Our Co-CEOs (Meghan Messenger and Charlie Kim) write a newsletter that we share with our own staff and Next Jump family, as well as 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,
Despite it not being our “busy season” (for Business 1: our ecommerce marketplace), July & August have been some of the busiest months Charlie and I have ever had running the company. We are being called on more than ever, as almost every organization, in every industry, is reeling from the need to upgrade from the 20th Century way of work (Work 2.0) to the 21st Century information age (Work 3.0).
What has happened to the world? Governments seem to be in chaos. Terrorism is rising. Even the largest of companies seem fragile and at risk of dying. News and information is plentiful but can you trust it with all the fake news? Next Jump is being called on by the Navy, Air Force, CIA, F1000 businesses, education, sports, medicine, nonprofits, startups…asking for help on their culture…how do we turn our organization into a “developmental culture,” in order to build “Adaptive Learning Teams.”
Work 2.0 – a workforce of mostly FOLLOWERS
The hallmarks of Work 2.0 are:
- Centralized Decision Making – decisions & strategy made by a few people
- Management by Objectives – OKRs, KPIs, “inspect what you expect”, the assumption that a good strategic plan with capital should be able to find the necessary talent to get the job done. Some call this the medieval military style of management. It’s great at discipline but poor at innovation.
Work 3.0 – a workforce of DECISION MAKERS “adaptive learning teams”
The primary drivers are:
- Creativity – the ability to make something that did not exist
- Collaboration – it’s a social process and diversity of thinkers exponentially increases your odds of success
Companies no longer produce: Products & Services. Every organization produces: Decision Making Factories. The new job description for everyone is to become a decision maker, that is getting stronger and better over time.
A decade of charitable efforts to help other orgs become more developmental, upgrade and fix their cultures, train their leaders…has now become a full fledge business (Business 2) b/c of our HR technology. The HCM “Human Capital Management” technology space is heating up as greater tools are needed in the 21st century workplace (Work 3.0). The current HR technologies are record keeping (data storing systems) and benefits & payroll administration tools. A common phrase we hear: “We have tons of human capital/ people data. Zero insights.”
Next Jump over the last decade has built the most robust, leading edge, tested in practice set of HR tools, over 50 HR mobile & desktop apps. This technology “informates” (information mated with everyone: data insights available to everyone in real-time) giving organizations an information advantage in: (1) attracting talent, (2) retaining talent, and (3) developing talent. To be able to see early signals of burnout, turnover, hiding, learning challenges – giving leaders the ability to inject programs and solutions before it’s too late. The small-mid enterprise versions of the software is free and the traffic/engagement spills over to our PerksAtWork ecommerce marketplace. In addition, it creates a future analytics and insights business in having one of the largest views of human capital data (think industry benchmarking, trends by finance, tech, retail, etc). The large enterprise version charges a SaaS fee (monthly software as a service fee for active users), however the data is owned by the client.
Our pipeline of large orgs is too long to mention. However, we are starting with 4 significant companies: Air Force, Navy, CIA and Fidelity to help assess and upgrade the entire organization. To do this, the leadership at Next Jump is being provided privileged access to observe their HR programs including recruiting, onboarding, promotions, performance evaluations, recognition, leadership training and much more. Separately our engineering heads are reviewing the full suite of existing HR technologies in these organizations.
We are buckling our seat belts for the rest of 2017. A wild ride coming up.
As for what else happened over the months of July and August, we could best categorize it into two areas:
I. GIVERS are the most Successful
II. Taking Care of Your People is Taking Care of the Business
SUMMARY (what’s below)
I. GIVERS are the most Successful
- Partnership w/ Daniela Morse [Shared Living Collaborative (SLC), the top org curing Autism]
- Partnership w/ Shimon Waronker [The New American Academy (TNAA), public/charter schools]
- Partnership w/ Matt Miller [Assoc Dean of Harvard Education School]
- Partnership w/ Jim Fadigan [inventor of Sesame Street characters, his last work helping 20K students learn a grade higher w/in 6-12 months]
- PR organically [w/ no PR team, new news hitting our inboxes weekly as more people learn about Next Jump
II. Taking Care of Your People is Taking Care of the Business
- Work is the New Community Center [Upgrade of our NYC headquarters is underway, scheduled to be completed this time next year]
- Recognize your servant leaders [Avengers – those who help others succeed]
- Summer Outing [1st ever surprise marriage proposal]
I. GIVERS ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL
In early May, Charlie and I were invited to give a lecture to a group of 350 airmen at the ACSC (Air Command Staff College) for 350 airmen as part of their graduate masters program before they go off to command large units across the country. A humbling experience to say the least.
Top professor at Wharton, Adam Grant, through a decade of research found GIVERS to be the most successful. However, he also found givers to be the least successful. The difference between the two: (1) givers – gave without discernment. Were taken advantage of and ultimately failed. (2) GIVERS – gave with no intent of taking. However, in the long run, they built a GIVE & TAKE relationship. They were highly discerning on WHO they were giving to. We always say: find those that are (A) Competent + (B) Good From Within.
We have over two decades of being a giving organization. The first decade we were givers. The second decade we learned to become GIVERS.
Partnership w/ Daniela Morse [Shared Living Collaborative (SLC), the top org curing Autism]
We were introduced to Daniela Morse from a contributing editor of Rolling stone. She and her team are working hard to help fight autism and other behavioral disorders.
She says “We don’t try to fix them, we try to fix their environment. If you manage that, then the behaviors can fix themselves.”
She heard about all the things we are doing at NxJ, how we use the environment to help our employees develop/grow and perform at our best. Our interest in meeting and giving to Daniela: fear is at the heart of autism, they feel “so not normal” that they lose both their ability to speak and move. Working in her four farms, children and adults were able to gain speech and movement back within 90 days. That is someone we want to learn from.
After a full day visit with Daniela, learning and observing, we are experimenting with many of her techniques and insights. We’ve learned the two ways that people need to reset/ ground themselves when going on “tilt” – people are either sensory avoiding or sensory seeking. We’ve developed sections of our office, environments that cater to sensory avoiding needs or sensory seeking needs.
Partnership w/ Shimon Waronker [The New American Academy (TNAA), public/charter schools]
In July, 2 of our senior leaders, Tom and Albert, had the privilege of attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education with the teaching team at TNAA Charter School – this was their teacher Onboarding program. They participated in a 4-day seminar on “Reflective Learning: From Blind Spots to Improving Performance” by Professor Barry Jentz.
The program teaches that there is a big difference between what we aspire to do vs. what we actually do (our “default”) under pressure. They also participated in the “Frank case” [Confrontational role playing]. As adults, we do this all wrong – apparently most of us have the abilities of a 9 year old when it comes to dealing with conflict. Our very own Tom Fuller was called out by the professor as 1 of 2 best he has ever seen, having tested over 10k people. Go Tom…
Key Learnings from Tom/Albert:
- Leaders have to ASK for information they don’t want to HEAR.
- People will have to volunteer info they DON’T want to share.
- Somebody is not going to be happy.
- But unless you do it, you will stall professionally.
- You have to have the ability to embrace your own pain.
- And invite the other person to bring you more.
Stay tuned as we will be applying some of the learnings into our own onboarding and recruiting process this fall. If you want a VIP observation seat in our NYC Super Saturday recruiting event (Saturday Oct 14: 10am-8pm), please reach out to a NxJumper asap.
Partnership w/ Matt Miller [Assoc Dean of Harvard Education School]
Matt happens to also be the co-author of the book that featured Next Jump: An Everyone Culture. He is quite influential and is on a mission to help teachers/educators become better. Chairs and co-chairs several national and global education committees including the MLE: management, leadership and education for 100 Deans/Provosts globally that they train for 2 weeks on Harvard’s campus. He’s co-chair of the 1st personalized/online course being developed at Harvard on how learning works (funded by Chan-Zuckerberg: Facebook) and will be a foundational course for all students at Harvard. They are developing a case study on Next Jump, his words were: “For education, Next Jump is the most important organization to understand. Next Jump is the real deal, one of the few.” Additionally, we’re getting featured in the Chan-Zuckerberg study. Several other studies and opportunities for Next Jump in white papers, teaching on campus, sharing/educating/influencing leaders in the field of Education.
Partnership w/ Jim Fadigan [inventor of Sesame Street characters, his last work helping 20K students learn a grade higher w/in 6-12 months]
Dr. Fadigan was one of the original consultants to Jim Henson and The Children’s Workshop during the creation of Sesame Street, advising on the shows’ impact on childhood learning — including providing guidance in naming the show’s primary characters like Cookie Monster and Big Bird. Doctor Fadigan is one of the most accomplished individuals in the field of children’s education. He has had quite a distinguished career over nearly 50+ years and in the last decade took 100 public schools and upgraded nearly 20k children who struggled in reading, language, math in 6-12 months. He talks about how labeling without knowing the root cause is dangerous and cruel. Too many centers do an assessment but do not understand the root causes and as a result, have no/weak solutions.
He describes the brain as a hose with water. One clamp, the hose doesn’t work. Unclamp it (root cause), it works again. The brain wants to be right, if it isn’t, it gets scared, withdraws and becomes underdeveloped and overcompensates elsewhere. This imbalance grows over time. However, can be identified and trained. Most of education grades children on technical skills. He has identified that they fall into 3 categories: figural (shapes), symbolic (numbers) and semantic (words). However, we easily get imbalanced in one and fear the one we’re worst at. Teachers tend to also teach to what they know (a common mistake we found in coaching – coach everyone to be like me, learn like me). By identifying the imbalances, they can then be trained (deliberate practice – a stressful type of practice to help improve oneself), and ultimately gain agility and confidence.
We are partnering to build the World’s Best Children’s Learning Center @work at Next Jump. Incubate, test, put it into practice…then scale using technology and our network to share/spread through every school/ org possible. The connections between Adult Learning and Children Learning are so apparent, we will share more in future CEO updates.
PR organically [w/ no PR team, new news hitting our inboxes weekly as more people learn about Next Jump]
- Simon Sinek’s TED Talk was clipped into a 4 min video, featured Next Jump right from the start. Within 2+ weeks already has 24M views. Watch the VIDEO
- Blogger Brett Putter after attending Next Jump’s Leadership Academy writes: “Next Jump is the Usain Bolt of Organisations”
I had read the Everyone Culture and had watched most of the Next Jump videos on Youtube, so I thought I was prepared for the experience. Boy was I wrong! I was blown away by the brilliance of the company’s culture in action and at the end of the three days I realized that there was no chance in hell I could write a meaningful blog about my experience, because it simply wouldn’t make sense. The best way to describe the situation I found myself in after the academy is to imagine that a company is a human body and you’ve been asked to describe, to an alien who hasn’t seen one before, what happens in and to the body when it’s running. High level descriptions of what the foot does, how the eyes work and what the heart does would make no sense, unless you were able to describe the rest of the body and how everything is interconnected. To complicate matters further, Next Jump is the Usain Bolt of runners.
- Boston Middle School Visit to our offices, during their visit, they went on an intern-lead culture tour, participated in a Q&A, and generally learned what it’s like to work in a tech company that invests in you. The short visit to our offices made a big impact on the students, “Milagros, 9th grade, Lawrence: I was very moved how much the company cares for your well-being and how they understand how deeply your health and well-being impacts your work drive. Something many companies tend to overlook. I also loved how much focus they put on the importance of teamwork, being able to work well with others which is a good skill to have no matter where you work at.”
II. TAKING CARE OF YOUR PEOPLE IS TAKING CARE OF THE BUSINESS
Over 2 decades following this simple rule, we created an incredible amount of psychological safety, where as a NxJumper, you don’t have to worry and can focus on taking risks, be fully present and engaged. In essence “Insurance”, where if something goes wrong, you know we have your back.
One of the top leaders in early childhood learning, Nancy Schulman describes Safety as:
- Safe to speak up
- Safe to be different
- Safe to take part in an activity you are not very good at
- Safe to risk making a fool of yourself
- Safe to be courageous
- And especially Safe to fail
- This is how RESILIENCE is built.
[NOTE: the opposite of “It’s impossible, why bother” mindset]
Too many organizations build culture from a DEFENSE perspective. Reactive, catching up to others, trying to make a problem go away. We have built culture from an OFFENSE perspective, to help increase chances of winning, in all of life, to become part of an elite high performance team. Our friend Arianna Huffington calls it: raising the bar from SURVIVING to THRIVING.
Brene Brown described Next Jump as: “The social and total health missions are two things that you do at a very different level and with a different intensity than 90% of the companies I’ve seen.”
Work is the New Community Center [Upgrade of our NYC headquarters is underway, scheduled to be completed this time next year]
We are working in partnership with MAD Architects, rising stars based out of China and now in the US, known for their ability to incorporate nature into their work. We are excited to share our designs which include a 300 person venue for TED-like talks and NxJ Leadership Academies, a roof garden and play areas for adults and NxJumper children creating a community-center, and some unique program elements associated to our developmental culture.
Nancy Schulman once said to us: “The number of F500 CEOs I meet, leading organizations with 10s of thousands of employees, but are terrified of their children.” In today’s VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), almost every child gets diagnosed with some type of disorder: physical or mental, at one or many points in their education. This cripples parents. We are developing the World’s Best Children’s Learning Center, receiving help and in partnership with the who’s who of experts (our TAKE), directly at work, with built in study and tutoring rooms at Next Jump. Our Kids Club already runs after school programs 2x per week, offering hip hop dance classes and karate in addition to our bouncy castle/jungle gym/arts center kids club rooms. By next summer, our program will run 5 days a week, including basketball camp, swimming lessons on our roof, cooking classes, organic vegetable gardening, robotics and programming (we are mostly engineers) and much more. Fridays are bring a friend/guest day.
As we experiment and learn, our intent is to then give away everything that works, plus all the lessons from our mistakes, to help every company (Our GIVE). We believe Work is the New Community Center.
Our architectural designs as of Sept 2017, we will share more designs and are always open to any ideas/suggestions:
Recognize your servant leaders [Avengers – those who help others succeed]
In August we recognized our top servant leaders, the top 3 people who helped others succeed the most, voted on by all NxJumpers. An Avenger is someone that is always working on themselves, so that they can help others. As our grand winner: Christian said: “It’s nobody’s job to stop what you’re doing and lend a hand. The amazing thing is anybody you ask, will help you out whenever you need. There are so many selfless people here.”
2017 AVENGERS AWARD Recipient:
Christian Lemieux from our Boston office was recognized & voted by his peers as the top servant leader at NxJ. We hid his family and surprised him as his mother, father and fiancé came out on stage.
AMY CUDDY was our GUEST SPEAKER:
This year we had Amy Cuddy as our keynote speaker. Amy is best known for her TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” which is the second most viewed TED Talk of all time. (41M views) Her work studies how posture can impact hormones in our body and affect our level of confidence. Her research touches on many areas pertaining to behaviors that can be adopted to become our personal best. She spoke to us about her work related to Presence.
She talked about how “our bodies change our minds, our behaviors change our outcomes. Act the way you’d like to become and soon you’ll be the way you act”.
Additionally, for the first time this year, we brought 3 of our VIP guests on stage and asked them to share what they’re doing. Daniela Morse in the field of Autism. Shimon Waronker with public schools. Jim Fadigan helping children learn again. Lastly, General Kelly, one of less than 2 dozen female generals in the U.S. Army, brought 3 NxJumpers on stage to “coin them” and thank them for their service in helping the military.
Summer Outing [1st ever surprise marriage proposal]
This year’s summer outing was full of fun activities for the kids, the adults and a special surprise proposal (a first for us at NxJ and something we will never forget) from Chenxi one of our newest employees to his girlfriend. Chenxi came to us and said, I am from China and all my family and friends are back home. I want to propose to my girlfriend and my family is here at Next Jump. Can I get some advice. After weeks of planning, a day of no eating for Chenxi, a surprise proposal in front of nearly 300 people brought almost everyone to tears. And of course lots of cheers and screams – once she said YES. Congratulations again to Chenxi and his bride-to-be!
We 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