe's ideas have been imperative for years but have taken on a new urgency now, as we are all confronted with a need to evolve as leaders and create brand-new paradigms for leadership and for work itself. As we all start to settle in to a "new normal" it's high time we re-consider what good leadership looks like and how it can lift us up and through our current environment. Read this stuff:Website: Moecarrick.com (links to toolkits, her books, and podcast can be found there!)Not a sponsor, but go buy their stuff anyway:If you find yourself in Bend, OR, go check out Boneyard Bewery!
Today's a little different, folks. Chris and co-host Jeremy Wieland get together to swap stories about the current small business climate as a result of the pandemic. They talk about how the optimism of the small business community clashes with what the data is telling us, what the outcome of a small business apocalypse might look like (hint: good, if you like Chipotle and only Chipotle, bad otherwise), what needs to happen to avert it, and why you should delete your food delivery apps. Have a great Memorial Day, everyone! Read this stuff:Study, Columbia Business School: "Crisis of Confidence Could Delay Recovery Over a Decade"Article: "Q&A with the President of the SBA of Michigan"Article: "SHRM Small Business Study (PDF)"Article: "Delete Your Delivery Apps"Book: The Black Swan, Second Edition by Nassim TalebBuy: Ky's Hawaiian Shirts (they also have pandemic masks!)Watch (or not): Demolition Man (trailer)
Today Chris sits down for an expansive talk with David Graeber. He is an anthropologist, author, activist and all-round congenial rabble-rouser. We cover his early observations that led to him writing his seminal work on modern labor "Bullshit Jobs" and trace through to today, where we see many of his earlier theories put to the test and found quite accurate, not the least of which being that the people we currently refer to as "non-essential" workers were, in fact, engaged in a fair volume of bullshit work. We take a clear look at the state of the economy and of work and what the pandemic is revealing about that, and what we hope to see come out the other side. Read this stuff:Book: "Bullshit Jobs" (finally read the thing that Chris keeps referencing)Article: Click here for a collection of David's articlesScholarly Work: Click here for a collection David's scholarly work. A History of the ILGWU
Chris has a wide-ranging conversation with Daniel Markovits from Yale Law School about his recent book "The Meritocracy Trap" and how the structural imbalances that exist within corporate America conspire to prevent most workers--of almost any level--from the kind of stable career progression that once was responsible for creating a Professional Middle Class in this country. Chris also muses about gratitude, considering ethical work, and gives a preview of next week's guest (for the first time!)Read this stuff from Professor Markovits:Article: "How Life Became and Endless, Terrible Competition"Article: "How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class"Book: "The Meritocracy Trap"Op-Ed: "A Wealth Tax is the Logical Way to Support Coronavirus Relief"About Professor Markovits:Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Private Law.Markovits works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics. He publishes in a range of disciplines, including in Science, The American Economic Review, and The Yale Law Journal.Markovits’s current book, The Meritocracy Trap (forthcoming, Penguin Press), places meritocracy at the center of rising economic inequality and social and political dysfunction. The book takes up the law, economics, and politics of human capital to identify the mechanisms through which meritocracy breeds inequality and to expose the burdens that meritocratic inequality imposes on all who fall within meritocracy’s orbit.
In a bit of a departure from the normal business programming, Chris sits down with Zen Priest Sensei Gary Koan Janka to talk about how our wants and fears of not getting what we want fuel our suffering and how to begin to alleviate that suffering. From Chris: "I was thinking about all of the people who are afraid right now and what impact that fear is having on not only our economy, but our society writ large. I wanted to do something that went beyond the day to day micro-coping, or analysis of this or that aspect of business and offer a conversation that could literally appeal to every single person who listened to it, no matter their circumstance. I hope this helps." Chris also offers a warning to folks looking to find enlightenment on a stationary bike or in a Lululemon, and explains how Jedi Masters walk among us.
Chris talks with the Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Minneapolis, Gia Vitali. Gia has spent her career dedicated to public service and to making her communities better, fairer, and healthier.We discuss the challenges of keeping a city of 425k people functioning during a crisis, what Gia's had to learn in short order to be an effective leader during this time, and her hopes for what we see on the other side of this surreal time. Chris also tells you why you're terrible at assessing risk, and why you not wearing a mask doesn't mean what you think it means.Read this stuff:Book; "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind," Yuval Noah HarariBook; "Thinking, Fast and Slow," Daniel KahnemanArticle; Humans are Too Optimistic to Comprehend the Coronavirus, Olga Khazan, The AtlanticArticle; The Psychology of Risk Perception, Harvard Mental Health Letter, HMSAbout Gia Vitali:Gia Vitali began her career on Capitol Hill in working for Congressman Bruce Vento and his successor Congresswoman Betty McCollum. In 2004 Gia returned to Minnesota and led the Get Out the Vote effort for the Kerry/Edwards Campaign. She went on to manage several campaigns, work for Senator Amy Klobuchar, and served as political director for a national organization focused on recruiting, training, and helping to elect candidates to state and local office. Gia served as deputy campaign manager for Minnesotans United for All Families – the historic campaign that successfully defeated the constitutional amendment to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. In April of 2013, she joined the corporate communications team at Medica Health Plans where she supported the Medicare and Medicaid business segments. In November 2015, Gia joined the Department of Human Services as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Today Chris sits down with former Microsoft HR exec and current Executive Coach, Sabina Nawaz. Sabina is a prolific business writer and leadership coach, helping to create a new paradigm of empathetic, thoughtful and highly effective leadership. We discuss work anxiety, managing productivity (and your expectations of it) during quarantine, and how leaders and individuals can create a new framework for efficacy, empathy, and engagement.Chris also talks about the stories we tell ourselves, and why those stories need to change. Read this stuff:Read more about Sabina and her coaching services. SabinaNawaz.coArticles from Sabina:"How Managers Can Support Remote Employees""To Achieve Big Goals, Start with Small Habits""How Anxiety Traps Us"If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, or you find yourself in a dangerous situation, please seek the help you need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a list of resources ready to help you right now. Go here to check it out. About Sabina Nawaz:Sabina Nawaz is a global CEO coach, leadership keynote speaker, and writer working in over 26 countries. She advises C-level executives in Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, non-profits and academic institutions. Sabina started her career in software development at Microsoft and then led the company’s executive development and succession planning efforts for over 11,000 managers and 700 executives. In addition, Sabina has spoken at hundreds of seminars, events, and conferences including TEDx. Currently, she sits on the board of Power and Systems, a leadership development institute. Sabina believes the greatest privilege of working with executives is bearing witness to their acts of courage. Look for more of her stories, insights, and advice on thriving as a leader on Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Inc.Sabina’s education includes a B.A. in Computer Science with a minor in Electronics from Smith College, an M.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and several certifications and advanced training in leadership development.To receive Sabina’s latest leadership articles, sign up on www.sabinanawaz.com and connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Today, Chris sits down with author, speaker, and former Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, Patty McCord. They talk about how she built Netflix's legendary talent culture, how sexual discrimination hurts EVERYONE, why diversity is important, and why we need to dramatically evolve the way we think about work and careers. Chris opens by talking about why expertise is valuable, and why just being smart or wealthy is no substitution for actually knowing what you're talking about. Read more:Website: About Patty McCordBook: Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and ResponsibilityDeck: The Netflix Culture DeckArticle: Elon Musk Criticized for Donating Sleep Apea VentilatorsAbout Patty:Patty McCord served as chief talent officer of Netflix for fourteen years andhelped create the Netflix Culture Deck. Since it was first posted on the web, theCulture Deck has been viewed more than 15 million times, and Sheryl Sandberghas said that it "...may be the most important document ever to come out of SiliconValley."Currently, Patty coaches and advises a small group of companies and entrepreneurson culture and leadership. She also speaks to groups and teams around the world.Patty's book Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility waspublished in January of 2018.Patty participated in IPOs at Netflix and, before that, Pure Atria Software. Aveteran of Sun Microsystems, Borland, and Seagate Technologies, she has alsoworked with small start-ups. Her background includes staffing, diversity,communications, and international human resources positions.Currently, Patty coaches and advises a small group of companies and entrepreneurson culture and leadership. She also speaks to groups and teams around the world.
Welcome to Season 2! Looking to be a little more introspective, a little more philosophical, and a little weirder this time around. Looking forward to seeing where it takes us, and hope you enjoy the journey. To kick things off, Chris talks to Dr. Steven Mintz, retired Professor Emeritus from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. Steve has spent the last few decades studying, writing about and teaching on the subject of ethics. His first book was a textbook titled Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting, which won him the Accounting Exemplar Award in 2015 for a lifetime of contributions in the field of ethics. His first book for a commercial audience was published in 2019. Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior explains how to make ethical decisions that bring happiness and greater meaning to life.Chris and Steve discuss ethical frameworks, how those frameworks translate to behavior from the individual to corporations, and finally to political institutions, and how we think about behaving ethically during the pandemic crisis we find ourselves in. Read this: Article: "Disposable People" online, The BafflerWebsite: Ethics Sage; Steven's blog on all things ethics and ethics-relatedBook: Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical BehaviorCopyright 2020, TWC Media, LLC
Bonus episode! Chris is alone on the mic today to wrap up Season 1. He talks about what compelled him to do all of this, what he learned, the grim vicissitudes of air travel and why it's a metaphor for the business world, and how to build the future out of the wreckage of the past. Read this stuff:T.H. White's "The Once and Future King"(Why The once and Future King is the Best King Arthur Story Out There: Vox)Richard Thaler's "Misbehaving"Lewis Lapham: "Merlin's Owl"The 1619 Project: The New York TimesLearn more:TWC Group, LLC
As several guests have said, one of the most influential forces in business today is the Millennial Generation. Their attitudes and beliefs around work, careers, business and how they want to engage and participate in their own career paths is nothing short of a massive disruption to the status quo. Today, Chris sits down with four members of the Millennial Generation to get their takes on those topics, as well as leadership, what they want from their employers, and where they're going next on their career paths. Chris also takes a minute to reflect on his own contemporaries in Generation X, explains why leaders should be reading fiction, and says a brief thank you to Toni Morrison.Intro/Monologue (00:00)David Hunt (11:54)Jennie Jacobs (30:45)McKenna Giardine (51:16)Dodge Ward (1:09:23)Outro (1:26:24)
How do nations lift themselves out of poverty? How can entrepreneurs creating lasting impact? What's the difference between a market innovation and a product innovation? Is China REALLY a planned economy? And Capitalism--is it broken?Today, Chris sits down with Efosa Ojomo, co-author of the book "The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty." They discuss the difference between consumption and non-consumption markets, how innovating in the latter can change entire countries, how we need to start re-thinking global economic development, and why it's time for a new lens with which to view China, the World Bank, the IMF, and basically everything else. Chris also points out that capitalism isn't doing so well in the United States and we should probably do something about that. Read The Prosperity ParadoxFollow Efosa on TwitterRead more of Efosa's writing on MediumAdditional stuff:Book: "The White Man's Burden" by William EasterlyFrom Axios, Article: "Too Much Money (and too few places to put it)"Check us out!Facebook: MondaypodLinkedIn: MondaypodTwitter: @Mondaypod1IG: @Mondaypod
What are we talking about when we talk about "Big Data?" How do we balance privacy with unlocking the power of personal data? Should companies that have created massive value from data be forced to share with the market? What do we do when everyone's daily tasks are taken over by artificial intelligence?Today, Chris talks with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, one of the world's leading experts on Big Data and the impact is has on all of us. We define Big Data, discuss what it allows us to do and how it drives the creation (and concentration) of value, and how we might consider regulating it to encourage better, safer, and more thoughtful use. Chris also relates how he learned about the importance of data, and makes you think again before you click the "Buy Now" button. A selection of Viktor's work:Book: Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big DataBook: Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital AgeArticle: The Internet is RottingArticle: How Facebook Can Share its way Out of its Data ProblemArticle: Your High School Transcript Can Haunt You ForeverAdditional stuff:Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Markus WolfCheck us out!Facebook: MondaypodLinkedIn: MondaypodTwitter: @Mondaypod1IG: @Mondaypod
Chris sits down today with Safi Bahcall--physicist, biotech entrepreneur and author of the recent book: "Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries."We talk about his career and using curiosity to check in with his direction, and we dive in to his recent book and talk about incentivizing innovation, making sure that both the artists and the soldiers feel equally loved, and why talking about "disruption" is for historians. Nurture the crazy ideas, and you too might just change the world. Chris also talks about giving in to the absurdity of the world of business. Pick up a copy of Loonshots. Read "Sisyphus Smiled: How to Embrace the Absurdity of Business"Check us out!Facebook: MondaypodLinkedIn: MondaypodTwitter: @Mondaypod1IG: @Mondaypod
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