Four thousand strong. The Thomson Reuters logo next to Disney’s. More than one hundred companies represented from the US and abroad. Table after table of GLBT employees, their supporters, and the companies who understand that diversity and equality are part of the fabric of innovation and excellence. As I entered the fully decorated and neon convention center hall, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of the event. A kick-off luncheon sponsored by Thomson Reuters with a rousing speech by Chris Perry, Managing Director, Risk Segment at Thomson Reuters, set the stage for the rest of the workshops. (more…)
The recent evolution of our customer experience journey
Over the past several years our company has been defining, articulating and optimizing our brand and end-to-end customer experience journey. During a recent hiking trip, I began thinking about how we create a natural rhythm across the company that is anchored within customer experience and that ultimately inspires brand loyalty.
Our customer experience analogy starts with preparation, ensuring we have the right equipment, maps, weather information and group for the attempt, getting to base camp, checking the route and conditions, hitting the first ridge, taking in oxygen, another check of the hike and ensuring we support each other to the summit together (without losing our water bottles along the way). Not for the faint- hearted! (more…)
Last Sunday, three days before my son Eli’s 6th birthday, I read an article in the New York Times’ Business section titled “No Six-Figure Pay, But Making a Difference.” The article focused on a non-profit called Venture for America that places smart, educated college graduates into a variety of situations, including cities that are at risk, start-ups, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are paid less than half of what they could be making in more traditional settings and companies. These young professionals are choosing to move to cities that may be unknown and companies just getting started. And they are thriving. There was a photo in the article of one participant’s notebook that stated, “My career is a choice that indicates my values.”
As I thought about our recent Thomson Reuters research on The New Professional, our global company, and my two small boys, I reflected on how proud I would be if they chose a career that matches their values, makes a difference, and contributes to a global marketplace. My older son wants to work at Thomson Reuters. Our research clearly articulates that professionals desire to bring their authentic selves into their work. They also want to work for a company that mirrors their values and are motivated by the ability to make a difference. To be purpose driven, socially and globally connected, and filled with the excitement of acquired knowledge.
Ernst & Young hosted a luncheon session on LGBT rights here at the Aspen Ideas Festival, titled “Is Corporate Ahead of Everyone Else in this Struggle?” I had the pleasure of being invited and asked to be a part of the conversation.
Thomson Reuters is working hard to create a platform that values diversity, and is committed to bringing more women and LGBT employees into our ranks. As I was listening to representatives from some of the largest public and private companies, as well as government agencies — both Republicans and Democrats — at this session, I was struck by the need to not just value inclusion, but infuse it into the DNA of our companies.
In order to create an authentic work environment, it is essential that we not only craft policies of inclusion but create a safe place for everyone to tell their stories. We learned from our recent Professional Revolution research that employees want to be authentic and bring their whole selves into the workforce. They want to contribute and have a purpose. Employees want to take all of their accumulated knowledge and feel like what they do makes a difference.
At the luncheon we reflected on how far corporations have come in terms of diversity and inclusions, its impact on a P&L, and the need for leadership to step up, and in some cases, come out. I was most encouraged by the level of dialogue about the LGBT community, and also women. We determined that success in this areas was dependent upon not only hiring, but retaining the best and brightest who seek diversity and inclusion.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA and Prop 8 so fresh, and the need for corporations to compete globally, most of the attendees at this session understand the need to add seats to the proverbial table, but are still not sure how to infuse into the DNA of their respective companies.
However, there was clear consensus that in order to do more than just give a nod to diversity, there is a need to believe that an inclusive company will be a thriving company. The day will come when diversity and inclusion is no longer just a policy, but a reality.
Today’s professionals have the skills and innovation mindset that will lead us toward renewed hope and optimism. Our research on the new professional suggests a new focus on collaboration, community, and a sense of purpose. Let me tell you a short story that helped me better understand the data.
As I drove my son to school one day, I was praising him for his record in running the mile faster than any other 4th grader in his school (He is nine and ran a 6.58 mile). He ignored me, which he often does. When I said it again he told me he was not the fastest runner. His friend Joey was. I asked how this could be and stressed that he should just claim his number one spot. He just ignored me. Joey and Mason have been running the mile for three years now at the beginning of each school year. It turns out that Joey got sick and didn’t finish the race.
About a week later, Mason asked his gym teacher if they could run again now that Joey felt better. This time Joey finished the race with Mason and their friend Sujit. Mason still finished the mile ahead of Joey by four seconds. Again, on the way to school, I told him how good of a runner he is and how proud he should be that he is first in his grade. Again, he told me I did not get it, that I didn’t understand anything. So I asked him what he meant. What was I missing? What did I not understand?
Today was the first full day of the Aspen Ideas Festival. The first full day of filling up on expansive ideas and insights. All industries and professions are represented here. Important ideas from a variety of perspectives are shared. Diverse partnerships are formed, and inspiration leads to innovation and proposals for action.
Thomson Reuters serves professionals who are knowledge workers who contribute to the global economy. Our customers defend the rule of law, create products and invent, run markets, manage compliance and pay close attention to news coverage. The Aspen Ideas Festival gives our organization the opportunity to showcase our expertise with Knowledge Exchange panels. It also provides a way of bringing new and innovative ideas back into our business to better serve our customers, partners and employees. Turning these ideas into action will enable our growth and help us to build a company that leads the way to enabling us to deliver information and solutions that will meet the changing and complex needs of our customers.
This festival is one way to stay current and visualize the future.
More to come.
At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we were pleased to host a Knowledge Exchange panel exploring the idea of “the new professional.” Our moderator Heidi Moore, New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for American Public Media’s “Marketplace” led the discussion. The conversation focused on changing values, skills, and the continuous need for individuals and companies to adapt. Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, stressed the need for professionals to be more self directed and take “responsibility for their own evolution.” He talked about adaptability being the new stability. He was joined on the panel with Deirdre Stanley, executive vice president and general counsel for Thomson Reuters, Mark Penn, worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller and Susan Peters, vice president of executive development and chief learning officer for General Electric Company.
Three big themes emerged. Technology and the reliance of networks and communities for information, distributed teams that bring multiple cultures and diverse thought together, and the true value of this new professional class emerging in terms of our ability to problem solve, interpret data and put into context. (more…)
From Assembly Line to Assembled Knowledge
In the 1950s, the assembly line was a conveyer belt we gathered around, each employee with a single task and a hope for years of service to the same company.
The new assembly is about connecting information, continuous learning, evolving skills, critical thinking, technology, networks and communities of diverse thought and contribution. We will assemble and reassemble and no longer accept stasis. The new professionals will assemble their worlds around adaptability.
In addition, the new professional life is no longer a hyphened life. Life is the frame. There is no longer a conflict between values at work and values at home. Life is merged, and the new professionals are structuring their lives based on mission and values. And many more, due to the economy or necessity, are choosing to be entrepreneurs, opting to start their own businesses.
The rapidly changing landscape and the need for our businesses to create a culture that cultivates curiosity and innovation and learning will be essential for the strength of our companies and strength of our economies. The new professional will fundamentally change how we think about organizational development, advancement, contribution and teams. Current cultures will be challenged.