Our Co-CEOs (Meghan Messenger and Charlie Kim) write a newsletter that we share with our staff and family, and 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,
The demands on our time and our calendar seems to be increasing at an accelerating pace forcing us to be very selective with where we spend our time and energy. So in the interest of time, we have decided to write our CEO Update newsletter every two months vs monthly. Much has happened so this is our attempt to share some of the highlights with you.
March ended with Meghan and I giving the closing keynote at the Republican Congress Staff Retreat, the same keynote given by Trump last year and Obama a few years ago. Neither of us have a political bone in our body, so started our talk referencing the TV show Scandal as there were “Cyrus Beenes” in the audience, the Chief of Staffs for all the different congress men and women. Days following our talk, the note we received: “You and Meghan were just awesome. I heard a bunch of positive feedback from Chiefs and others. Thank you. When can you and Meghan come to DC to talk to Members of Congress. We need your help.”
Shortly after, we heard from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (the most senior military officer) that we were on their top 3 short-list of individuals to help coach him and his staff. Within weeks, we were told that we are their #1 choice, included on that list was Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO. Requests of this caliber continue to pour in and is both humbling and exciting.
- Leadership Exchange w/ the NAVY – training each other’s leaders [visit to Whidbey Island in Seattle]
- Leadership Exchange w/ JPMC – exchanging value and knowledge [training JPMC’s operating committee]
- Republican Congress – training the Chief of Staffs and their teams [helping the people who are in power to fix this country]
- Sharing & Helping GOOGLE – “Thank you for being a role model to even companies like Google.”
- Finding a Cure for Autism: Shared Living Collaborative – learning from each other [Mind-Body connections and a beautiful partnership started]
- Leadership Academy in April – 20 companies, 60 leaders including Apple, Samsung, Fidelity [attendees experienced the transformation in 3 days]
- Adopt-A-School: Innovative Teaching Competition – winners selected from PS119 in the Bronx and Netley in the UK and will be visiting each other’s schools
- Coaching Tip – in the HR data, our team is finding correlations between low performing teams and the feedback of its leaders
As we continue our investments in the Social Movement to help change work culture, we have made many “deposits” adding value to thousands of organizations of all sizes, industries and locations globally. We started our probono Leadership Academy in 2014 and by 2017 (3 years later), we are starting to see the early signals of GIVE & TAKE relationships building. Despite many experienced leaders advising us to charge for our Academy, especially in light of the growing waitlist and increasing requests to attend, we stuck to our guns and will continue to keep it probono. Two main benefits arose from this:
- ACCESS – unlike most organizations, we are not looking for more hours or billings. We are looking to add value and impact in the shortest amount of time, in the most efficient ways. This has given us unfettered access, at the highest levels and above all else speed in vulnerability and understanding the challenges in every organization we meet (Military, CIA, Congress, F500, NonProfits, Public/Charter Schools, Hospitals, Startups, etc). This birds eye view across 1000s of organizations has accelerated our learnings and the EDUCATION arm understanding the practices in “Leading Your Organization” as well as “Leading Yourself”. We have no pride in authorship and as a result, are able to integrate the best of everyone’s work, which is also accelerating our social movement to change work.
- INTERNET MODEL – create value and give it away, it comes back to you in other ways. We are only beginning to understand some of the ways our GIVE (“deposits” to 1000s of organizations) is coming back in value to Next Jump. However one area that is quickly growing are the Leadership Exchange Programs where we are partnering to train each other’s leaders. Two recent examples below:
LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE: w/ the NAVY
Next Jump’s MV21 Leadership team spent two full days at Whidbey Island, the #1 rated Navy base with 10,000 people in Seattle. The base had never seen a large group visit in civilian clothes, except for Navy Seals and kept asking our team what mission we were on. The VIP access was hard to describe. Besides meetings that involved national security, our team was able to shadow the CEOs of the base in small groups of 2, attending their strategy, staff and development meetings. The exchange of insights and learnings was leadership development on steroids.
After two days, every NxJ leader felt they “touched the mission”, taking away dozens of pages of notes and continue to practice, share and teach the leadership lessons learned.
Lastly – who knew the Navy had so many planes, our team practiced landing jets on aircraft carriers in flight simulators, got dangerously close to F16 landings and takeoff [see picture below as these planes land and take off in mach speed].
LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE: w/ JPMC
Just last week, Tom, Greg, Meghan and I were invited to attend part of the 3 day Leadership Training program for Jamie Dimon’s (CEO of JPMC) operating committee, the top 20 leaders running JPMC. The first half of the day, Meghan and I coached this team of leaders on the Moneyball of Leadership. Responses ranged from “This is so practical, I need this help immediately” to “How can I get more of this”. We were then able to sit in on leadership training provided by the former Head of the U.S. Army, General Odierno (who JPMC signed on as a leadership consultant) as well as Roger Martin, one of the world’s experts in strategy. Roger shared his insights and research from co-authoring a book w/ the former Proctor & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley.
A few key insights from Roger Martin:
- Strategy can’t be divorced from execution. So many leaders will say: “Strategy was great but executed poorly”. There is no such thing – it’s poor strategy when execution isn’t factored into it.
- Strategy is about making choices, tough choices on what it: IS NOT vs IS. Must be tested as the opposite cannot be stupid on its face. For instance: strategy of being customer oriented, would be tested with the opposite of ignoring our customers. That is “stupid on its face” and is not strategy, is not making a choice.
- The two drivers of strategy is: RIGOR (NxJ lingo: Brilliant in the Basics) and CREATIVITY (NxJ lingo: Moneyball of Leadership Level 3: Independent Thinking).
- Creativity being the hardest and most important: “Make something that did not exist”. Innovation and creativity is a social process – you need “group think”
- Dangers of data-driven decision making: all data comes from the past. If the world is the way it is now – using data to make decisions can work. But if the future doesn’t look like today, then red flags should go up. Data should be used to GUESS about the future, informed by data to make decisions, intuitive calls.
- Think of what you produce: it is not products & services. It is Decisions. Most organizations are “Decision Factories”. Who makes decisions: Leadership.
- In Q&A when pressed what’s the single most important action step: “No LHF (lying/hiding/faking)” – reveal your decision process, my choices, my rationale, my assumptions. Revisit the assumptions daily as they change. The reason why people LHF: are afraid people will laugh at you and nobody likes to be laughed at.
Chase’s head of talent development commented at the end that the day couldn’t have been planned more perfectly, Next Jump’s Moneyball of Leadership and Roger Martin’s Strategy work summed up to the exact same place.
Email to NxJ Team Everyone:
Meghan and I gave our keynote last night and then answered questions until almost midnight in small groups. Was supposed to be 300 people but audience cut in half because of health care vote
Having said that, was supposed to be 30 min went for 90 and had them on the edge of their seats. The audience erupted in applause twice. We are spot on in so many ways – we had people who work/run schools, churches, biz as spouses in the audience come up saying it applied to me and my org too.
At the end of the talk, on the thank you slide..this is what I said that got me emotional:
Meghan and I don’t have a lot of time. But we’re here because you have the power to fix this country. Which can fix the world.
One of the Email Responses:
Hi Charlie and Meghan,
What an inspiring note. I always thought I need do something unprecedented to change the world. You made a platform, a movement that empowered people like me could change the world by just doing small things they are good at and passionate to. That’s the best way and most effective way to change the world TOGETHER.
I never thought a business chasing the profits would have the power to change the world or influence people who can fix the country, who can actually fix the world. But you two did it and proved it works!
PS: I am so proud that we, nextjump, have committed to this mission impossible no matter how many battles we had to fight. And the fact is we have won those battles and we are going to win the war. Even better, we are not the only one going to fight. We are carrying on more and more people fight with us and we are going to win the world. I am so grateful and lucky to be one of us.
Greg, our Boston office head, held a video conference Q&A w/ Google’s talent management group last month. The book written by Harvard Professors featuring Next Jump’s culture: An Everyone Culture was the book of the month with Google’s talent management group last month.
Loved this quote from the guy “Thank you for being a role model to even companies like Google. Huge thanks for your generosity.”
Pieces that resonated with them the most:
– battling entitlement
– the term GAS (Give A Shit)…(they all loved it)
The note Greg received afterwards:
“A few Googlers went to work today with an extra dose of inspiration. Thank you so much for taking the time to speaking to us. Left us all in deep reflection about what we can do differently at Google.”
FINDING A CURE for AUTISM: Shared Living Collaborative
We held our 2nd annual Super Saturday recruiting event in March at our Boston office. From thousands of college applicants, the top 40-50 attend a 10 hour recruiting event. Over the last few years, each Super Saturday has had anywhere from a dozen to 2 dozen VIP Guests from all types of organizations visit and observe the entire recruiting process down to the “War Room” decision making of job offers that evening.
One of the most amazing people we met, a VIP Guest at this Super Saturday was Daniela, the founder of The Shared Living Collaborative, four different farms in northern Massachusetts run by and built to help children and adults with Autism. The exchange of knowledge and programs between Next Jump and Daniela was electrifying. We are doing so many of the same things for totally different audiences, yet share so many common problems. Daniela was featured in Rolling Stone and said: “These aren’t scary kids, they’re kids who are deathly scared; they’ve been traumatized over and over. We don’t try and fix them, we try to fix their environment. If you manage that, then the behaviors can fix themselves.”
Daniela is one of the best examples we’ve found of Mind-Body connection. Although the issue is often in the MIND, she and her team are unable to “talk” to the autistic children and adults and often have to start with physical activities (BODY). The examples she shared of how ballroom dancing and horse riding helps their postures and as their shoulders straighten, their confidence grows. We are beyond excited to partner closer, share learnings and bring her into our Next Jump family.
Her note to us after spending 12+ hours with Next Jump in Boston:
Hi Meghan and Charlie,
Thank you so much for an incredible, inspiring, and amazing experience at Next Jump. It was wonderful to meet both of you and I am in awe of your seemingly boundless energy, talent, and creativity. I am also deeply touched by your commitment to social innovation and making the world a better place. It is not often that I have met others who I feel are so kindred in spirit as both of you. Following the after-party, despite the late hour of departure, I went home feeling rejuvenated and excited by our conversation and have not stopped strategizing on how to implement what I learned on Super Saturday. Ideas I brought back are the topics of conversations at staff meetings and throughout our agency community. We hope that you will be able to find the time to visit us soon. I look forward to staying in touch.
Thank you again,
PS: I can so relate to the people in the audience as I too was on the edge of my seat a few days ago. I know that audience members will for a long time carry with them the urgent desire to “do good” and join the social movement you inspire. “we are all in this together”! Thanks again, you guys are truly amazing!
LEADERSHIP ACADEMY in APRIL – 20 Companies
We have been running our Leadership Academy since 2014, shorter versions often on Thursdays and a longer 3-day version monthly. The requests for the monthly Academy has been overwhelming and is also one of the bigger resource drains on Next Jump. So we made a decision to run the longer 3-day version every other month. However, rather than focus on a single organization, we decided to train leaders from many different orgs.
We ran our first global Leadership Academy in April where nearly 60 leaders from 20 companies attended in either our NYC, Boston and UK offices. Many of the LEARN and OBSERVE components ran globally with video conferencing, however the DO workshops ran locally. We had leadership attend from companies including: Apple, Samsung, Fidelity, LibertyMutual, Estee Lauder, Chevron, Dannon, Stonyfield, Harper Collins and even the London Stock Exchange.
Some sample reactions and comments:
Amy from Fidelity (VP HR) “Everyone walks the talk – everyone displaying leadership; I’m talking back this concept everyone is a leader, even if you’re just leading yourself at the moment + Concept of practice grounds.”
Sue from Stonyfield (VP HR) “I was very inspired by little things, and little things we can make tweaks vs boiling ocean to make change. Consistency and intensity; ritualizing the little things. And the difference between pilot and experiment – I’ll be bringing that back and TU/TD 3x”
Interestingly, after being immersed in Next Jump’s culture for 3 full days, two recurring observations from attendees:
- ENERGY LEVELS INCREASE – by day 3, the norm of exercise, healthy food (breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks) and daily sleep class results in Academy attendees feeling a noticeable difference in their levels of energy and engagement. It happens so seamlessly, they almost can’t believe it and leave with intentions to continue this good physical behaviors.
- VULNERABILITY & OPENNESS – by day 3, a common phrase we hear from Academy attendees is “I’ve never shared this with anyone…”. Building an environment of Psychological Safety and Vulnerability is contagious. Our retired Marine Darrell who then became a NxJumper, attended earlier Academies and puts it best:
“Having had the opportunity to be an attendee at an Academy, I absolutely felt the power of the culture and the environment. For me, the environment of vulnerability, psychological safety is reinforced by the sense of family I feel at Next Jump (both as an attendee and now as a Next Jumper) – meals together, physical training together, facing the hard work of developing ourselves together etc. all contribute to creating the family environment. Much easier to feel safe, open up and take critical feedback from people you regard as brothers and sisters with your best interests in mind and not just co-workers. Feeling is similar to the bond I felt in the Marine Corps-Another reason I wanted to come work for you here at Next Jump.”
ADOPT-A-SCHOOL: Innovative Teaching Competition Winners
In order to encourage bottoms up innovation from teachers in both the public schools we adopted in the Bronx: PS 119 as well as the public school in the UK: Netley, we funded and helped run an Innovative Teaching competition. The top 2 winners at each school, judged by the principals and asst principals in the level of engagement and learning from the elementary students, would win a fully paid trip to the other school (Bronx à UK and UK à Bronx) to share and teach the winning innovative curriculum.
Kevin who runs the program in our UK Office wrote:
We had ceremony and after party yesterday for teachers who won the innovation challenge at Netley. Overall a great & well received event. Thanks to Darrell/Kyle/Albert for sharing learning from Tuesday. A few highlights:
– The mayor of Camden was there to help give out the awards (kind of like having mayor of the Bronx there if such a thing exists). (in the picture below she is the one with bling – her official seal of office)
– The principal was over the moon – has been a tough month b/c they have had some cut backs and needed to let some teaching assistants go + has had some union troubles … contest + party helped reignite mood
– Shared video of the four finalists (we will post on YouTube and share)
– The assistant head was saying that Netley has been innovative in past, but it was always TOP -> DOWN. This challenge got teachers to bring innovation BOTTOM -> UP. Proud moment: Many said to me that they would try what other teachers did.
– The teachers were massively appreciative of both the ceremony and the after party – many said they never do things like party and hardly get a chance to talk to one another in that kind of setting
Very excited to take next steps and have exchange happen. We are also working on documentation and web site updates to highlight challenge + the winning entries.
The look on the winning teacher’s face is priceless:
In our Moneyball of Leadership, our team is analyzing human performance data and finding very powerful insights. One of the recent findings: Low performing teams are led by leaders who are hiding (as in little to no feedback/ difficult to give feedback to).
One of the fastest ways to begin receiving feedback is through post-meeting/ post-project debriefs. The leader first ranks themselves on a scale of 1 to 4 (1: Needs Improvement, 2: Meets Expectations, 3: Exceeds Expectations, 4: Far Exceeds Expectations) and explains why. Then immediately following their self ranking/awareness, the rest of the team ranks the leader. This entire process is a 5-10 minute exercise. Can be done manually and easier with Next Jump’s free Feedback App available on both iphones and android phones.
Lastly, sharing a short video from our Monday staff meeting:
What’s the formula for Success/Motivation/Drive/Happiness? [8 min video]
* combining some of the greatest work of Jim Loehr, Simon Sinek and Wes Moore:
I hope you enjoyed our Co-CEO Update. Please share and forward to your family & friends. Any reactions and feedback – always would love to hear from you.
CK & MM