Ep. 146 – In discussion with Scott Steinberg
In this episode of #TheSpeakerShow, Sean Pillot de Chenecey interviews Scott Steinberg. Hailed as ‘The Master of Innovation’ by Fortune magazine, he’s an award-winning strategic consultant, trends expert, professional speaker, and CEO of BIZDEV.
A bestselling expert on leadership, change, innovation, and one of America’s top futurists (per the BBC) he’s also the author of ‘Think like a Futurist’, ‘Make Change Work For You’, ‘Millennial Marketing’ and ‘Fast Forward’.
Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin said “If you really want to know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg” whilst he was described by the European Commission as “One of the best gurus on innovation + competitive advantage strategies to accelerate growth.”
In this highly informative episode, we discuss a range of his views on issues including:
- Trend Forecasting
- Leadership Training
- Reinventing Yourself
- The Future Workplace
- Future Areas of Growth
Episode audio & transcript
Connect with Speakers Associates
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (00:11): Hello, this podcast is care of Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau representing a select group of the business world’s finest thinkers and thought leaders. Founded in 1999, today Speakers Associates operate out of nine offices across seven countries covering the UK, Europe and Middle East. I’m Sean Pillot de Chenecey author of The Post-Truth Business and Influences & Revolutionaries, which are being followed by The New Abnormal. In this series, I interview a range of fascinating individuals, proudly represented by the bureau. These change agents and industry experts give an update on their specialist areas of knowledge, and also on their motivations and viewpoints regarding the future of business.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (01:06): So today I’m really pleased to be joined by Scott Steinberg. He’s a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and number one ranked business strategist technology, and trend forecaster. Hailed as The Master of Innovation by Chase Bank and Fortune magazine. And world’s leading business strategist, award-winning professional speaker and trends expert. Scott is a bestselling expert on leadership and innovation. The president and the CEO of BIZDEV, The International Association for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships. Recent books include Lead with Your Heart, Millennial Marketing, Make Change Work for You, 10 Ways to FutureProof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate and Succeed Despite Uncertainty. One of the world’s most celebrated business speakers futurists in strategic innovation consultants as seen in 600 plus outlets from CNN to Time and The Wall Street Journal. The Fortune 500 calls him a “defining figure in business and technology” and the “top trendsetter to follow.” So, an award-winning provider of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars for Fortune 500 businesses, nonprofits, associations, and educational institutes. His partnered with many leading organizations to deliver game changing leadership, education and change management programs. So Scott, hi, and how are you?
Scott Steinberg (02:34): I’m doing great. Sean, I’ve survived 2020, like most of us. So that’s a positive sign. Bigger and better things than 2021 to come. I’m sure how you doing on your end?
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (02:43): All fine. Thank you. Over here in a rather gray and gloomy sort of, early evening in the UK, but I’m gather with you it’s slightly better in the US.
Scott Steinberg (02:54): Well, gray and gloomy, depending on where you are, but you know what, it’s bright and sunny in the mind. We have Christmas coming up very shortly here and I think everybody is ready to keep the holiday season going.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (03:04): Yeah, yeah, exactly. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin obviously said, if you want to really know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg. So tell us, how did you get to where you are today?
Scott Steinberg (03:17): It’s kind of restrained background, I think persistence and force of will. So I started out as a college student wanting to work in the video games business. The problem being that I was on the other side of the country from Silicon valley, where most of that was headquartered. So I had to come up with a way to stay top of mind, get in front of folks and create some opportunities, which meant that I started writing for newspapers and magazines out of my dorm room. And that led me to contributing to about 600 different outlets from CNN to Time. I was covering technology and video games. And as a result of that, you can imagine innovation and change are a big part of that. There’s some of the fastest moving industries in the world, and that led to self-published books, consulting projects, speaking engagements and TV appearances. And over time we’ve evolved to become futurists and trend forecasters looking at what’s coming next, because as you might imagine, that was part and parcel with what we were doing for one industry. Anyway, makes sense, now that everybody is trying to stay ahead of the curve, that we would expand into other areas.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (04:16): And so tell me, just in terms of the, should you say, the trend forecasting market, the futurist market, et cetera. I mean, there are, you know, a lot of pretenders to the throne. You’ve got a fantastic reputation. So how does one, you know, like sort of demarcate yourself from, say from the others that are out there?
Scott Steinberg (04:38): Well, I appreciate the vote of confidence. There are a of people attempting to predict the future. Can’t always get it right. I doubt anybody could have told you that the hottest new job in 2020 was gonna be toilet paper salesman. Never could have predicted that coming into the year, but realistically, I think part of having done it for so long is that we’ve built a network of experts and folks who are feeding us information, even as we’re doing our own primary research and looking at what’s happening across society, across the shape of different markets, and then adding that all up and putting it through the lens of both qualitative question asking and quantitative math-based research to find out where the future is headed and get a sense as to where opportunities might lie, which is, I guess, a fancy way of saying we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Scott Steinberg (05:25): We seem to have pretty good luck at it. We can’t be perfect with every choice that we make, but we can certainly get a sense of where the future is going. I’d like to say that it’s not rocket science, especially if you’re monitoring what’s happening in the startup communities, the academic communities, if you’re seeing things trend in the news or your industry, you have a pretty good sense of where things are headed. Really, what you’re trying to do is more proactively maneuver yourself to get out in front of them and get the resources, skills, and capabilities that are gonna be in demand tomorrow. Today, before maybe even customers know that they’re going to be in demand or markets know that things are going to move in that direction and to also leave yourself enough flexibility that even if you don’t get your prediction perfectly right, you still have the ability to pivot and quickly steer yourself back to success on the dime.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (06:11): Okay. So, tell me in terms of where we are now, and as we are looking to, if you say the short to medium term future, perhaps you just give us a couple of examples of the type of sectors that you are keeping an eye on that you think are particularly dynamic at the moment.
Scott Steinberg (06:31): Well, obviously travel transportation, banking, retail, insurance, healthcare, any thing in which data can play a role. It’s only going to play more of a role going forward. So if you think about it, artificial intelligence was already on the radar, but going forward, it’s gonna become more and more a part of the everyday way that we do business and data in fact is going to become the lifeblood of any business in these spaces going forward. Retail is another great example of an area that’s being completely transformed by information and analytics because what’s happening is we’re having to get a heck of a lot more flexible about managing inventory, where we rightsize our efforts, where we’re placing our efforts and thinking about how we predict where customers needs are going to be going forward, because they are very fast changing. Then we’re consuming vast amounts of data, something along the lines of quintillions of bytes.
Scott Steinberg (07:21): So you will actually see more data points than there are stars in the sky going forward. And we’ve all gotta find ways to manage that cybersecurity. Another area that’s gonna be a hot button topic in 2021 and the years beyond because of course, hackers are always fighting an arms race with cybersecurity browse to defend this digital perimeter, all this online access and information that we’re all sharing, right? We’re sharing more and more sensitive data online at more touch points than ever before. All of which have to be defended. And of course, robotics will also play another big role going forward. We’re thinking about 5g wireless, high speed communications, while some of the things that you can do when you couple that with automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence, you can have entire warehouses picked, packed, and manned by drones. You don’t need humans in there, and you can have surgeons who can use robot arms to operate on patients, even from thousands of miles away in real time with 100% precision. And these are just a few examples of where the world is gonna be headed in just the coming years. A lot of this technology in fact is already here, if you believe.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (08:25): And then what about apart from the sectors that are like that? You mentioned your sort of things like sort of travel, and retail that are seeing absolutely dynamic and sort of, you know, catalytic with somewhat say very, very futuristic change. Are there again, are the, the other end of the scale, are there sectors out there that are struggling to keep up that are desperately behind the times?
Scott Steinberg (08:52): Well, I think we’re all trying to keep pace at this point, but if, like I was saying before, if you’re in the retail space, if you were in the brick and mortar business, well now you’re in the online ordering and curbside pickup business. If you were in the grocery business, once upon a time now everything is being done electronically. There are of course, many businesses that relied on manual or data entry. These are going by the wayside more and more of that is being done by computers. I think maybe the thing to keep in mind is that digital transformation isn’t new. We knew it was happening. What’s happened in 2020, is that trends that were there before have just been accelerated to a degree that we could never have envision. And so certainly we could video conference online, but now suddenly, well, we’re not traveling.
Scott Steinberg (09:31): We’re not going out. We’re not doing business meetings face to face. The gold’s standard in many ways is simply to do it online and that’s gonna transform the way that we work going forward. So I don’t wanna pick on any industries in particular, although I guess if you’re in the horse and buggy business, if you’re building carriages, you might have a problem. If you’re in the business of phone books, and printing paper products, maybe a tough one to be in at the moment. But I always say that simple changes can have a very big impact in business. And again, innovation is not rocket science. It’s not about having more resources. It’s about being more resourceful. And in fact, what you find is that even many legacy providers and legacy businesses and brands are finding ways through simple tweaks and simple changes to transform their fortunes almost overnight.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (10:15): So, on that exact point in terms of, as you’re saying, sort of legacy businesses, the, you know, those businesses that have been with us for a long time when you’re giving your talks, I mean, are there any particular, say legacy businesses or organizations that you point to actually, as examples of best practice you know, those ones that, have been around for a long time and suddenly indicate they’re gonna continue doing so because they’re doing things the right way.
Scott Steinberg (10:46): Well, I try not to again, go back to specific examples of ones that have done things wrong, but if I’m looking at ones that are doing things correctly, you might actually see that in the food and beverage space. There’s quite a few folks. Coca-Cola is a great example. For instance, what was fascinating to me was even a few years ago, before we had the shift to online, you had younger audiences, gen Yires, gen Zers, millennials, and the like who were moving away from drinking its soda products as often, and moving away from getting together in real life, as often as they were online, because they had the internet and these connected capability, but even companies like Coca-Cola are finding ways to say, okay, we need to radically reinvent the way in which we connect with these audiences, both online and off. And all they’re doing is saying well, okay, what are the 150 most popular names in any given country, boys and girls, first names printing ’em on Coke bottles that they’re already manufacturing and selling, and then advertising to people using social media, that they should grab a bottle of Coke and strike of a conversation and boosting sales tremendously and reengaging audiences just through simple tricks like this.
Scott Steinberg (11:46): So we have a lot of examples like that, of companies that are finding ways to turn it around. Or for example, you might say, okay, we’ve got COVID 19, suddenly might have caused problems for companies. Let’s say, who are doing online travel bookings and the like, but in fact, what happens if you look at some of them, they’re looking at their AI and their analytics, and they’re using it to surface insights that are helping them turn things around in record time. So a great example is a company called Snap Travel. And these guys in February were doing record numbers of bookings, but by March, they were down about 90%. They were laying off hundreds of.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (12:20): Whoa.
Scott Steinberg (12:20): Yeah, crazy. But here’s the funny thing. They looked at the data and the data says to them, you know what? You could actually be charging more for your services, not less, but what people want is a human concierge.
Scott Steinberg (12:31): They don’t want a computer to do you everything. They want a human concierge to help them manage all these complex bookings as they try and navigate these fast changing travel regulations. And in fact, even instituted this online tip jar, where if you wanted to show your appreciation for the help that you got managing your travel plans, you could do it. And in less than 60 days, they went back to being profitable and actually hitting record numbers. They’re more profitable than they ever have been in the past and are hiring back hundreds of people, except they’re not doing it in the field of travel agents per se or data entry. They’re doing it with people who can help with data analysis and research.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (13:06): Wow, fantastic.
Scott Steinberg (13:09): So unfornute thing can change on a dime. It’s really how you choose to look at things.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (13:15): And in terms of, as you say, how you choose to look at things, what about, I mean, I know you’ve, you know, written extensively, sort of, you know, highly successful books, alongside trend reports and all the rest of it. So what about the, you know, moving away perhaps from the corporate brand, or the organizational brand, what about the personal brand? Cause I know you’ve written a lot in it and you talk a lot about how to reinvent yourself. So for those listeners, or for those who are interested in organizing events where people can hear about how one can reinvent oneself for the future, perhaps just talk us through some of your tips there.
Scott Steinberg (13:54): Sure, sure. Well, the biggest thing if times, and trends are constantly changing is for you to stay in constant motion as well. And this doesn’t have to be complex, time consuming or especially challenging or difficult. In fact, again, simple changes can make a big impact here. So in one of our recent books, think like a futurist. One of the things I point out is that stuff is constantly changing. In fact, if you think about it, you’re given work priorities or scheduled, maybe changing day to day, hour to hour. So surprise, we’re all capable of dealing with change and disruption. In fact, we’re doing it quite effectively on any given 24 hour basis, which means that if you want to get a little bit better about reinventing yourself and planning for the future, you really just need to make a game of asking yourself what if a little bit more frequently and playing out different possible scenarios.
Scott Steinberg (14:42): The other thing too is to think about where markets are trending and what skills and talents are going to be in demand down the road and how you might go about picking those up today, which means that you really have to constantly be learning, growing, looking for opportunities to expand your horizons, to volunteer, to speak up, to maybe take an online class at night, to maybe say, who could I partner up with online to do a free little project that is going to expand my skillset and experience. And what you’re trying to is add a bunch of skills and talents to your professional toolkit that you can mix and match in different ways going forward and are applicable to multiple scenarios. So what I often tell people is on the one hand, you have to think about the fact that just like any given business, or maybe even a musical artist, you have to repackage and represent yourself, maybe reinvent yourself even every two years.
Scott Steinberg (15:32): But on top of it, you’re also trying to get these elastic skills that you can use in many different ways while also building out a professional network and not being afraid to reach out to people for help to reach out for opportunities and say, maybe I won’t make money right here and now, but if I’m learning a new skill, the new talent, or I’m undertaking a piece of work that will introduce me to new audiences or help me showcase my skilled in different arenas. Well guess what, I may be paving the way to future success in a much bigger scale.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (15:59): Very, very interesting. And then what about just fascinating me looking at your info online, just the, the sort of the actual breadth of companies, organizations that you’ve consulted for. So everyone from IBM through to the US Department of Defense, so that’s quite a broad jump. I would’ve thought.
Scott Steinberg (16:24): Yeah, well, so, I like to joke that, that back when I was a young lad before the last recession, I kind of got addicted to having three square meals a day. I like to eat, I like to stay employed and nothing is a given in life. Nothing is certain even once you’ve reached a certain level of accomplishment. And so we’re always trying to find ways to expand the markets that we serve, to find ways to use existing resources and capabilities and clever ways. So for example, I might have start on camera and many different video productions, but I also spend time in the evenings talking to videographers so I can figure out how to build my own productions, right. Just like our business started out on the video games and technology side. And these are industries where once upon a time products might have gone for $60 at retail.
Scott Steinberg (17:10): Well now suddenly you’ve got 500 new games being released in these smartphone to app stores for free every single day. So they’re kind of an area in the coal mining, and you’re realizing what do you have to do to stay competitive? And these types of fast moving environments, well guess what, insurance banking, retail, even the sciences, all these other arenas where maybe things don’t move as fast people are now suddenly realizing that they’d like to learn from that. And we’re able to create online courses and workshops that can help them using principles learned in one industry that are now applicable to a dozen others. So again, it’s just kind of a function of maybe it’s having ADD maybe it’s being a little bit hardheaded, but we’re always trying to push, always trying to work towards tomorrow. Paycheck’s never certain in any industry, no matter how experienced you are. So I find it’s a good habit to get in like I was saying to stay in constant motion.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:00): And in terms of areas that are, or do we say yeah, actually sort of physical areas. So, nations or regions that of the world that are particularly, dynamic, do you look to any particular areas and think, wow, that is somewhere to really keep an eye on, for any particular reason?
Scott Steinberg (18:19): Well, we’re always looking to Asia to see what’s going on there. They seem to be several steps ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, when it comes to consumer electronics and online softwares service products, we also tend to look at regions like Australia and New Zealand, especially when it comes to medicine lately, they seem to be running circles around certain nations. We won’t mention any names.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (18:40): Please, don’t.
Scott Steinberg (18:42): The other thing too, I think is Europe, as far as what’s happening in the arts and sciences, great place to look, US Silicon Valley, seeing what’s happened with startups, actually, Texas now is becoming the next Silicon valley. We’re just hearing about more and more companies moving there. But one of the things I like to remind people is that the first rule of innovation is that there are no rules and that great ideas can come from anywhere, anytime. Right? In fact, there’s probably a 16 year old kid who’s sitting in her bedroom right now is coming up with the next great idea. That’s going to make them the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, even while Fortune 500 companies are trying to crack the same market and failing at it. So barriers to entry in any given field are going down, it’s becoming cheaper and more simple than ever to launch a new product or try a new venture.
Scott Steinberg (19:28): So what you’re gonna find is that it really pays to keep your eyes and ears open, to be looking all over the place and to be open to ideas. And that’s maybe an important takeaway here too, is we always say you gotta have an open door policy. So yeah, you might be a bestselling futurist, but you still gotta hear what the new interns have to say, because oftentimes the people who are down there in the trenches and dealing with these new and awful problems most frequently, they’re gonna be the ones that did the teachers, whereas previous generations maybe are the students.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (19:57): Interesting, you saying, just now about the next Silicon Valley being in Texas. So perhaps just talk a bit more about that. So what’s going on there and what’s driving there?
Scott Steinberg (20:07): You know, we’re seeing that a number of companies like Tesla and Oracle are migrating to the region video game businesses certainly had a large presence there. I think what’s happened is work is becoming a little bit more of a diaspora now that you don’t have to be concentrated in specific large regions. And you don’t have to be concentrated in California or New York, or maybe states where there’s a higher cost of living. So what we’re finding is that areas of the country like Texas, where they provide tax incentives or government is very supportive of entrepreneurship and innovation, where there’s a proud history of technology and forward thinking that these are the types of areas that are increasingly going to grow. As people migrate out of these big, expensive cities like San Francisco and New York, not that I would knock ’em great places to hang out, great places to live. However, what’s maybe happening as people are realizing that they have more opportunities and the future of work really is going to become more flexible.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (21:00): And flexible, perhaps you just talk us through a bit more of that in terms of how work will adapt and evolve in the future?
Scott Steinberg (21:09): Sure, sure. So what we’re seeing with the future of the work is that it’s gonna become more hybrid and it’s gonna become more dynamic. And what you’re gonna find is that it’s not an either or scenario, the irony being managers if you look at the surveys, want employees to come back into the office, kind of an issue of control, but the employees themselves overwhelmingly do not want to come back. So what’s happening is a lot of organizations are saying, well, wait a minute, right? We need to find a way to walk that line. And we need to find a way to help meet people’s individual needs based on their individual scenarios, because we’re all in different regions of different countries. We’re all dealing with different lockdown measures, different things at home. Maybe somebody’s a working parent versus a college student versus a senior executive.
Scott Steinberg (21:51): And we gotta design work opportunities, flexible models, and methods, even flexible benefits that speak to their individual desires and their individual needs. So what’s happening is you’re seeing a group of companies, for example, like Palo Alto Networks on the cybersecurity space or companies like Square and online payments. They’re saying maybe the office building, right? It doesn’t have to be where you come into eight hours, nine hours. And some of our cases, 12 hours a day, five days a week, but maybe it’s just a space for brainstorming collaboration and teamwork and culture building. Maybe you only need to be there two or three days out of the week. Maybe you only need to be there if you have a specific purpose for doing so and everything else can be done online. And by the way, right, maybe what you need if you’re a working parent is some money that you can spend on benefits to help with babysitting so that you can get the help that you need to be more productive. However, maybe if you’re single and you’re 22 and you wanna work your way up the corporate ladder, maybe what you need is more mentorship or online learning or a budget that you can spend and on online classes as well. So it’s all over the board. It’s dynamic, but just like the meeting is an events business. We think it’s gonna be a split of real world interaction combined with online and distance interaction.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (23:00): OK. OK. And then what about the home of the future? What’s gonna be happening there then?
Scott Steinberg (23:07): A lot is the short answer. So we’re already talking to our smart speakers, right. But what you’re going to find going forward is you’re going to have smart bathrooms, for example, where when you wake up, they’re going to heat the floor tiles. So it’s not freezing in the morning in the middle of winter. And by the way, you’re gonna be sitting in front of the mirror. You can try on different clothes virtually using digital signage. And if it knows that you finish shaving and that you’ve tidied up and you’re about ready to head out the door, okay, well guess what, the car’s gonna auto start for you. So it’s warmed up before you even get there and you don’t have to freeze your buns off. On top of it, we’re also gonna see the TV more than the computer probably will become the heart of the digital home because it’s in an area where every, everybody congregates and gathers, and it really can be a great hub, not only for entertainment, but also communications.
Scott Steinberg (23:55): In fact, one of the things that fascinates me with smart home devices at the moment is you see Facebook’s portal out there. It’s sort of a little video conferencing device with a camera that can track you and people are using it when they call their grandparents because the camera can pan around and follow the kids. But think about that. Why are we paying tens of thousand dollars of for corporate video conferencing systems? When we could probably just use very parts of devices for less than a hundred dollars a pop and do it while we’re sitting in our living rooms and working remotely. So gonna see the home of the future, it’s gonna include everything from refrigerators that can tell you when you are running low on dinner items to smart stoves, that will actually allow you to download recipes, right, to a video screen then and there, or maybe even help bachelors figure out how to help to cook something beyond macaroni and cheese without messing it up on a dime.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (24:48): Okay. And then what about, areas that you yourself find dynamic and inspiring? So, you know, if you are spending your time, consulting on this, talking about this, you know, running workshops, etcetera. Yeah. So where, where do you find your inspiration?
Scott Steinberg (25:09): Sure. Well, a lot of people have hoo pooed the idea of self-driving vehicles, but it may interest you to know that there are entire fleets of trucks moving cargo around the US that are completely self-driven at this point. On top of it, we’re also seeing more and more happen in the field of digital signage. So imagine walking into a store and it basically could tell you, oh, it’s raining outside. Maybe you would like to grab a raincoat. And by the way, the items in your size are up on floor three, follow these signs and will take you there. I also find all sorts of inspiration in what’s happening in terms of online streaming. Also user generated content is a big area of interest for me. What you see is all sorts of online communities and video game communities popping up where they’re actually allowing their users, not only to create 3D avatars in themselves, but entire games.
Scott Steinberg (25:55): If you go on online universes like Roblox, you’ll see people are building little games within a game or content that you can share, new characters, vehicles, things like that, and they’re selling it and creating their own independent businesses. I also think there’s a lot happening in the world of retail and fashion that we’re kind of fascinated to look at because you see all these popup boutiques based around emerging trends and entertainment and wellness that are very quickly on a dime coming up with these clever installations that they’re putting in front of people at high traffic areas. They’re becoming more and more like virtual showrooms, where you can browse things on a tablet, order it on demand and personalize everything from shoes to hats and scarves, but perhaps more than anything else. I think a lot of where we draw inspiration from and where I like to take a look at is what’s happening in the world of independent music.
Scott Steinberg (26:41): So that’s kind of a business that’s obviously been beaten up quite a bit in recent years. It’s had to rethink where it draws its revenues from in a world of free and online streaming. But you find all these creative minds, all these wonderful artists coming up with these clever ways to stand out on the internet, get their music art. And even if they’re not making money, selling albums themselves to find 50 different ways to monetize. So if you wanna talk about anybody, who’s finding ways to thrive in a pressure cooker. I think you find some great examples there.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (27:09): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very much so. Okay. Perhaps if it’d be good to just take us through some of your books, Scott, because you’ve got a real, again, a sort, a real breadth of content there. So, yeah, perhaps, perhaps it’s sort of starting with Lead with Your Heart. Just, yeah. Take us through what you were writing about there.
Scott Steinberg (27:31): Sure. So we’ve got a number of books out there. I think crazily, we’re probably up to 18 or 19 at this point, more than any human should do. Assuming people even read anymore, but, I kid, I kid. Obviously audio books are on the rise, but Lead with Your Heart. What we did there was we wanted to say, okay, the importance of being an authentic leader, can’t be understood. So you really have to lead by example. And if you think about it in the world of social media, if you think about it in the world of sales and marketing, people connect with brands that really speak to their hearts, speak to their passion, speak to their interests and that they identify with, although we’ve also done other books like Make Change Work for You, which is about how to deal with change and disruption. And what we found there was in fact, whether you’re an organization or an individual, the real determinant of success comes down to seven different flavors of fear, such as fear of embarrassment or failure because realistically anybody is capable of achieving anything and organizations are always capable of finding ways to get ahead.
Scott Steinberg (28:32): It’s just more a matter of your willingness to constantly keep pushing forward despite setbacks and pick yourself back up off the ground and be a little bit more resilient. We’ve also done like Think like a Futurist, which is about how to see what’s coming next around the bend, where I argue that effectively, all of us are futurists at heart. It’s just a question of asking yourself some key questions a little bit more frequently going forward and making a point to think a few steps ahead. And on top of this, another book we recently did was Fast Forward, which is all about how to turbocharge business sales and career growth. Because what I think most people miss is there are oftentimes a lot of shortcuts that you can use as accelerants that can help you achieve any goal. And if you think about it as a business, there’s so many templated tools and technologies that you can pull off the shelf and quickly retrofit or adapt to install new solutions or to implement new business processes without having spend a fortune or take a ton of time.
Scott Steinberg (29:28): Just like if you’re an individual, there are many ways to vault ahead and get yourself ahead in business without having to have a good publicist. So we’ve covered a lot of stuff. And I, I think the common thread through it is if you’re in the business of change and innovation, you’re constantly finding ways to adapt, which means finding ways to stay in touch. And top of mind with customers finding ways to connect with an audience and to influence an audience and finding ways of course, to stay competitive, no matter how many rivals are just a click or call away. So in the coming year, we’ll be talking about everything from digital transformation to customer experience, but it all goes back to really how do you stay relevant?
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (30:05): Yeah. Yeah. And then what about one of the other, books you’ve written? I know, Millennial Marketing Bridging the Generation Gap, perhaps just to talk us through some of the topics that you covered there.
Scott Steinberg (30:16): Sure. Well, that’s a book title’s a little misleading in that, we’re covering all younger generations, gen Z, gen alpha as well. But what we’re really thinking about is what resonates with them and how is it that younger generations like millennials and gen Zers think differently from the audiences which came before. And you also have to keep in mind one of the funny things we like to touch on is how do you do business in a world where their average human attention span is about eight seconds, but a goldfish is nine seconds by comparison. The way in which you choose to engage, speak to and work with millennials who by the way are now the single biggest generation in the workforce is completely different than the way that you would do it with my generation gen Xers or baby boomers. So it’s really about thinking about shifting trends across the generation and how do you do business in a world where five different generations are now colliding in the workforce.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (31:08): And just on that exact point, so perhaps just give us a few tips there in terms of exactly that. So, you know, perhaps system, you talk about some of the tensions perhaps between for instance, millennials and boomers. And then, how, if you are running a business, how do you deal with that? How do you get ’em to work together?
Scott Steinberg (31:29): Well, one big source of tension seems to be the fact that millennials really do like positive reinforcement and they like to see the glance, how their efforts are making a difference for their community, for their company and for their colleagues. So, whereas once upon a time time, maybe baby boomers or gen Xers were left alone to be more self-starters, millennials really want more feedback, more responsibility and more chances to move the needle on a much more frequent basis. So you have to think about how do you constantly create positive reinforcement and a sense of momentum form just like younger audiences, gen Z and gen alpha, maybe are more fluent in technology and used to picking things up and being able to run with it at it go. So once upon a time, whereas we had classroom learning and thick textbooks and all these fundamental exercises, maybe they want to throw all that out. Maybe they just want you to create interactive simulations or VR simulations where they can learn by doing and they just on a headset and dive right in. So it really forces you to cut to the quick of any given lesson or any given project and think about how are you staying in constant communication with your workforce and how are you always inspiring and motivating them to take positive action while also empowering them to function like leaders, even if they don’t have a formal leadership role in their title.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (32:48): Very interesting. Okay. So, and as we begin to look to the end, it’s been absolutely fascinating to, to move this really, really dynamic conversation. Scott, what about, so yeah, so what’s coming up for you then, personally in terms of, perhaps looking through next year. So, yeah. Your plans.
Scott Steinberg (33:08): Yeah. Well, we’ve got big, big, big plans. Like everybody else, we’re gonna be moving a mile a minute. So right off the ban, we recently launched BIZDEV, which is the International Association for Business Development Strategic Partnerships, and we’ll be launching more online events, publishing more research, doing more coursework and online workshops. On top of that, I’ll have a number of books coming out on a variety of topics from customer experience to cybersecurity and digital transformation. We’ll of course continue to do a number of keynotes speeches, got a number of sales kickoffs in the pipeline and seeing and moderation for corporate events, lot of consulting work, as you can imagine, everybody in different spaces from retail and banking to fashion and beauty picking up the phone and giving calls as a popular year, I think in 2021, maybe a popular decade betting on how things trend to be in the business of being a futurist. And actually, I will probably think about expanding because it’s our most popular topic and course by far the how to be a futurist or how to think like a futurist concept and create some online programming and help people dive a little bit deeper into what’s coming next, because it seems like lately everybody is looking for better, more effective ways to see ahead of the curve.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (34:17): Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That sort of some, you’re gonna have a absolutely scintillating 2021. So in that case, just a final thing. So, perhaps, if you give us, if you could just leave us with some key takeaway points or insights Scott.
Scott Steinberg (34:32): Sure, sure. I think the number one point to keep in mind going forward is that flexibility is the essence of future proofing and that you don’t necessarily need to be a genius to get ahead in business anymore. Just a little bit more clever and ingenious instead. So as you’re going about evaluating where you spend time, money, and effort, you gotta keep in mind that all are finite resources and you gotta design your strategies in such a way that you can more rapidly adapt and pivot, which may mean when you’re exploring new opportunities, you don’t necessarily go for the biggest payday or you don’t go for the most cutting edge or futuristic technology, but rather you think about what creates new bridges to future opportunity in case the market takes a sudden unexpected term. And what we also say is that if you’re a business and you wanna stay ahead of the curve, you really have to invest in a portfolio, different strategic innovations. And the way you do that is by constantly rolling out and trying new things, using failure as a learning opportunity, that can be very small, smart cost effective and controlled. And based on the feedback that you get from the marketplace and adapting and iterating your strategies to be more effective going forward. So really what we’re talking about is how do you find ways to gently dip your toes into the water in different directions, and only when you found firm ground ahead, that’s when you start to double down and really push forward.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (35:54): Absolutely superb. Okay. Scott, well look, final thing. I’ve obviously, I’m sure virtually all, if not all of the listeners around the world will be entirely clear about where you are, but just in case some of the new ones are not, just remind us in that case, where can they track you down?
Scott Steinberg (36:08): You can visit my website. You can go to either futurists, plural speakers.com or a keynote speaker.com, or you can just punch our name into Google. We are pretty easy to find one of the side effects of being in the technology business for over 20 years.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:22): Well, look, that was absolutely brilliant. So, what can I say, but, thank you so much to the best selling author, keynote speaker and number one ranked business strategist technology, and trend forecaster, Scott Steinberg.
Scott Steinberg (36:37): Thank you, Sean. I appreciate it. Good luck forging ahead. 2021 and beyond we’re gonna make it. I’m confident.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:43): Absolutely. Thanks Scott.
Sean Pillot de Chenecey (36:54): Thank you for listening to The Speakers Show podcast. Please leave a rating on iTunes. We’d really appreciate it. And also it’d be great if you could subscribe to the podcast itself. You’ll find it also on Google podcasts, SoundCloud, or your favorite podcast app. Thank you.
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Sean Pillot de Chenecey
Foresight strategist, author and podcast host Sean Pillot de Chenecey is an inspirational speaker, who’s also consulted for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Sean has a very deep level of knowledge regarding the genuine issues impacting brands from a cultural, social and business perspective.