Dan Schawbel: The Art of Talent Stacking | E48

#48: The Art of Talent Stacking with Dan Schawbel

Join the millions of students already learning on Skillshare and get two months free when you sign up at skillshare.com/yap Build your talent stack to gain a significant competitive advantage and accelerate your career! You don’t need to be one of the best at something in order to succeed, because with talent stacking you can layer on skills – at various degrees of expertise – and use them together to stand out. This week Hala interviews Dan Schawbel, a researcher and the author of 3 bestselling career books: Back to Human, Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. Dan also hosts the 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel podcast, where he interviews some of the most successful humans in the world like Richard Branson, Condoleezza Rice, Gary Vanyerchuck and more.

#48: The Art of Talent Stacking with Dan Schawbel

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[00:00:21] You're listening to YAP, Young And Profiting Podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit. I'm your host, Hala Taha. And today I have Dan Schawbel the show. Dan is a researcher and the author of three best-selling career books Back to Human, Promote Yourself and Me 2.0 out he's also a fellow podcaster and host the 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel podcast, where he interviews some of the most successful humans in the world like, Richard Britton, Condoleezza Rice, Gary Vanyerchuck, and more in addition, Dan has generated over 15 million views on articles written for publications like Forbes, Fortune and Time.

[00:00:57] And he's been recognized on several lists, [00:01:00] including Inc. Magazine's, 30 Under 30 and Business Insider's 40 under 40. And this episode, you'll learn how Dan stood out early in the years of his career.

[00:01:08] Why technology is breeding the loneliness epidemic and why work-life balance. It's just a myth.

[00:01:15] Hey Dan, welcome to Young And Profiting Podcast.

[00:01:18] Dan Schawbel: So happy to be here with you Hala.

[00:01:20] Hala Taha: So to introduce you to my listeners, you are a millennial gen Y and feature work expert. You might be the youngest best-selling author I've ever interviewed.

[00:01:30] You have three bestselling books to be exact. You have your own podcast, and you've interviewed some of the world's most successful people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Warren Buffett will I am just to name a few. You've written thousands of articles for Forbes, Time, HBR and more, and you've won several accolades for all the things you've achieved at such a young age, such as Forbes Magazine's 30 under 30 and Business Insider's 40 under 40. Is there any [00:02:00] big accomplishments you want to mention that I may have missed?

[00:02:03] Dan Schawbel: The biggest accomplishment from the work I've done over the past seven years? 51 research studies surveying over 1.3 million people in 25 countries. I think that to me is a big accomplishment because I didn't really have a research background before 2012.

[00:02:23] I got like a B in marketing research and college. And so I had to figure all that. And over the course of doing all of this research, I've been able to link different findings together to come up with larger conclusions. And the art of doing has been my greatest compass to figuring out what I do next and what I take action on.

[00:02:45] So I think that when people try and figure out, what do they want to do for their career? What they're passionate about, the art of actually doing something or many things will help guide him. And so I think that just [00:03:00] doing one research project, I didn't know I would enjoy it, but then I really enjoyed it.

[00:03:04] So I said, okay, I'm going to make a career out of it. And the first several studies I didn't even get paid for. And now this has become, the thing I get paid the most. And the thing I enjoy the most, I liked the speaking. I like the books and everything, but the core of what I do has become the research.

[00:03:21] And I think that's the thing I'm most proud of. And it's a thing that has made me reflect the most on that question that everyone asks is how do I find my passion? And it really comes down to action is experience. You learn through experience and no book is going to help you get there.

[00:03:37] Actually. Doing one thing or many things and having these experiences and connecting with people, that's, what's going to put you in the right direction and there's no replacing experience. You can't buy experience, you can't replace experience. There's no trading of experience. You get the experience and then that helps you decide what to do.

[00:03:58] Hala Taha: Totally. I'm totally on the [00:04:00] same page. And I definitely have some questions on experience and talent stacking that I want to get into. And I think that your background on research is what makes you such a compelling author? A lot of authors, they compile things from other people, but as I was reading your latest book, I realized that wow, he does a lot of his own research and it makes your book that much more powerful. So I'm sure that's why you've accomplished so much in so little time.

[00:04:25] Dan Schawbel: Yeah. I'll tell you about the research. This is really interesting is I got really into research originally in my early twenties because I was blogging. I was really into blogging in 2006, 2007, and I was putting out career advice.

[00:04:39] And I think. Like I could help people who are my age or younger, get internships, learn how to network at a job after they graduated. Because I had those experiences and I learned a creative way of building my personal brand and back then, or self marketing as a way to stand out, I'd bring a CD, a portfolio to a job interview and that would make me stand out.

[00:04:57] So little things like that really helped [00:05:00] me. And yet I got so much criticism because there's a lot of age-ism for you. People who are older and people who are younger. And so people are like, oh, who are you to talk about all of these ways to achieve career success? You're so young. You don't know anything, you haven't experienced anything.

[00:05:18] And so that's when I said, okay, what do I do? And I started citing third-party research because I wasn't doing my own research at that point. And I looked and viewed research as a shield against age-ism. And then in 2012, As I had the opportunity to do proprietary research with another company. And that was my entry into realizing, okay, not only is this research helpful for me, but now.

[00:05:46] I compare it to being an archeologist. I can find the next dinosaur bone. So like in a sense, what I've done over the past seven years with proprietary research that I've led is I've been finding a lot of dinosaur bones, right? So [00:06:00] it's even more exciting to me. So I was very early into the burnout crisis.

[00:06:05] So over a year ago, I put out a study with a company called Kronos and we discovered that there's a huge burnout crisis. Globally. And that's been a really big deal. When I wrote an article about it, Bernie Sanders shared it and it was viewed millions of times. I was very early into the four day workweek trend.

[00:06:26] And as people are finding out now, like with Microsoft, Japan testing a four day workweek and increasing productivity of their workforce and not being a huge in the media. All of them are at least the biggest outlets cited. The research study I did over a year ago. So it's doing my own research has given me a way of standing out, differentiating, figuring out what the trends are.

[00:06:49] And then that ends up leading to books, presentations, and everything else. So the research I see as the core, because it orchestrates everything else I do.

[00:06:57] Hala Taha: Yeah, so interesting and such a unique career [00:07:00] path. So how old are you exactly now?

[00:07:03] Dan Schawbel: 36.

[00:07:04] Hala Taha: Cool. So still super young, so much that you've accomplished.

[00:07:07] Let's take it all the way back to your childhood. When I was doing your research, at Young And Profiting, I have a whole research team and we tend to. Study our guests. I found out that you were bullied a lot growing up. You've told stories about teachers locking you in a closet. Your peers used to put you in a locker.

[00:07:25] You were known as a poorly behaved child used to always get in trouble. And in the past you've said, no one comes out of nowhere. You only see their success, not their struggle. So I don't think anybody would have guessed that you would turn out to be this incredible adult that you are. You've got such a great image reputation.

[00:07:45] So tell us about the struggle that you had before all the success. What was it like growing up for you?

[00:07:50] Dan Schawbel: Yeah, when I was in kindergarten and even first and second grade, I was in trouble every day. And sometimes when someone says that you think, oh, you must be exaggerating. [00:08:00] But literally, like I remember being on the principal bench.

[00:08:04] Every single day, I was just sitting there. There was no cell phones. I wasn't, I couldn't play games on the principal's bench back then. And I remember the principal had a three legged goat, so that's like a very fond memory because what principal has a three legged goat. It's just so random. So I was always in trouble.

[00:08:20] It wasn't because I was a bad person. It was because of. I had anxiety issues, no one called it anxiety back then. And I was just could not control myself. So it was all over the place. And that's how you get in trouble, especially back then. And it created confusion, right? Like one group of people were like, oh, he's weak because you can't control himself.

[00:08:40] So we'll pick on him. And the other group feared me and wouldn't let me, go over their kid's house and go over their house because I was always in. So like in terms of perception, it really hurt me back then. And then I sought help. And my mom orchestrated this when I was in, I think, believe it was third grade and [00:09:00] that really helped me, that therapy really got me out of it, but yeah, always picked on and I was really bullied for, in the sense I've always been bullied, I've had cyber bullying for the past many years but back then, there wasn't cyber bullying. I had to, as you said, I was in middle school. I was put in a locker and my teacher put me in a closet in elementary school. Like things that, you tell people in their shock with, especially current generations.

[00:09:30] For teachers to do anything like that they would never fly. But honestly my parents generation, they would slap and spunk students in school. So I think in a sense, we've come a long way, but yeah, it was an interesting childhood where I was somewhat privileged. My family wasn't struggling.

[00:09:48] To make ends meet, but psychologically I was in pain, not knowing that I was in pain and then people not seeing that, they're just seeing my behavior, there's something about mental health where it's like the [00:10:00] silent killer.

[00:10:01] Hala Taha: Totally. And so how did you take these negative experiences and use them to fuel yourself and propel yourself into something great?

[00:10:12] Dan Schawbel: I think it was a great motivator. And if people beat down your self esteem for so many years, you just need to find an outlet to reclaim the self-esteem. And for all of my twenties, it was the need for validation. So a lot of that recognition that you have talked about is because of this need and desire to get recognition, to validate me as a person in order to prove other people.

[00:10:40] And a lot of people fall into this, right? A lot of people who have come out being bullied, they become very big success stories because they're trying to find a way to prove to themselves that they're worthy. And so I had to go through all of my twenties to do that. And so once I stepped into my thirties, I moved away from that.

[00:10:59] [00:11:00] If I don't win another award anymore, like I don't, I'm more detached from a lot of those things now, which has been much healthier. But I needed all of my twenties to counter my whole childhood. That's how much bullying I put up with it. I needed a decade of my life to counter it. And I only realized that now.

[00:11:19] Like it's taken me years to reflect. I didn't even know. Come to the conclusion that I suffered from anxiety, even though it might've been obvious more than like a year ago.

[00:11:28] Hala Taha: Yeah. And it just goes to show how something negative can actually turn into a positive and you can use, any struggle that you've been through to push you.

[00:11:39] To accomplish things. I'm the same way. I always do my best when I have something to prove when I'm trying to prove to someone else that I can do something, all my successes come off the heels of rejection many times, so I can totally relate. Let's talk about your career journey. You started out at [00:12:00] EMC, which is a computer company, correct?

[00:12:02] Dan Schawbel: Storage services solutions.

[00:12:04] Yeah. And they own VMware. Dell owns them now. They bought them. Billions of dollars several years ago. So big company, when I was working for them, it was about 42,000 employees globally.

[00:12:15] Hala Taha: So tell us about this experience at your first job, because I think you played it quite uniquely.

[00:12:20] Yeah.

[00:12:20] Dan Schawbel: Getting the job was very unique.

[00:12:23] I interviewed with 15 people for three positions over eight months. And during the last set of interviews, this guy, I think his name is David. We sat down. He looked at my resume, his eyes glanced. And they stopped at Reebok. And this was like a big defining moment for me, because I had gotten almost no experience at Reebok.

[00:12:46] I was an intern at Reebok where I got course credit, $0 and Adidas bought them that summer. I reported to a director originally, I was a manager, but he moved to a different group and I didn't learn anything. I didn't really do anything to be

[00:13:00] honest. And yet his eyes looked at Reebok and disregarded the great experiences I had at other companies.

[00:13:07] And to me, that moment said, wow, brands are important. I need to care about brands. I need to align myself with brands and brands has to be a huge part of my future. That was huge for me. And so a lot of what you've seen over the course of my career. Focused on brands, every sentence of my bio, anytime they make a decision of who to partner with, everything revolves around brands.

[00:13:30] Brands are important. They matter brands, open doors, right? And through associating yourself with brands, you become more credible. For instance, here's the logic. If you don't know me, he might not want to partner or do business with me or hire me. If you see that I'm aligned to a brand, you recognize through that brand association, you're more likely to want to connect with me and trust me.

[00:13:54] And so basically I think a career or a business is built on the [00:14:00] elimination of risk. So if you see brands on my resume, I have now eliminated, perceived risk in your eyes. So you're more likely to take a chance on me, right? So your goal is how do I eliminate as much risk from people working with me throughout my career as possible?

[00:14:15] So I'm more likely to get opportunities because that's really what all of this comes down to. If you want to start a business, eliminate risk by generating revenue, getting customers, having a partnership with a brand that people are familiar. You're more likely to get an investment. You're more likely to grow once you have that because you've eliminated risks.

[00:14:33] So I think that, a lot of people are talking about growth and everything else, but I think, and what I believe through my whole career is the most successful careers in businesses are built by eliminating as much risk as possible.

[00:14:47] Hala Taha: That's super, super interesting. You mentioned a lot of really fascinating things.

[00:14:52] Something that you've said in the past is that you should create your own career instead of letting your company do it for you. [00:15:00] So tell us about how you navigated your career within that company and the things you did to stand out at EMC.

[00:15:06] Dan Schawbel: Okay. The first thing I did to stand up. And my first role at the company in the marketing department was the head of marketing, said everyone needs to create their own marketing plans.

[00:15:17] So I had created marketing plans before I started work at the company. I did it for Lycos. I did it for a small promotional company around where I lived and. I said, okay, I'm going to do everyone's marketing plan. And am I going to lose a lot of work? And I think it was like 30 to 50 pages per plan and per group.

[00:15:34] And I just did everyone's marketing plan. And in the moment I knew this was going to contribute value and be a good thing. And I enjoyed doing it. Really. What I was doing was creating job security and a stronger network and support system in the company. You're not going to fire the cheap employee that all this additional work, and making people's lives better within your department like that person's protected that person, [00:16:00] as long as the teammates are nice, people is going to be protected and supported within the organization.

[00:16:05] So I look back and I was like, that was really smart. The other thing I did as part of the first job into the second job at the company was, I became a Six Sigma green belt.

[00:16:16] Now, the reason why this was a strategic move is because GE created six Sigma was the first company to adopt it. And EMC was like, okay, we like what GE is doing. We're going to adopt it as well. We're going to teach courses on being a green belt, black belt in Six Sigma is about process improvement when they teach you a formulaic way of doing that.

[00:16:35] And so I raised my hand like, because they EMC wanted every department. Green belts and black belts. So I was like, okay, I'll be at Green belt at 20, I don't know, three years old. And it was a tough process, a lot of training. And I actually did a black belt project for my green belt. So a black belt project is something that happens more cross-functionally it's much more complex and time consuming.

[00:16:58] And I didn't even know, it just blew [00:17:00] up to be a bigger project. And through that project, I was able connect with people outside my group formed stronger relationships and represent the team and department better. Even though I was the youngest person in the department. Now I was fulfilling something that the company wanted and made the senior director of marketing look good as a result.

[00:17:19] So that was another smart thing. And. And then the smartest thing I did without really knowing the implications was outside of work on nights and weekends, I spent, God knows how many, let's say at least 50 hours outside of a 50 hour full-time job on building my personal brand back then I called it self-marketing.

[00:17:39] So 12 blog posts a week posting on social networks, just really getting myself out there. And then fast company profiled me six months in and EMC got wind of it and hired me to be the first social media person in the company's history. And one of the first ever truly corporate social media [00:18:00] people back in 2007.

[00:18:01] Hala Taha: Wow.

[00:18:02] Dan Schawbel: And then basically that was all inspired by an article written by Tom Peters, 10 years before called the brand called You, which is the reason why Fast Company magazine exists today. It was on the cover of the brand called You. And in that article, A lot of people were empowered by reading the article.

[00:18:19] It was one part of it that really called out to me that was fascinating was it said something like, you have to be the chief marketing officer for the brain called you, build me Inc. And then it went on to say the smartest people within an organization would create their own unique roles.

[00:18:34] And what happened to me intentionally unintentionally was I was able to create my own unique role. I literally wrote a job description as a 23 or 24 year old within a fortune 200 company. I was able to do that. And when that happened, I felt like I fulfilled my destiny and I was so inspired by those events occurring.

[00:18:57] That's what influenced me to write Me 2.0, which is my [00:19:00] first book that. April, 2009.

[00:19:03] Hala Taha: Very cool. These are awesome. Awesome tips for anybody looking to climb the corporate ladder. I especially love your point about building a personal brand on the side. When you're in a corporate company, if you have social media weight of any store, it really helps.

[00:19:20] Like for example, I'm probably the most popular person in my whole company on LinkedIn and all the executives know me because of it. And it really helps you stand out and helps you become an expert. In another way, when people look to you towards like digital advice and things like that.

[00:19:36] Dan Schawbel: There's a big drawback though, and this is one of the things I didn't anticipate when I had this role.

[00:19:41] So I was managing at EMC on Facebook, all the original social accounts. But at the same time, what I would do is I would schedule tweets for instance, on my personal account throughout the day, because I wanted to maintain a presence, even though I couldn't really use my personal account at work, but the problem was other [00:20:00] employees perspective.

[00:20:01] Other employees. Oh, my God. Why is Dan tweeting all this amount? And he should be doing work. And so there was a level of jealousy because I had this prominent role within the company, even though I was young and people were trying to sabotage me internally.

[00:20:13] Hala Taha: Yes. I faced that at first and then I think people realize that there's things called automation.

[00:20:21] There's things called interns and it died down, but I agree it can be a challenge and you definitely have to have a company that has a forward-thinking culture and is supportive. So let's go back to what you had mentioned in the beginning of our conversation about all the experiences that you've had.

[00:20:38] You say a career is no longer a race up the ladder. It's a collection of experiences and those who have experienced the most have a competitive, advantage compared to those who remain stagnant. So how often do you think that we should be changing up our careers?

[00:20:54] Dan Schawbel: Wow. People have three to six careers in their lifetime and about 12 jobs between 18 and [00:21:00] 45 years old.

[00:21:00] So either you force the change or change happens to you, it's forced down your throat. So I think that you need to make a decision, do it, you keep doing what you're doing, or do you make changes in how you do your work or who you serve or the skillset you have. And I think that now more than ever before the lifespan, if they learn scale is like four to five years.

[00:21:23] So more regularly we have to continue to learn and upscale and practice lifelong learning. And I think that if you shut yourself off to learning something new or hearing someone's ideas and thoughts or reading, you're making a huge mistake and. I've done a lot of work on upskilling over the past few years on artificial intelligence and all these things.

[00:21:45] And what everything is telling me is being more human on a year to year basis is going to be more valuable than hard skills because hard skills will continue to be automated, thus driving the demand for the soft skills to be [00:22:00] able to communicate and function as people.

[00:22:02] So the answer to artificial intelligence is humanity and there's no question that humans are going to be working with humans and humans are going to be working with robots in the future. And so understanding artificial intelligence, understanding all these new technologies is valuable because you're going to have to man them, you're going to have to work together with the machines.

[00:22:23] The machines are going to be doing the stuff, the technical work that used to do. And so it will free you up time to do things that are high impact. And those things are really driven by your soft slash human skills. So that's my big conclusion and to go even further than that, my biggest conclusion of the year is that the same technology that has isolated, younger generations hurting their soft skills.

[00:22:49] It's driving the demand for those same soft skills by automating hard slash technical skills at the same time. So if you're more isolated growing up, [00:23:00] because you're always using this technology, you not even leaving your home, you'd rather text than actually have a face-to-face conversation.

[00:23:06] That's hurting your soft skills. You're not prepared for the future where it's only going to be about soft skills. And I've made that conclusion through tons of researchers. I did a whole article on LinkedIn about it, and I think that's a big concern.

[00:23:20] Hala Taha: Yeah. That is really interesting. We'll definitely get into technology and isolation and how those interplay, I want to mention just really quick.

[00:23:28] I want to talk about talent stacking. So a lot of the writing that I read in your Back to Human reminded me of something that Dilbert cartoon is Scott Adams discussed in episode number 38. And he talks about town stacking, where you basically just take different skills from your various experiences and you can merge them into something new.

[00:23:48] So for him, he was like a decent drawer, a good writer and had enterprise corporate experience. And then he just merged those skills together and became like, the most famous cartoonist in the world. So I want to know. [00:24:00] Do you think your talent stack is like, what skills did you put together to become the best-selling author?

[00:24:06] That you are.

[00:24:07] Dan Schawbel: Very smart to ask this question? In fact, when you mentioned it earlier, I'm like, I hope she brings this up again, because the biggest difference between how I view myself and my career when I was younger versus now, is that back in the day, when I was focused on personal branding, my conclusion was you have to be the best at what you do for a specific.

[00:24:27] Take a niche and own it. That was how I thought I had built my career. Now in hindsight, what I actually did was create a talent stack. I was successful. I stood out because of a lot of different skills that when combined gave me differentiation and competitive advantage. And so I think it's this combination of marketing research, communication through writing through presentations,etcetera, with branding.

[00:24:56] With social media skills, what the ability to network all of this [00:25:00] combined has made me very unique in the marketplace. And what I did was I took a scale or a set of skills that were scarce in HR and brought them to HR. So a lot of the skills I have are very common in the marketing world. But not common in the HR world so I could have, and I had a choice to stay in the marketing world.

[00:25:24] I could have been, some sort of marketing guru or worked as a CMO at a company, but because I took those skills. And brought them into HR. I had a skill set that was very rare in HR. So I was able to stand out and grow faster.

[00:25:39] Hala Taha: See, I just think this is such an important lesson. Everybody thinks they have to be the best at everything.

[00:25:43] And it's a common theme that I'm just realizing as I interview all these super smart, successful people, they're not the best at what they do. They're really good at multiple things. They merge it together and create their own lane and become very successful. And I saw that in you. So that's.

[00:25:58] Dan Schawbel: I don't think I'm the best at [00:26:00] anything.

[00:26:02] But I'm not the best. I'm not the best at what I do. It's the collection of all those skills together, serving an industry where those skills collectively are rare that made me stand out and shine..

[00:26:13] Hala Taha: Exactly. Yeah. All right. Cool. So in your latest book, Back to Human, if we want to just stick on skills for a moment, the third chapter of your book is called practice, shared learning, and you explain the greatest challenge for professionals today is staying relevant.

[00:26:28] Like we just discussed the average relevancy of a learned skill is just five years. These days. It's obviously clear that we need to continually upscale as we approach 2020. Could you just explain to us what this chaired learning concept is?

[00:26:45] Dan Schawbel: This ended up being the most popular chapter in the book, even though I think it's the most simple.

[00:26:50] One to understand. It's like we are better together is really what it comes down to. And so the idea is that in order to keep up with all the changes that are happening more [00:27:00] and more frequently in our industry, in our economy, in our world, we have to rely on each other and learn and develop through conversations and supporting each other.

[00:27:09] If we want to succeed in stayed relevant in our jobs. And so the biggest challenge is staying relevant because things are moving fast. Technology doesn't care about our feelings, the economy. We doesn't care about our feelings, but we care about our feelings. And so we need to take ownership and realize that since there's so much information being published on such a regular basis, we have to rely on each other.

[00:27:31] The arbiters of our own industries and professions. So for instance, if you're on a team with four other people, he only have so much time to be able to read or to have the right skills of the things that you need to know in that instance or in that year or five years. But the people around you are also trying to achieve something similar.

[00:27:50] So if you help each other, if you practice this whole thing, When I learn, I share that's the mantra and the chapter. Then you can all rise up. You can stay relevant [00:28:00] together. Just talking to a lot of my friends, it is really about the peer network. The people who are most going to serve you with the people who are around your age, who have similar goals, even if they leave your team or organization, those are really the people that you will count on, hopefully in the future.

[00:28:17] And I think, especially in today's world. There's only 3.5 degrees of separation. Facebook did a whole study on this. And so the world is really small and you want to establish good relationships. And one of the easiest ways to establish relationships is just by sharing an article. Literally, like I keep in touch with some of the more successful people by just thinking of them when I read an article and sharing the article with them.

[00:28:40] So I'll give you an example. I'll read an article in the New York Times about, people. Technology habits. And I'll share it with Cal Newport because Cal and I both wrote articles that are similar and different about our overuse and misuse of technology. And he's going at it from a minimalistic approach.

[00:28:56] Whereas I'm more of a, use technology as the driver [00:29:00] to human relationships approach, but it's similar. So I'm, I know he's into that topic because he wrote a book. And so I think that it's these small little acts of sharing that add up that keep you in touch with people. And then that build the relationships.

[00:29:15] Relationships are built on trust. But they're also built on giving and sharing without asking for things. So if you start sharing, if you're a leader within an organization and you're just sharing and trying to help your team, you're starting to create a culture where it's okay to share, the leaders of the past with a hoarders of information, the more information you knew that other people did it, the more powerful you would become.

[00:29:37] Now, that's not the case. It's actually the opposite. The more you share, the more powerful you become.

[00:29:42] Hala Taha: Totally. I totally agree. So you had some gems in there about networking, great advice for promoting engagement in the workplace and things like that. I think it's a great time to just pause and take a short commercial break.

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[00:31:15] All right. So aside from wanting to grow your skillset and gain new experiences, there are other trends at play when it comes to people moving their jobs around more frequently these days, can you speak to some of the reasons why people are less loyal to their companies compared to previously?

[00:31:33] Dan Schawbel: It's an interesting one because it's not true. It's just what the media wants you to believe. Yeah. When Deloitte did a whole survey. Interviewing millennials like thousands of millennials. And they found that young people actually prioritize job security. So I think that's something that's different.

[00:31:51] And then it's always been the case that the younger you are, the more likely you are to job hop. Think about it. When you're young, you can afford to job hop, you have [00:32:00] fewer responsibilities. You're also trying to figure yourself out. You might like this job. You might not, you haven't had a lot of experiences yet.

[00:32:06] You're less set in your way. And then as you get older, you might get married. You might have kids, you might become more set in what you want to do. And so you're less likely to job hop and that's always been the case throughout time. And I have, I used to write about how like, people are job hoppers and everything, but my new conclusion based on all this new research and several studies between Deloitte and Pew and Whatnot, that show that we aren't job hopping more.

[00:32:33] As we get older we're job hopping less, and that's always been the case. So I think that the thing that will make employees stay at accompany the most is. Workplace where people feel like they belong, where they have a sense of purpose and feel happiness. So I think it's that combination that makes people want to stay longer.

[00:32:58] We just did a study on gen Z is [00:33:00] thousands of gen Zs and in many countries around the world. And it's fascinating. It's always been about pay for. If you don't pay people fairly, nothing matters. They won't stay at your company. They won't want to work at your company. You have no chance with them, right?

[00:33:13] You won't be able to compete for top talent. It's not going to happen. But once you get past that, it is. Extracting meaning from your job, making an impact, which you probably wouldn't have seen 10, 20 years ago. This is now part of our culture because we were working so many hours that work has become such a big part of our identity, especially in big cities, as living here.

[00:33:34] And as a result of. It's all about storytelling. If you go out with someone, you want to be able to tell a good story, you want to be enthused about your job. You want to say its job is impacting people in some way, because it makes you feel more connected. It makes you feel better about yourself.

[00:33:50] And everything's about storytelling. And I think that one of the issues that's gone wrong in our society is that we've lost track of. What's most [00:34:00] important, which is that if we solve for human needs in the workplace, we also saw for our professional needs. And the problem is that we're so focused on driving up productivity at all costs that we've forgot that the real cost is our humanity is our health and happiness.

[00:34:20] And when you overlook those long-term needs. Those needs and our Maslow's hierarchy of needs. You end up getting somebody who is less productive, who's less healthy. And two complaints about your organization on glass door when they quit. And that ends up costing you more money to replace that worker.

[00:34:41] Hala Taha: Yeah.

[00:34:42] Dan Schawbel: We are focusing on the wrong things in the workplace and I, my hope with back to human and my future work is to reinstill the important values. Areas that we need to focus on in the workplace, because if we don't get in solve for human needs first, nothing else is really going to matter.[00:35:00]

[00:35:00] Hala Taha: Totally. So let's talk about fulfillment. I know you wrote a whole chapter about it in your book, and you're alluding to it. Now tell us about why fulfillment is so important when you're trying to drive employee engagement.

[00:35:13] Dan Schawbel: It looks at the full picture. It's actually the word that's getting tossed around a lot more in organizations now because it's whole right.

[00:35:20] It's personal and professional. And since our personal and professional lives are so intertwined, I believe in work-life integration. We have to think of fulfillment across the board. And we spend a third of our lives working a third of our lives, not working in a third of our lives, sleeping. So if we have a bad experience at work, it's going to hurt our personal lives.

[00:35:41] If we are personalized, there's a disaster, that's going to affect our work. And that's why, I believe that people want to bring their full selves into the workplace. They don't want to be John or Diane, the worker, and then John or Diane, the parent, they just want to be that. And that's why it's important for [00:36:00] leaders to understand what makes people fulfilled, be fulfilled themselves and then inspire the best in other people while serving their needs.

[00:36:09] And that will only become more important because it's really about this whole holistic view of someone's employee experience in life, and you want them to go home after a work day and say all these great things about their job and their manager and their company. Again, it's all about storytelling.

[00:36:28] The reason why, a lot of things happen in our society and why people make decisions is for the story. I believe that even some people who sell their companies are accepted. Some of it is for the story. I just got a job at Google. That story is interesting to people it's captivating, right?

[00:36:45] Like for you working at Disney, you just have to say Disney plus and people are immediately interested. You don't even have to say what you do. You could be an intern there and they're interested anyways, a curiosity because of excitement because of what the brand means. [00:37:00] Again, that goes back to what I was saying about how important and powerful branding is.

[00:37:04] But I think that the storytelling aspect of our work lives is very powerful and you want to, support and lead a culture where people are telling positive stories about it, because that is a recruiting tool. That's a retention tool and it's just the right thing to do.

[00:37:23] Hala Taha: Yeah. It's so eye-opening, you never think of it in terms of stories, but when you say it, it's so true, we literally find fulfillment in the fact that people respect the brands that we work for.

[00:37:34] And it does make a good story. I love that. Let's talk about work-life integration. You briefly mentioned it from my understanding. You believe that work-life balance is must. Yes. Now that the days of unplugging while you're home are over and you argue that work-life integration is a more appropriate concept as companies expect you to work from home and things like that, or work off hours, I should say.

[00:37:57] So could you tell us more about [00:38:00] this work-life integration concept and perhaps provide some tips on how we can facilitate a better work-life integration? In our days.

[00:38:07] Dan Schawbel: Stability is probably the biggest or one of the biggest words and employee benefits that have been talked about since I started my whole career. And it all started when I was working at EMC and I interviewed.

[00:38:24] The head of HR for a podcast. So this is a long time ago. It wasn't called podcasts back then for a video snippet or whatnot. And he said something that, still sticks with me. He said, if we expect our workforce to do work outside of the office, then we have to accept and also accept that they're doing personal things at work.

[00:38:46] And that's stuck with me. I'm like, There's no nine to five workday, then it's just, you're just doing work, and it's more integrated. And then I interviewed Richard Branson three years ago and I asked him about this and he said something [00:39:00] like, if you have a lot of friends outside of work, you should have an equal amount of friends at work.

[00:39:03] If you have a lot of flexibility outside of work, you should have the most, the same amount of flexibility at work. And so basically there's no difference between work at the office or outside the office. It's just work and, we've noticed we've gone to this whole nine to five workday paradigm to, more flexible work week.

[00:39:21] And work-life integration is part of this. And the solution that I pose in the book is to really come to terms with what matters to you and what are your priorities, right? So for instance, choose three goals you have in a certain week personally and professionally, and then look at your calendar and make sure.

[00:39:39] Putting in time for all of those six goals or just blending your personal professional life together, such that let's say every Monday morning, you meet with a new friend for coffee, but then between Monday and Tuesday, you have to accomplish one work. And then your calendar should reflect the [00:40:00] goals you have in a given week.

[00:40:01] So everyone says I live and die by my calendar. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't exist. And as a result, we need to inject more of our personal lives in our calendar, because then it fully reflects who we are and what we prioritize in our life. And so it really is that simple. It is for instance, in my calendar, I have all these different events.

[00:40:20] I want to go to they're in my calendar. Some are personal events, some are professional events. Others are meeting people for coffee or dinner or doing certain projects with certain deadlines. So it's really owning your calendar and making sure it reflects everything makes you completely fulfilled. And it's on you to do that.

[00:40:41] You can't outsource that you have to, make sure that it reflects. Who you are as a person and as a worker.

[00:40:49] Hala Taha: Yeah. Totally, and I think that with work, if you're out of forward-thinking company, as long as you get your work done and you're able to [00:41:00] prioritize well and fit everything in you can, for example, I'm here doing this interview on my lunch hour.

[00:41:05] But I plan to stay at the office till 7:00 PM tonight, so it's it's a balance and knowing how to accomplish all your key goals, in my opinion. Let's talk about the subtitle of your book. I thought it was really interesting. The book is called Back to Human. The subtitle is How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation.

[00:41:24] And I know this is a really hot topic isolation at work, many workers today feel isolated from their colleagues, their organizations, and their leaders. So can you shed some light about the loneliness epidemic that we're facing in the workplace and what you believe to be the root causes of that?

[00:41:41] Dan Schawbel: Yeah. I think we live in a very lonely society now, people are spending a lot of time on their phone.

[00:41:49] And then the more time you spent on your phone, the less time you're spending, looking, or talking to a person, in real life. Through a phone call, so it appears that we're more connected, right? That you [00:42:00] can reach out to people in different countries that you couldn't have 20 years ago, but at the same time, because we're not getting the human interaction, we so crave and desire, we feel more isolated.

[00:42:11] And even in New York city, you could be around so many people, but no one at the same time, because people are physically there, but not mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Loneliness is pretty deadly, right? It's not something that people are open to talk about yet. It affects people at an alarming rate, especially men.

[00:42:29] And that's what we found. And if you think about today's world of work, it's more decentralized than ever before. People are working from all different areas. And that's a good thing. People love flexibility. I call it the light side of flexibility. The light side of flexibility is the promise through technology that you can work when, where, and how you want.

[00:42:47] But Back to Human reveals, the dark side is that if you work remote, you are lonelier, you feel more isolated and the big finding was that if you work remote, you're [00:43:00] much less likely to say you want a long-term career with your company. So it impacts team and organizational commitment. If you don't see and hear from someone for a long enough period of time, you're checked out and you move on.

[00:43:11] So it's interesting how it's like this duality. It's it's very beneficial. It's actually, when I interviewed a hundred top young leaders for the book, they call it a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's given us an incredible. But at the other hand, it's been, pretty harmful without us even realizing how harmful it is.

[00:43:26] And the technology companies are purposely, grading these devices and these applications with addiction in mind, it's their business model where the product. And we don't realize it, right? Because we're addicted. It's if you smoke cigarettes or do cocaine or you're gambling all the time, you're not thinking about it.

[00:43:42] That's harmful maybe, but you're doing it. These are addicted and it's part of your daily life. And then it becomes the norm. And for many of us, or most of us, it is the normal of using technology. And so it's fascinating because we need these technology for email and to message people in order to [00:44:00] conduct business, or, a lot of what you've done to build your personal brand on LinkedIn.

[00:44:04] If you didn't use a phone, if you didn't have a computer, like you wouldn't be able to compete on that level, but at the same time, you could fall into this trap of always using it and thus. Human needs are not met because of that. So even if it accelerates your career inside, you're going to feel very empty in that it'll hurt your whole life, which will then affect your ability to create good work.

[00:44:26] Hala Taha: Yeah. So talk to us about some of the stats when it comes to loneliness. I want my listeners to really understand how big of a problem this is. And maybe even perhaps the cost of loneliness.

[00:44:38] Dan Schawbel: Yeah. In America, Sydney did a study. 20,000 adults and found that half are lonely and 40% lack meaningful relationships in the UK 9 million people are lonely, 200,000 adults. Haven't spoken to her close friend or relative in the past month, they actually have a minister of loneliness, Mims Davies to try and solve the problems. So it's huge. There America is not [00:45:00] doing as good of a job, but we should because it's such a big problem here.

[00:45:05] And it costs the us about $7 billion. Because it's really a productivity hit. And if you're feeling lonely, your productivity is going to sink. You're going to take more sick days. And then that affects the organization's bottom line. And thus it affects the whole economy.

[00:45:20] Hala Taha: Yeah. So you just mentioned that sometimes we abuse technology can make us feel isolated.

[00:45:28] Can you talk about the misuse of technology in the workplace? I heard you mentioned before that one face-to-face conversation is more successful and effective than 34 back and forth emails that was like outrageous to me. Do you have any other examples of the misuse of technology?

[00:45:44] Dan Schawbel: Yeah. So we tap, touch or swipe our phone over 2,600 times a day.

[00:45:49] We look at our phone every 12 minutes, we set an average of five texts during a meeting. So we're always using it and overusing it and misusing it. And what you just said, it's is this [00:46:00] really effective? And the research says, no, the research says that if we're constantly using it, our message isn't getting across.

[00:46:07] If you have to send 34 emails back and forth, and it's not as successful as a face-to-face conversation, That shows you that the emails are actually not effective because you have to send so many emails to get the same result as one conversation. So I think that you see all these leaders and their teams in meetings, looking at their cell phones.

[00:46:26] This is very common. And if you're not present, then you're not showing respect to people who are speaking during a meeting. You're distracted, meaning is a longer. You just don't have the same outcome as teams that are not using technology during meetings are attentive or brainstorming, have a clear goal.

[00:46:47] And therefore we'll get a better result because they're maybe spending less time, but that time they're fully functional, they're attentive. They're paying attention and there working together to get to know [00:47:00] each other better and just solve problems.

[00:47:02] Hala Taha: Yeah. I can totally relate to that. I don't know how many meetings I've been in where, everybody's doing other work, not paying attention and multiple companies that I've been at it's just so interesting.

[00:47:13] What are some of the ways where we can assess how digitally distracted we are?

[00:47:18] Dan Schawbel: There's an assessment in the book, but I think overall, a lot of it has to do with just being honest with yourself, right? The more self-awareness you have, the more you think about applications to the different tools you're using and how to be smarter about when, where and how you're using them.

[00:47:33] I think that can be really effective. And what I try and preach in the book, which is a little bit different than what other people are, is use technology as a bridge to human connection. Don't let it be a barrier between you and the relationships you want to craft and develop. So I think it can be very powerful.

[00:47:50] I've interviewed Brian Grazer who wrote face to face. He's like a Hollywood superstar director. And he basically said use technology to discover people and learn about [00:48:00] them so that you can forge deeper connections with the right people in person. And I so believe that, I think it's almost obvious, but it needs to be said.

[00:48:08] And for me, in this book, it's okay let's use technology to get on the same page to share brief updates with the team and to keep in touch between meetings between phone calls, between offset. And I think that could be really effective, but if you are replacing human interaction completely with technology, you've got a problem and that's going to end up really hurting you.

[00:48:30] And I do fear that the overlying we have on technology is going to pose a bigger threat to our health and to empathy. And if empathy, declines, because of technology overused, because you have more empathy. If you physically see somebody than if you were to text. That's going to lead to bigger societal issues, including more crime.

[00:48:54] Hala Taha: Yeah.

[00:48:55] Dan Schawbel: So what I talk about in the book has a very corporate [00:49:00] context, but the implications are widespread.

[00:49:03] Hala Taha: Totally. So let's move on to productivity. How do you feel about multitasking and perfectionism?

[00:49:12] Dan Schawbel: Yeah, I don't think it's possible to be perfect and it's not a goal we shouldn't want to treat. Because there's no such thing as perfect.

[00:49:19] Like everything can always be improved. What you want to do is good enough. Something you're proud of that you can actually launch or act on rather than, delaying and delaying and never achieving something. And then multi-tasking doesn't exist either. What's really happening is your brain is moving back and forth from one task to the other and it's making you less effective.

[00:49:38] So it's better to single task. It's better to, come up with the five things you need to do today. And then do one at a time instead of bounce back and forth. So that's why for my books, I do all the research first, before I start writing it. Instead of, doing some research then writing and then research and then writing like that to me is ineffective.[00:50:00]

[00:50:00] I'd rather do all the research first. And I do that with my articles too. I do it with everything actually. So podcasts, I need to do the interviews first, before I do the intros and everything else. And one thing at a time makes more sense. Otherwise you're going to make more mistakes.

[00:50:15] Hala Taha: I totally agree.

[00:50:16] So your team did some research on how to optimize productivity, such as the time of day that were most productive the day of week, how often we should break and things like that. Could you share some of that data with our listeners?

[00:50:30] Dan Schawbel: Yes. I was very excited to include this as part of the book, because this is on average.

[00:50:34] So it's not you could be a better nighttime work than a morning person, right? For the most part on average, we're most productive between 10 in the morning and noon, Tuesday, we are most productive because Monday we're really catching up on things that might have happened on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

[00:50:52] And we need to get about eight hours of sleep a night. And that's been a huge struggle for me recently over the past

[00:51:00] year. Ever since I was in Canada at one of my events and I woke up at four in the morning. It threw me off for over a year. Been trying to recover. I know it's interesting. I'm definitely a morning person now and then breaks are important.

[00:51:14] I think that people don't give themselves enough. When they really do need them because we can't focus on work for five hours straight. It's just impossible. So I think breaks are healthy. They're important. And once we come back from the break, we're more effective. They don't need to be long breaks that you just need a little bit of a rest.

[00:51:33] And I think that with exercise and eating healthy and the combination. Being thoughtful about how you're spending your time using technology versus not using technology. I think this can help you have a more effective day because you can't talk about productivity without talking about health and how you spend your time.

[00:51:53] And I think that if you're healthier, it's easy to be productive. You can be productive for longer, and it's easier to

[00:52:00] go to sleep because you've worn yourself out through the day.

[00:52:02] Hala Taha: Yeah. And just to share some of these data points with my listeners, I thought it was so interesting the time of the day that we're most productive is between 10:00 AM and noon.

[00:52:11] The day of the week we're most productive is Tuesday. The optimal amount of sleep, which I've discussed many times on this show is between seven and nine hours. At night, the optimal number of work breaks is one every 52 minutes. The optimal length of a break is 17 minutes and you should get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week.

[00:52:32] So I thought this is so interesting. And I'm going to try to see if I can incorporate some of these data points to help me be more productive, something else you mention early, on in our interview is the fact that you were an early trendsetter in the data around a four day work week. And I want to get your perspective on if you think that to be productive, you need to work eight hours a day.

[00:52:54] What do you think is the optimal amount of time that somebody should work during their day? [00:53:00]

[00:53:00] Dan Schawbel: It's going to be different for everyone. So I think that every organization needs flexibility and every worker should demand flexibility, but I think that it's going to be custom per situation. So what you need from flexibility is going to be different than what I need, right?

[00:53:16] So if somebody has kids, they might need flexible schedules, but they might not need to work from home remote. Whereas somebody else. Who is maybe older might want to work in the office five days a week for 40 hours total. Whereas, for someone else. They would just rather work from home five days a week.

[00:53:36] So it depends on the person, their work preferences, styles, what they're comfortable with their responsibilities and family situation. There's a lot of factors. And so I think in the future, my hope is that flexibility is customized per person. Because we're just all different and we're in different phases of life.

[00:53:53] So flexibility for me now is going to be different than in five years, but everyone needs [00:54:00] flexibility. And if we demand people. To work really hard and stay with our companies. Then we have to give flexibility in return. I think that flexibility will continue to be as common as any other employee benefit like health care coverage and learning and development.
[00:54:17] Hala Taha: That makes complete sense.

[00:54:18] Dan Schawbel: And so I think that in terms of all companies. Having a four-day workweek or having some sort of confined work day. It's a political issue. That's my conclusion. It's a political issue. Like the labor party in the UK are fighting for a four day workweek. If that were to pass, then all companies would have to have it and it would constrain hours per week .

[00:54:42] In America. I don't see it happening unless a politician changes that he's, that's what it took to get a 40 hour workweek.

[00:54:47] Hala Taha: Yeah. I could never see that passing in America.

[00:54:51] Dan Schawbel: There you go. So then it won't, but it is a bigger issue than just a corporate issue and only a handful of companies around the world have tested a four day workweek.

[00:54:59] So it's [00:55:00] not widespread. It's in the public consciousness because of the amount of media attention that they have gotten. I did a study on the four day work week with Kronos last year. And we asked the number one question was if pay remain constant, how many days a week would you work? And the number one answer was four day work week.

[00:55:20] And the other thing that was fascinating about that question was only 4% said zero. Wow. So people want to work. They just don't want to work five days a week.

[00:55:30] Hala Taha: That would be amazing if we could get that changed.

[00:55:33] Dan Schawbel: Yeah. And that reminds me of this article. I read about the oldest living man. He's 121 year old Mexican guy. And he was interviewed about what he most misses.

[00:55:43] And of course he said relationships that's always in the one or two, but actually even more than relationships, it was work. Working like he used to, and to me, that pairs up very nicely with the fact that people want to work in our survey. Like even if there's [00:56:00] universal, basic income, people want.

[00:56:01] Hala Taha: Yeah. It goes back to purpose and fulfillment.

[00:56:05] Dan Schawbel: Dignity, identity, all of that.

[00:56:07] Hala Taha: Yeah. Okay. So we're running up on time and I close out my show with this question. What is your secret to profiting in life?

[00:56:16] Dan Schawbel: Doing? I find meaningful around people who have similar goals and values. Doing work that gets me excited to wake up every morning, ready to contribute to the world and continue on my path, surrounding myself with people who inspire me, who support me and have similar goals so that I don't feel like I'm alone in following that path.

[00:56:36] Hala Taha: Very cool. And where can our listeners go to learn more about you and everything that you do?

[00:56:41] Dan Schawbel: You can go to danschawbel.com so it's danschawbel.com. The podcast is 5 Questions with Dan Schawbel. The book is Back to Human.

[00:56:53] Hala Taha: Awesome. And I'll link all of that in our show notes, Dan, this was such a great conversation.

[00:56:57] You are a guru when it comes to [00:57:00] workplace trends and I had a lot of fun talking about it with you. So thanks for coming on.

[00:57:04] Dan Schawbel: Thanks for having me.

[00:57:06] Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to Young And Profiting Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave us a review or comment on your favorite platform.

[00:57:14] Follow YAP on Instagram @ youngandprofiting and check us out at youngandprofiting.com. Now you can chat. Every single day on YAP Society on Slack. Check out our show notes or youngandprofiting.com registration link. And if you're already active on YAP Society, share the wealth and invite your friends. You can find me on Instagram @yapwithhalaor LinkedIn, just search for my name Hala Taha.

[00:57:35] Big, thanks to the YAP team as always stay blessed and I'll catch you next time. This is Hala signing off.

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