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What Does It Mean to Be a Leader in the Age of AI? Part 1

With the advent of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning, it’s time to re-evaluate how we hire, train and lead our employees.

The ability to do a job faster or cheaper will no longer be what sets an organization apart from its competitors, but rather the ability of organizations and its human component to critically and strategically think for the organization and its customers.

With improved critical thinking, machine learning and A.I., an organization will be able to move faster and more effectively than its competitors making it both more interesting and challenging for its human workforce and valuable to its customers.

In an A.I. environment, co-workers will be expected by its customers and the organization to work in teams, improve communication with customers, come up with original thoughts and strategies, explain how A.I. came up to its conclusions and implement their strategies. Objectives of the organization and its customers probably will not change (e.g. enhanced customer and trusted relationships, bottom and top line growth). However, the way the organization uses its human components will change dramatically.

What does it mean to critically think? According to the Foundation for Critically Thinking.org you and your co-workers should be able to:

  • Raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely.
  • Gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively.
  • Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
  • Thinking open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs to be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences.
  • Communicate effectively with others (in teams) in figuring out complex solutions.

How to go about implementing and dealing with co-workers who are unfamiliar or unable to cope with the new paradigm?

  • Link their compensation and future to these management objectives so they realize the importance of these new organizational directives.
  • Identify your stars who understand and employ “critical thinking” methods and encourage them to lead by giving them authority and autonomy to do so.
  • Recognize, embrace and communicate this as a cultural shift that will enhance the well- being and livelihood of everyone involved.
  • Be prepared to promote team members that exhibit these skills and counsel out those who can’t adopt.
  • Prioritize these skill sets as a core competency of new hires.
  • Make it as a top goal for your organization.
  • Hire the right professionals.
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Accountability – I Want to Count on You!

Accountability is defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. Without it, you would live and work in a world without confidence. It would be almost impossible to plan a day if you had no reasonable confidence that, at the very least, people would show up and complete their tasks. Envision a workplace where no one did what they said they would do. A place where no one felt responsible for themselves or their team. Is that where you want to work?

If you want people around you to be accountable, then you must do what you say, too. You don’t live in a vacuum; you work with a team. Following through on your own obligations creates a better work environment for all the stakeholders.  Take 10% of the time that you worry about others doing their job and concentrate on yourself. Take being judgmental attitudes and take a good look at your own behavior.  How are you contributing to a more successful workplace? If you say you will get it done, do you?  If not, do you take responsibility or find blame?  Replace blame with understanding how you may have created a situation that went awry. Make sure you are setting an example that you want to be followed.

What do you need to do to ensure that your culture breeds accountability and removes the fear of admitting when errors are made?

“It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.”

—John Baptiste Moliere

Excerpt from Blueprint for Employee Engagement – 37 Essential Elements to Influence, Innovate & Inspire. (Coming December 2017)

Julie Ann Sullivan’s focus is on employee engagement and creating workplace cultures where people want to come to work.  Julie Ann works with companies to develop people who are engaged, productive and appreciated. She hosts the Mere Mortals Unite and Businesses that Care podcasts on C-Suite Radio .  For more information go to http://julieannsullivan.com/


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What I’m Thinking

I’m concerned with Inequality. Chuck Collins, great grandson of Chicago meat packer Oscar Mayer has been a great teacher for me. Too many of us only read and listen to Twitter feeds, or the talking heads on radio and TV and never really understand the economics, let alone the human dignity involved in racial, gender, and income inequality. Chuck’s book is “Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good”. Great read. Bill Gates, Sr. is part of the story.

As an executive coach, business consultant and business journalist I work hard to help my clients and Business Builders Show subscribers to go deeper on the issues they face today and will face tomorrow. I recommend they go beneath the headlines to understand what’s really happening in our system of governing. For instance – do you really understand the Estate Tax?

Click here to listen to my latest interviews with Chuck Collins. You can follow him at www.inequality.org.

Love to hear your feedback.

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7 Questions You Can Ask That Will Make You a Better Negotiator

Questions form the foundation for the exchange of information in a negotiation. To the degree you ask better questions, you’ll achieve greater negotiation outcomes. The following are 7 questions you can ask that will make you a better negotiator, and enhance the probability of your negotiation outcomes.

  1. Did you hear what you just said?

This question can be used to draw attention to a point that you wish to highlight. It can also serve as a distraction away from a point that doesn’t serve you.

  1. What’s the best outcome you’d like to see us reach?

This question gets at the heart of what the other negotiator would like   to see as a ‘best outcome’ situation, which gives you insight into his thought process.

  1. What’s most important to you in this negotiation?

Similar to question number 2, you’ll gain insight into the thought process of the other negotiator, which will give you a glimpse of how to negotiate with her. You’ll also get an idea of her priorities.

  1. What concerns do you have about this negotiation, this point, etc.?

This serves as a way to probe deeper into the mindset of the opposing negotiator per what he fears the most about the outcome of the negotiation. Observe his body language. If he says he doesn’t   have any concerns. Note if he sits back or leans forward as he’s speaking. If he leans forward, he’s more likely not to be concerned at that time. If he leans away, that could indicate he does have concerns, he might not want to share them with you at that time.

  1. What can we do to get past this impasse?

By getting his perspective, you gain a sense of how you might unravel the impasse. If you can adopt his suggestions, to the degree they serve you, you’ll be granting him the outcome he wants. That means he’ll buy into it. Remind him that you’re following his suggestions if he balks later.

  1. Why is that so important?

First, be observant of your tone when posing this question. Your tonality might be perceived as the matter being trivial. If it possesses true value to her, you don’t want to give the impression that it’s not a big deal, especially if it is to you. By doing so, she could say, okay, then give it to me. That would leave you in a weakened position.

  1. What can I do to make things right?

Be very cautious when asking this question. You don’t want to open the floodgates by allowing the other  negotiator to ask for the moon and you not be able to grant the request. On the opposing side, once again, you get a sense of what it might take to make it better, which means you can choose to grant some or none of the requests.

As you can see, the questions you pose during a negotiation set the tone and pace of the negotiation. The questions above can be strategically used during a negotiation to direct or redirect the negotiation in a particular direction that serves your purpose. To do so, use the questions in the order that are best suited for your purpose based on when a particular question is needed. If you do this masterfully, you’ll leave the negotiation with more gains than you otherwise might have had … and everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!



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Eve of Disruption – Future of Work

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the words “FUTURE OF WORK?”

I recently went to a well curated panel event hosted by The Freelancers Conference on the topic of “Future of work.”  The first thought in one of the panelists was fear.  Fear of what is going to happen and how do we go through the change and accept it.  There was fear that “robots” (technology) would replace entry level jobs. There was fear of the implications of remote working on infrastructure if people didn’t drive to work on a normal basis.  There was fear of what does career mean versus work.  There was fear on how the continued interaction between all the generations in the work force will affect the “stability” of what is work today.  With the entry of the millennial into the workforce and the proliferation of technology (social media, phones) there has been a shift in the path, individuals are taking for their career.  For those in the Gen-X generation and older, we were taught to go to college, maybe get a graduate degree, get a corporate job, go up the ladder and on the way get married, have children, buy a house and car.  This would bring about stability so we could retire and enjoy life when we were “older.”

The world has changed since we have grown up and the future of work is definitely in a different place.  Between 1975 and 2015, life expectancy at birth increased from 72.6 to 78.8 years for the total U.S. population. We are living longer for multiple reasons including better: health systems, infrastructure, food sources etc.  It also means that we have a longer span to support our lifestyles and many people are not retiring to just live out the rest of their lives and have fun. The boomer generation is not retiring  as we expected and the millennial generation is entering the workforce at the same time making a paradigm shift on how work should be done and what matters.   Millennials are driving the notion that work should be purpose driven. They want to have experiences in their life now. We have generations in the workforce who didn’t expect to be working past retirement or having multiple careers.  On the flip side you have generations coming into the workforce who know they will have longer lives and be working multiple jobs throughout their lives.  The definition of career versus work has changed dramatically and means different things to every person.

This trend is showing that more people are thinking about their individual path in the scheme of helping our world survive as we go through these massive changes.  As business people we are digitizing individualization through social media, technology such as AI and big data to see products and services.  These technologies also change how people conduct their own work.  Technology will make it easier to do many jobs in a more efficient manner.  Interestingly, many companies are cropping up to help corporations focus on their “employees” (stated loosely as it could include freelancers etc).  However, if you go into many large corporations they still struggle providing the same environment inside their business as their employees are living outside.  A large Fortune 10 company based in a small town wants to be the retailer of the future.  Yet Airbnb, Uber and other tech companies in the sharing economy are still “new” fangled companies in 2017.  If your employees are not experiencing or researching the end customer, you won’t be able to keep up with the times and you will also lose employees very quickly as opportunity to be engaged and grow is everywhere.

The trust level between employees and employers is starting to deteriorate and that will be one of the many downfalls of the current system. Individuals are beginning to realize they have more freedom in their lifestyles as freelancers and the numbers are growing rapidly, to 1/3 of the American workforce.  This changes the dynamic of businesses who are hiring individuals who want to work remotely, don’t really care for employee benefits or the physical spaces in offices.  This will change how office space is designed and how HR processes are managed.  Yet, these individuals want to be seen as people and the human element comes into play.  When we are taught that scale drives business and revenues, it will get harder to engage employees for the individual mindsets that they bring to the table.

There are lots of aspects of the future of work that are being worked on by many different groups right now.  There are businesses that help executives understand their new workforce which is multi-generational, diverse and has a new mindset on the future.  Other companies help businesses to design their future physical space and separately companies who help create the technology infrastructure to manage remote employees.  Focusing on individualization of employees is going to be critical as we move forward and new ways of doing business come about.  Laws, retirement age, work hours, work ethics, rules, HR processes, physical space, city infrastructure, products and services are just the tip of the iceberg on what will change as we move forward.

What does Future of Work mean to you as an individual and what changes do you see right now?


Welcome to the Eve of Disruption. A weekly series depicting what the future fabric of our society could look like. There is a changing paradigm in how we live, work and play. Are you and your organization moving with the times and adapting to the massive and rapid changes happening right now? The Eve of Disruption looks at ideas that could be 5 – 10 years in the future but most likely will happen in the blink of an eye. #jointhejourney

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The Most Powerful Skill You Need to Succeed in the C-Suite

Demetri Argyropoulos Avant Global CEO and Founder

Whether you’re CEO of a multi-billion-dollar brand, or a start-up working towards Series A, there is one thing every executive has in common; you want to get to the next level and expand your customer base. Unfortunately, for most companies, it can be extremely challenging to keep up with change.

At the speed of light, corporate cultures are transforming and innovative technologies call for new leadership skills.

The upside is, regardless of how fast the world moves around you there’s one thing that will always stay the same, the most important skill you need to master to prosper in business.

Visionary entrepreneur Demetri Argyropoulos is well-known from New York to Silicon Valley as the king of connections.

His investment firm, Avant Global, has generated over $10 billion in revenue for clients and created strategic relationships for the world’s wealthiest, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Lady Gaga and Bill Clinton.


Argyropoulos was an early investor in Twitter, RedBull and DocuSign, and his Venture Capital fund, AG Venture Capital & Investments, has seeded over 50 diverse start-ups.


Argyropoulos credits his success to one invaluable skill…Networking.


C-Suite TV Correspondent Nicole Sawyer caught up with Demetri to talk about the most powerful skill you need to master to succeed in the C-Suite, and the biggest mistakes executives make when trying to build a strategic relationship.


Nicole Sawyer: What is the most powerful skill to have at the C-Suite Level?
Demetri Argyropoulos: The ability to bring value to your clients and your team. Typically, this value is brought forth through introducing and fostering unique relationships. All businesses and CEOs, despite how powerful they may be, depend on access to strategic relationships. These strategic relationships should monetize the company’s ecosystem, strengthen its platform and give a competitive edge over others with sustainable differentiation in the marketplace.


Sawyer: What personality traits do successful C-Suite Leaders have in common?
Argyropoulos: The most important trait we all have in common is the ability to know what the market wants before it actually happens. This comes from an innate understanding of one’s customers or clients. From there, you must be able to make decisions quickly, execute that vision, while staying one step ahead of the rest. All great CEOs are forecasters and firefighters.


Sawyer: When it comes to managing your own career, how do you prepare yourself to reach the next level?
Argyropoulos: I always have my ultimate end goal in mind. If you understand your end-game, you are able to manifest that into a reality. I always measure progress against this end goal and quantify it along the way with revenue, timelines and objectives.


Sawyer: How do you know who the right connections are for different types businesses?
Argyropoulos: The key here is to understand the objective at hand – what are you trying to accomplish? What is the client trying to achieve? Once you understand that objective, you need to dig deeper to understand the context. This is done through research and by understanding the current behavior at hand to figure out the next important introduction to make. And always remember, relationships only work if there’s equal or greater value on both sides.


Sawyer: You’ve worked with anyone from Bill Clinton to T-Boone Pickens, what is the secret to get their attention and maintain a business relationships with well-known people who are in high demand?
Argyropoulos: When you bring value to a relationship, even if it’s the busiest CEO on the planet, he or she will still make time for you. However, following-up is key, especially for those who are extremely busy. Most people don’t follow-up, which in business, can lead to distrust. You have to always do what you say you are going to do. It’s that simple.


Demetri Argyropoulos, Avant Global Founder with client T-Boone Pickens, Chairman and CEO of Hedge Fund BP Capital.


Sawyer: Where do business leaders fail when trying to create a relationship?
Argyropoulos: Oftentimes, their approach may be too aggressive and their message may not be clear enough.


Every successful relationship and every failed relationship is a consequence of one thing: how well, or poorly, you communicate. Clear communication is important to set from the beginning.


Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask the question, “Why do I want to work with this person?” Again the answer comes down to the value you can bring. Deliver value and these problems go away.


Sawyer: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when following up?
Argyropoulos: They’re not entirely truthful. Be impeccable with your word. Just do what you say you’re actually going to do. This is so important when building trust in an influential relationship and so few actually do it.


Sawyer: What’s your advice for dealing with people you don’t like? Difficult people ?
Argyropoulos: Try not to. Seriously. I have a no a-hole rule. I’ve fired billionaire clients before because it just wasn’t worth it. At the end of the day, a billionaire is not better than someone starting out, and vice versa. You have to always respect others and the unique qualities and differences we all have.


Sawyer: If your personality is more of an introvert and networking doesn’t come natural to you? How can an individual make connections if they really don’t like talking to people?
Argyropoulos: For starters, that’s where companies like ours, Avant Global, come in handy. Sometimes we partner with, or get hired by executives who are not very social so we help to manage new relationships and introduce them to the businesses they need to get in front of. Let’s be clear, we’re not a social firm! But for those who are more introverted, we simply want them to be the best at what they excel at and we’ll do the rest. We can’t all be great at everything.


Sawyer: What’s one example of a major acquisition Avant Global made that transformed its valuation and what can business leaders learn from this example?
Argyropoulos: In the case of Owl Biomedical, we took its technology that had been developed and in existence for ten years and formed a new company with this technology in mind and capitalized on it. We sold it to a multi-billion dollar medical device company in Germany called Miltenyi.


From this example, business leaders can learn that if you know how to assemble the pieces of a company/deal: IP, human capital, and usually a combination of both, you then have all the key pieces … it becomes about execution and creating value to the market.


Sawyer: Your investment portfolio includes more than 50 diverse startups. What sectors are you watching to find value now?
Argyropoulos: We want someone who is ahead of the curve in terms of where the market is heading- who is that next big game changer? Right now we like the sectors of machine learning, data science and big data for startups. We’re also always looking for disruptive investments in high-growth companies in tech, energy, real estate and consumer products.


Sawyer: What qualities do successful entrepreneurs have that make them stand out from the herd?
Argyropoulos: All successful entrepreneurs are tenacious and never give up. Stay focused on your mission with your goal in mind. Successful entrepreneurs also aren’t afraid to fail because they have the ability to see things others may not. It’s okay to have bumps along the way, but that fresh perspective is what’s going to set you apart.


Sawyer: What advice do you have for a startup to break down barriers when approaching a well-known brand about a strategic partnership?
Argyropoulos: It’s a great time to be a startup. We’ve never seen so many large corporations working with startups. I’d advise a startup to think about how its technology could actually benefit the large brand it’s approaching. Many big companies realize that if they don’t change quickly with the times, and evolve, their number may be up. Startups should appeal to the larger brands to evolve with them.


Sawyer: You run a very successful VC Fund, what’s the best way for an entrepreneur to network with you if they are seeking funding?
Argyropoulos: Think to yourself “Why would Demetri and the Avant team want to meet with me? How can I bring value to their firm?” If you can clearly answer those questions, you’re already ahead of the curve.


Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear from you. Like us on Facebook, Follow on Twitter @NSawyerTV and comment below.


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Conscious Capitalism…Is It Possible?

Headline Speaker | Independent Leadership Advisor to the UN | Expert to 150 C-Suite Advisors | Inc Mag Top100 Speaker

After a presidential year, where candidates get to speak about what they stand for it’s become clear that the people are sick and tired of politics as usual. I think you’d agree that there is a flagrant mistrust of those in power. Much of that mistrust comes out of the belief that those in power don’t care about the other 99%.

The system at the very least seems to have been perverted. In my conversations with other leaders we often speak about whether the system can recover and be repaired, or do we need a brand new system.

Expansive Question:

As leaders we are all aware that there is a clear backlash on the “1%”… Without debating whether that is right or wrong, just or unjust…

The question I would like to put forward to you is this: Do you believe that we could now choose to lead from a place of “Conscious Capitalism”? If so, (or not) what would that look like to you, specifically in the context of leadership?

I trust that you found this question valuable, if so, feel free to send this to your friends. I eagerly anticipate your feedback and comments.

Please share, like and comment below!

I created the Authentic Leadership Matrix after a lot of experience and research. One of the questions I’m asked often is what authentic leadership is and how do we define it. As a result, I created the matrix. It splits what leadership is into five separate categories. So, that you can take a clear look at how you perform in each of the five main areas that are required for you to become a world class authentic leader. The process takes you through each category simply with yes or no questions.http://matrix.fullmontyleadership.com/

With gratitude, Dõv Baron

I also write for Entrepreneur.com:

Is There Life After Success(ion)?

Why 47 Percent of Your Best People Are Ready to Leave — and What You Can Do About It

The 11 Questions Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Ask Themselves

Why Being a Self-Aware Leader Is Not Enough
Unlocking ‘the 4 Cs’ to Create a Fiercely Loyal Corporate Culture

“In 2015, Dov Baron was cited by Inc Magazine as one of the Top 100 Leadership Speaker to book for your next conference! He speaks internationally and is The Leading Authority on Next-Gen Authentic Leadership and creating a Culture of Fiercely Loyal Leaders. FullMontyLeadership.com

Dov on Twitter | Dov on Facebook | Dov on Youtube

P.S. To get your hands on Dov Baron’s new book “Fiercely Loyal” How High Performing Companies Develop and Retain Top Talent, go take a look here http://fiercelyloyalbook.com and get your FREE: How to instantly bond any team infographic”

To contact: Dov Baron International, and Authentic Paragon Alliance INC. Contact Authentic Paragon Alliance at +1 778 397 7717 http://FullMontyLeadership.com