Frogman on the Roof: How a missile destroyer ship is shaping its culture

Next Jump’s mission is based on a simple idea: leverage our technology, people, learnings and resources to transform people’s jobs and lives at companies across the globe. We boil this integrated strategy down into a universal formula: Better Me + Better You = Better Us.

The following is a guest post by Nick Woolf, a Next Jump employee since 2013.


Over the past several years, we have hosted hundreds of organizations in our offices – from Zappos to Whole Foods to the U.S. Department of Defense – to participate in our Leadership Academy workshops to help them take their company’s culture to the next level.

In the spring of 2015, we were introduced to the Commanding Officer of the USS Michael Monsoor – a missile destroyer ship designed for advanced land attack and dominance on the seas. The vessel is named after Michael A. Monsoor, a United States Navy SEAL who was killed during the Iraq War and awarded the Medal of Honor. Continue reading

Next Jump Co-CEO Update: September 2016


Our Co-CEO’s (Meghan Messenger and Charlie Kim) have started up a monthly newsletter that we share with our staff and family, but also friends of the company (including past Leadership Academy attendees).  It includes a sampling of many things happening, summing up as part of our larger mission in changing workplace culture.


NxJumpers + Family & Friends,

Meghan and I as Co-CEOs have found one of our greatest privileges is the volume of updates and info being sent to us from both inside Next Jump and also the greater community we have built outside. This can range from an act of leadership, kindness helping others, heroics with customers/clients or engineering a product…or notes from the many people we have given our time, resources, knowledge and capital to help.

Our intention is to publish a monthly “Co-CEO Update”, which we encourage for you to forward and share with your family & friends. Although it would be near impossible to add everything, we will try and grab illustrative examples of what we see from our CEO POV.

And what best to kick it off than a statement Meghan made during our last Super Saturday in March:


Greg Kunkel Spoke at Coaching Conference 2016 at Harvard on 9/17:

“Greg did well, big crowd, laughs and engaged questions after. Then Greg shared emotional training programs at next jump: TPs and SWs. 4 diff ppl approached to enquire about getting him/next jump to speak at more stuff and their organization.”

Key highlights & reactions:

  • Next Jump is taking adult development to scale
  • Well-held vulnerability: has element of danger and safety. Think of a time where you were not at your best, and in that situation there are ppl who see you in your limitations and still see you, respect you, and value you. For most ppl they find this at church, or sports, or combat, or therapy….but at work???? Crazy, imagine that.
  • How come you haven’t monetized this? Do you sell this? (Disbelief the academy and materials are free — audience were consultants and coaches) and then, where can I get more on this?

GK speaking at Harvard


NxJ’s Senior Engineerings back into Coding

Most development occurs in an imbalanced way. Then the act of getting balanced is when the results show up. Many of our senior engineers over the last few years worked hard to learn how to manage people, to ignite/inspire/build high performance teams. As usual on anything new, they did it so much, many of them stopped coding. They got imbalanced to focus only on being a LEADER but not a CODER/PRODUCT BUILDER. They are now jumping back in, starting with our 9 MV21 engineering leaders. And in true NxJumper form, Nayan and Lokeya as TPs moved so rapidly, they build a mobile app, one of the more complicated ones seemingly overnight. Just when we thought the Jedi Knights were all dead and gone, we are excited to see the “Jedi High Council”roaring back.

Next Jump Senior Engineers


2017 MV21, NxJ’s leadership team voted on by the employees

We started with 14 MV21 members and will look to add up to 7 more by end of Feb. Interesting STATs:

  • Average Tenure: 10.1 years at NxJ
  • Veteran to Newbie cut off: 8.5 years at NxJ


NOTE from the CIA [July Leadership Academy @NextJump]

Wanted to let you know that ever since your course we have adopted several things within our organization to include:  better snacks, a Wellness Program (fitness program dedicated for civilian personnel–military personnel already have a dedicated command time fitness time and can PT during the work day schedule dependent).  The Wellness program is a pilot program set up by DOD and we are going to see what we can do to have them change it from a 3 month pilot to a full time program for all of DOD/DON.  We are starting a Coaching/Partnership Program on 1 Oct.  We also have adopted an awards recognition program similar to yours but unfortunately $50K family trip is not included but we have other means by which to award them in addition to the recognition.  We have other initiatives that your course spurred and created for us so thank you!


Michael Monsoor $2B Navy Ship – entire crew adopting & running like NxJ [Dozen interactions w/ Next Jump]

  • TruPer (Trusted Person) time is ongoing daily (our version of TP).
  • Our first bi-weekly situational workshop (SW) begins today with the CO, XO, and department heads
  • M-16 (short for MONSOOR 16), our version of MV-21, has been voted on and is set to have their weekend work session at the end of September in San Diego, CA
  • Frogman on the Roof is our version of Top Ten promoting our effort to recognize linemen not quarterbacks
  • First Friday seminars is where we invite outside organizations to come speak to us about their culture and processes thereby adding to the diversity of thought in MICHAEL MONSOOR.
  • Command outreach: volunteer work centered around fallen SEAL support organizations, public schools, and maritime organizations. Five to six times a week members of the command are doing volunteer work. Each Wednesday afternoon is set aside for reoccurring volunteer work. About once a month, the members of the command en mass come together for a volunteer project.


Next Leadership Academy

  • Oct 20 & 21: JP Morgan Chase’s 20 senior leaders
  • Nov 16/17/18: Military 20 officers


Adopt-A-School: Year 2 for PS119, Year 1 for UK Netley School

Our intent with this program: we imagine a day when every one of the 100,000 US public schools and the 22,000 UK public schools are adopted by a for-profit company. There will be a shortage of public schools to adopt.

NYC: We will continue our funding and running the after school program for the 1000+ elementary kids in the South Bronx: PS 119. As Meghan and I sat in August with Michelle the principal, she burst into tears as she could not believe the time and commitment Next Jump has given to her, the 100+ teachers & staff, and the 1000+ students. Seeing the inundation of requests and work we do with the Military, the CIA, companies like JPMC, Fidelity, Facebook, Tesla…she couldn’t believe how engaged we are in their “small school” and the impact it has made for everyone in just a year. It was a truly special meeting. This year, we intend to add short presentations by NxJumpers on “My Story” as the PS 119 children are looking for role models, examples of what work looks like and the journey to get there. NxJumpers already build “My Story” presentations for a 5 min program we have monthly called: 10X, we will leverage and share at the school.

  • In the 2015 Program, the top two themes in the thank you notes from students: (1) Thank you for the money to run our after school programs: chess, basketball, arts, music, etc. (2) Thank you for taking the subway each Thursday to come visit us
  • After School program for 2016 begins in October, Next Jump NYC office broken into 4 teams, each team will travel to PS 119 on Thursday afternoon to teach in the after school program. Each month, the entire office teaches, each week 25% of the office is at PS 119.

UK: After reviewing and interviewing many public schools, they will be adopting the Netley Primary School and Centre for Autism, a 500 student elementary school. They already have an after school program in place, so our team will begin by adding to the existing program on Thursday similar to the NYC office. We developed a curriculum with the help of Peter Hallock, the top teacher who helped in PS 119’s after school, who also interned with us this past summer. As the UK program grows, we have ear marked a budget of $300,000 for them to add greater value as we learn more about the organization.


Next Jump “Kids Club” and After School Program

As more NxJumpers have family, we have begun to build an after school program along with “kids club” in our offices. The program kicked off a few weeks back with a Friday 3:45pm Hip hop dance class w/ one of NYC’s best instructors. Kids snacks ordered and shortly a KIDS FRIDGE being built. Other program additions in the works:

  • Kids Club gameroom: 3 flat screens, xbox, Nintendo, wii [conference room next to Mirage]
  • Kids Club: mirage is being converted and designed for arts, blocks, lego, games..exploring installing a bouncy castle in it
  • Future After School program ideas: “Cooking class for kids”, Boxing, Aerobics, Yoga, Coding/engineering, [swimming & gardening w/ the new Flagship space]
  • To start: available only to children of NxJumpers, but soon to add friends/guests w/ a NxJumper present

My 7, almost 8 year old son Jackson said today: “Dad, you may be the boss but I advise the boss. You need to buy the purple pirate’s booty, the blue ones are not as good.”


FEAR is the number one driver of losing. Fear drives bad/weak ideas and strategy. Fear drives no/weak execution. However, what is counter intuitive…rather than run away/ avoid your fears, go into it even harder. Mitchell our winning dance instructor always says [picture CK sweating, nervous, feeling like this dance is like learning foreign language]: “Ladies & gentlemen, the good news is when I play the song, it is much slower. You’ve been practicing at twice the speed.”

A good article that highlights the science behind this:

A Harvard psychologist explains why forcing positive thinking won’t make you happy [by Susan David, author of: Emotional Agility, spoke at the same conference at Harvard that Greg Kunkel spoke 9/17]


Summary Highlights

  • A lot of our cultural dialogue is fundamentally avoidant, so people will just say things like, “just be positive and things will be fine.”
  • We will find ourselves in situations where we will feel anger, sadness and grief and so on. Unless we can process, navigate and be comfortable with the full range of our emotions, we won’t learn to be resilient. We must have some practice dealing with those emotions or we will be caught off guard. I believe the strong cultural focus on happiness and thinking positively is actually making us less resilient.
  • The next point — and this is very important to me — emotions like sadness, guilt, grief and anger are beacons for our values. We don’t get angry about stuff we don’t care about. We don’t feel sad or guilty about stuff we don’t care about. If we push these emotions away, we are choosing not to learn about ourselves
  • What the research shows is if we push away thoughts and emotions, they will come back magnified. For example, there is a study that shows what happened when someone who was trying to give up smoking tried not to think about cigarettes. What happened? They started to dream about cigarettes

As mentioned in the beginning, our goal is to produce this monthly CEO update, to be shared with your family & friends. Please have them write to us, want to hear less of, more of, any reactions: or


My Battle with Imposter Syndrome

Greg’s note: This is a guest post by Henry Searle, our co-head of Next Jump’s UK office.  His post speaks to the power and impact of creating an environment of authenticity.


I’ve been working at Next Jump for 3 and a half years. 9 months ago, at the age of 26, I was humbled to have been voted by my peers on onto our 21 person leadership team (MV21). However what should have been excitement, was overridden by fear.

I didn’t feel ready. In fact, I wasn’t even sure why I had been voted on in the first place and deep down I was worried everyone else would also realize I wasn’t ready. I’ve later come to learn this is known as “Imposter Syndrome” and I am not alone with these feelings. Insecurity (in my case, of not being accepted) holds many leaders back from fulfilling their potential.

So shortly after being voted into leadership, I’m in my first strategy meeting. I sit nervously watching everyone else ask questions and comment. I have questions jotted down, but I’m too worried about what others will think of my questions to ask them. I don’t speak up for the whole 2 hour meeting and leave thinking “I’ll ask questions next time”. I did this for the first 5 consecutive leadership meetings.

At Next Jump, we have ten minutes left at the end of meetings to give each other feedback on a mobile app. Below are some of comments left by my peers. ‘Does not meet expectations: Did you speak up at all?’ – hiding my point of view was clear for everyone to see.

henry comments

I read this and wanted to change. But unfortunately it’s not that easy. Willpower alone wasn’t enough to make me speak up. In the next two meetings the feeling is even worse, now I feel like everyone is watching and waiting. I continue receiving the same feedback in the app, from my peers, my coach. Receiving such consistent feedback wasn’t easy, I got fed up and frustrated with myself. Why am I so worried about voicing a point of view?

I went home that night and really started reflecting deeper. Suddenly I started seeing how this has affected me in other areas of my life. For instance, when I’m with friends I never brought up topics or my own express opinions, I just built off what others were saying.

I then started to realize that it’s not just a problem at work. It’s affecting me everywhere. I started to reflect more, particularly on the relationship I have with my parents.

Growing up, I was accepted in every way by my parents, except in one area. I came out to my parents as gay when I was 16. We lived in a small rural town and my parents had a very tradition upbringing. They didn’t understand what it meant, they didn’t have anyone to speak to about it, and they didn’t accept it.

I vividly remember sitting in the car with my Dad after I came out. For the first ten minutes, I tried to tell my side; to help him understand what it meant, that it wasn’t a bad thing. I realized very quickly that he wasn’t going to accept it, I knew he wasn’t listening to me so I stopped speaking. I just sat and listened. We were parked up outside of the house for another hour where I sat in silence while he told me why being gay was a ‘bad decision’.

Over the next few years, this became the norm for me, every conversation went the same way: I would sit in silence while my Dad told me that being gay was ‘the wrong decision’. This led to a very unhealthy relationship between us, we effectively stopped talking for a few years because that was easier. I don’t blame my dad, he came from a time when being gay meant you had a difficult life in a lot of different ways and he didn’t want that for me.

But the lesson I took from this experience growing up was that if I speak up and say what I’m thinking, I will not be accepted. I took this lesson in all aspects of my adult life, at work, with friends, and with my family.

Fast forward to work, I knew I had to start changing this internal narrative. I started to look online for people who had gone through similar experiences, and I found a TED Talk by Andrew Solomon called ‘Love no matter what’. He starts the talk by reading a quote from TIME magazine in 1966, the article says that homosexuality is a disease not worth curing. He compares that article to now, where gay marriage is legal and asks a simple question: how did we get from there to here? Watching the video I answer out loud: because so many people spoke up for they believed to be true and right.

Suddenly I’m in tears, I realize how many people sacrificed and spoke up for what they believed so I can live the life I do now. For me to be in work meeting not speaking up, is such a huge disservice to all those who sacrificed before me. This has become the driving force for me to change my narrative and speak up in all aspects of my life.

I know that I’m fortunate to work in an environment like Next Jump where feedback is baked into our culture, and I’m surrounded by people who help support my growth. That means people who will give the uncomfortable truths, not comfortable lies.

Here’s some practical advice, which might help when receiving feedback:

  1. Recognize that there’s always grains of truth when hearing difficult feedback.
  2. Understanding the root cause; In my case – it was the realization that the reason I wasn’t speaking up is because I was looking for acceptance from others
  3. Reflecting on the origin; what were the situations in your upbringing which helped forge the wrong narratives?
  4. Finding the drive to change that narrative

I’ve just gotten started but some of the things I’ve done which have helped so far:

  1. Investing in 1 person I trust and can say anything to about home or work. It feels uncomfortable but getting the ‘I’m not good enough’ and insecurities out helps met get out of my own head.
  2. Practice being the first to speak up (in meetings, with friends). This is difficult and feels very vulnerable, putting your own opinion out rather than building on others. But the more I’ve done it, the more natural and less scary it seems.
  3. Telling others about my story. This was hard at first, but each time I share my story it becomes easier to voice, and reinforces why I want change.

To be clear, this hasn’t been an easy journey. But I have found that through practicing consistently, I’m starting to see the rewards in all areas of my life. Outside of work, I’ve built deeper, more meaningful friendships and a much stronger relationship with my parents. I’ve learnt that the battle with imposter syndrome is a difficult, but when you’re committed to change, the battle is worth it.

How millennials are forcing companies to rethink their culture


The modern workplace is changing rapidly due to a confluence of factors: technology, globalization, and the Millennial Generation entering the workforce. Of increasing influence, millennials currently constitute the largest population in the U.S. workforce. For many companies, millennials already represent at least 50% of their employees.

One of the areas in which millennials are differing from previous generations is in their remarkable absence of loyalty to the companies that they work for. A recent study by Deloitte reported that 44% of this age group expects to quit their organization within the next two years. This has forced companies to revisit, rethink, and – in some cases – reset previous practices to remain relevant. Continue reading