14 Sep September 14, 2020 – Outsource Everything Brad Stevens and Hyper-Learning Edward Hess
Brad Stevens – Founder and CEO of Outsource Access
Outsourcing takes time, money and knowledge off the table. The ‘I don’t have the time’ excuse is not an excuse anymore. Or money.
Brad Stevens is the Founder and CEO of Outsource Access, a virtual assistant services firm that specializes in providing highly vetted and talented, low-cost offshore virtual assistants in the Philippines to CEOs, entrepreneurs and busy professionals. He is also the Founder of Brad Stevens Training International, an advisory firm that helps businesses embrace highly innovative and low-cost ways to grow their business by leveraging time, money and a creative mindset using global, virtual teams. As a lifetime entrepreneur, Brad has helped build multiple seven-figure businesses in domestic and international markets within several industries including physical products, eCommerce and professional services. Brad also serves on the board of the Atlanta Chapter of the Global Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) where he co-chairs the Accelerator Program that was rated as the organization’s fastest-growing program in the world in 2015. Brad was featured on the cover of Small Business Magazine and is a past winner of the Top 40 Most Innovative Companies in Georgia award.
Edward Hess – Professor of Business Administration at the Darden Graduate School of Business – Read interview highlights here
We must be open to learning new things. In the world we are going
into, we have to be very good at exploring and discovering new things.
Edward D. Hess is the Professor & Batten Executive-in-Residence & Batten Faculty Fellow at Darden Graduate Business School. Professor Hess spent twenty years in the business world as a Senior Executive and has spent the last 18 years in academia. He is the author of 13 books, over 140 articles, and 60 Darden Case studies, all of which have a common theme: high individual and organizational performance. Professor Hess’ book Smart Growth was named a Top 25 Business Book in 2010 for business owners by Inc. Magazine, a Top 10 Business Book for 2010 by the Toronto Globe, and was awarded the Wachovia Award for Research Excellence. Professor Hess is also the author of the forthcoming book, Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change, which shows how to harness the power of human emotions, choices, and behaviors to enable the highest levels of human cognitive, emotional, and behavioral performance–individually and organizationally.
Highlights from Edward’s Interview
In today’s world, most educated men of their time who knew about so many different areas of knowledge compared to the day would be considered uneducated. I think it is normal. I think the difference is the speed of the creation of knowledge, and it’s the speed of creation of knowledge which is being driven by technology today. Most scientists feel that the shelf life of knowledge or research today is only two to three years. A lot of people predict that people keep coming out of school now over their career, every five to 10 years, they’ll have a completely new career. So the speed of change and the speed of knowledge generation is a huge change.
The other change that technology is bringing us is that people are going to basically be needed to do those tasks which the technology can’t do, and smart technology is going to be able to do a lot of tasks. That’s why the research predictions are, over the next 10 years, you’re looking between 25 and 47% or more of the jobs in the United States being automated. Hyper-learning is the concept of learning, unlearning, and relearning at the speed of change so we can stay relevant in the workplace, so we can have meaningful work and meaningful life. So in order to stay relevant in the workplace, we’re going to have to constantly be able to adapt and learn, because we’re going to have work if we can do the types of work that the smart technology can’t do. Since that’s going to continue to advance, we’re going to have to continue to advance. The big challenge is that we’re not wired, so to speak, in our brain to be really fast adapted learners.
One may argue that there’s a finite body of knowledge out there and that we are discovering more of it, but we’re not creating. It’s mainly pure sciences where knowledge is increasing. If you want to go back to philosophy, my book is heavily based on science and philosophy. Some of the fundamental things that we human beings are going to have to excel at are the same things that the ancient philosophers 2,500 years ago were working on. So philosophy and the innate part of what goes on inside of ourselves, how our mind operates, our emotions, all of that we’ve learned from neuroscience how it works, but that’s not changing that much. It’s the science and the data-driven stuff that’s changing.
So what’s being produced now is more data and it’s being harvested by smart machines, and smart machines can process like IBM’s Watson. There are different kinds of IBM Watson, there’s IBM Watson Accountant, the IBM Watson Doctor. The IBM Watson Doctor can basically every Monday morning start, and in a very short amount of time, process every research article that’s been produced in the world in the last week, and update its stories, its mental models, its knowledge. While a human doctor, most of them working don’t have time to read a lot of journals anyway, but there’s no way a human can process it that quickly, make sense of it that quickly. But more importantly, the technology and the machines will have perfect recall, we do not have perfect recall. So they will be able to process more, store more, recall it perfectly, and recall it faster than we do.
So it’s basically scientific knowledge that is being created, and that’s the knowledge that goes across the scientists. Now, that also includes the soft sciences, psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience. We know lots more today because of technology about how we basically are inside emotionally, we know the impacts of certain ways of being how it has on our emotions, the difference in positive emotions and negative emotions.
Very recent science basically says that our brain is a prediction machine, and that’s now the new concept that we basically see what we believe. You and I do not go into the world and are completely open-minded, and are able to take in and process information, which is different than what we believe how the world operates. So that’s a huge scientific find because of what it means in the business world. What it means in the business world is that in order to excel at hyper learning, we need other people. We need people different than ourselves with different training, different backgrounds, different upbringings different cultures. Because, again, the science is pretty clear, we see what we believe. The way we’re wired is we go out into the world is we seek confirmation of what we believe, we seek affirmation of our ego, and we basically seek to keep the stories that we created about how the world works. Cohesive in other words, we look to make sense of our own story, we look to confirm it. So it’s possible that two people report the exact same event totally differently and believe their version is ‘true’, and they’re not lying. We’re all sort of wired that way.
So in order to be able to excel in the world that we’re engaged in now, but also the world when it comes with the automation and the technology is embedded into everything, including, in the near future or in the next 10 years, embedded in our body, we have to figure out how do we stay more up-to-date and more current? That brings back the concept that I stated before, the science is pretty clear, nobody achieves excellence or learning excellence by themselves. Because we cannot undo the evolutionary wiring that we have. But we can modify it and we can become more open-minded, we can modify it and take ownership of what’s going on inside of our body, we can take more control of our mind, more control of our emotions, and more control of how we think. That’s part of the hyper learning journey that I’ve put forth in the book, which is a how-to practical book. It’s based in science, but it’s a workbook embedded in a book as to how do I learn to think, listen, relate, collaborate, work with other people in such ways that I can be more open-minded and a better learner?
The other big issue is this concept of otherness, which plays over also into the workplace. The workplace is going to have to become very humanized. Let me put it this way. The most effective workplaces in the future are going to be places where people feel psychologically safe with their workmates, where they feel that they’re cared about as unique human beings and that they can trust the people they’re working with, so they can be totally honest and everyone can have really good conversations with each other, helping each other get to the best answers that can be gotten to instead of having this survival of the fittest.
When I walk into the workplace and I see 10 people, I’m counting them as my competition where I’m like, there’s going to be one of us that is going to look good when we come out of the meeting. So the meeting ends up being a lot of political games and a lot of people that are fearful and a lot of people that don’t speak up because they don’t want to upset anybody. All of that type of stuff that goes on is going to basically inhibit organizational and human performance. So there’s a whole new change in dynamics in the workplace and in each individual. This is not completely new, part of it is new because of the breadth of it because of the technology. But if you’re a learned person, you already know and you’re saying in your own mind, that’s talking about a lot of philosophy. It’s the Eastern and Western philosophy of how do you take ownership of your inner world so you can better react with the outer world to learn.
So it’s not totally about knowledge, but more about hyper learning yourself, more introspective learning, more emotional understanding of yourself; a higher Q Score if you will. In the world we’re going into, we have to basically be very good at exploring and discovering new things, going into the unknown, and learning. We have to be very good at actively seeking information that challenges what we believe. We have to be able to embrace differences and make meaning of differences between people and what people believe. But in order to do that, we have to transform ourselves first in order to be able to go out. Because the big inhibitors of learning are the way we’re wired, which I discussed, ego and fear. So the hyper learning book is designed for an individual, how do you basically manage your ego, manage your fears, and learn to approach the world in a way that enables you to be a hyper learner. Then, the content of what you learn out in the workplace or with families or in your life depends on your personal situation and what you’re doing. So within you is the foundation, what you need is what I call inner peace.
So what you need to be doing with your brain is seeking novelty, seeking the new, putting yourselves into challenging situations, and I’m not talking about physically dangerous or anything. But we’ve got to train our mind to seek novelty, to explore, to discover. Basically, if there’s lots of knowledge and there are lots of things figured out, more than likely the technology is going to end up doing them. So you’re constantly going to have to be figuring out what can I do that the technology can’t do well. So let’s talk about that just for a moment, what can we do that the technology cannot do well? Basically, higher-order critical thinking, when you got to make decisions when there’s not a lot of data for example; innovative thinking, imaginative thinking, creative thinking. So innovative, creative, and imaginative thinking is basically a mixture of our conscious mind and our subconscious mind.
Our subconscious mind is much bigger than our conscious mind. So if I’ve got to be innovative, creative, imaginative, what needs to be going on inside of me for that to happen, what is the emotional state I have to be? Does my body have to be calm? How do I define myself? How do I get my jollies, so to speak? How do I feel good about myself? Most of us who were raised in this country and our education system, we feel good about ourselves if we’re smart. So let’s go back to grammar school and high school, who were the people that were smart? People who got the highest grades. What did people do to get the highest grades? They made the fewest mistakes. So we learned the way to be smart is don’t make mistakes. Even though that paradigm is shifting now, in the business world and the work world, that definition of smart still counts. Because people basically are scared of taking on new things, scared of discovering, scared of exploring, scared of speaking out. Because they don’t want to look bad, they don’t want to make mistakes. Because everybody is graded on a performance level as to how many things you’ve got right, more than likely, still in our school systems, with standardized testing.
The key here is that we’ve got to basically come up with another story, and the story that I offer in the book is what I call new smart. No longer am I defined by what I know or how much I know, I’m defined by the quality of my thinking, listening, relating, and learning. It’s a quality because, in order to be a good learner, I have to be a good thinker. In order to be a good thinker, I got to be a good listener, because I need other people, and that means I got to be a good realtor and I got to be a good collaborator. All of that comes down to how I behave. My book is very behavioral, it comes down to basically, specific behaviors, and how would a person who’s a hyper learner behave, and how do I basically train myself to behave in ways which opens me up so that I can have more opportunity to perceive, to be willing to understand, to go into conversations? In the work world, lots of times when you have conversations, basically the whole goal is to be on the winning side. Well, maybe the goal should be to come up with the best idea.
Im sure you have heard about Elon Musk and his new chip that he announced he wants to put into people’s brains. Elon Musk is one heck of a smart dude, and you can basically look at his results. He’s not the only one that’s basically working on neural links in our brain. That’s going to happen within the next 10 years. So technology can be embedded in our brains, it will be in embedded in our bodies. Let’s say it’s in my body and your body, and for example, we’re either on a Zoom call or we’re sitting in a meeting, and I’m going to be able to read your emotions and you’re going to be able to read my emotions because of what the technology is basically transferring to your technology. So people are going to have the choice, whether they want it to be embedded. Is the brain going to be able to communicate with computers by itself, so to speak, through this technology? The experts say it’s highly likely. So I think that’s something that’s coming, just like virtual reality it’s something that’s going to become a tremendous tool in the business world, in training people on how to collaborate and how to manage emotions and how to deal with emotional situations. Technology’s going to start being embedded in how we learn, for sure.
There’s also this idea of neuroplasticity that you can actually change the wiring in your brain. It takes hard work, it takes time, what it takes is self-discipline and working at things every day. But yes, we can, that is clear. The more that you’re able to reach the stage where you can manage what’s going on in your mind, and you realize that you’re not your emotions and you’re not your thoughts. All of us have what we call the chatterbox mind or the monkey mind, mine is never quiet. The goal is you’ve got to quiet the mind in order to perceive more, and you can train yourself to do that. You can start being better at that within two, three weeks. If you do it over a period of years, you get to be where you come to the table with a different processing mechanism, which allows you basically to create more neuroplasticity.
I think that people have not been taught how to learn. In too many of the school systems, basically, you’re taught how to memorize and how to get the right answer. You’re not taught how to learn, you’re not taught how to think. People are not given a checklist, here are the questions that you need to ask in order to be a good critical thinker. They’re not given a process, what’s the process? If I want to go explore something and see if it works, how do I do that? Well, there’s a simple process, six or seven steps, and every person should be the expert at using that process. How do I go figure things out? How do I go learn? How do I listen better? But we don’t teach these granular behavioral skills, which would allow every person to learn better if they so desire to.
It comes down to behavioral skills and daily practicing those skills, that you’re rewiring your body and you’re quieting your mind and you’re being able to manage your emotions. Most people don’t understand that when you feel something emotionally, you don’t actually have to behave that way. You can basically tamp down negative emotions, you can generate positive emotions, which enable you to learn easier, while negative emotions get in the way. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, emotions just sort of happened, and stuff just happened. I can’t remember when I was first told, “Ed, do you realize that just because you feel something, you don’t have to behave that way”, and I said, “No, I didn’t realize that.” Nobody told me that. They said, Well, that’s true, why don’t you go look up the science?
The book goes on sale tomorrow at all the major book people, Amazon, Barnes and Noble. The book has a website, which has lots of free stuff there. It’s edhess.org. The book is, as I said, a practical workbook. If you buy the book and you go to the book website and you send me your name, I’ll send you my free 143-page hyper learning journal, which basically you can use to answer the questions that I ask throughout the book, what I call the reflection times. Then you’ll have workshops with deliverables to help you basically work on things and to make your own personal improvement plan. The book has a Hyper Learning Behavioral Diagnostic, which everybody can take in and figure out what do I need to work on and where do I start? So it’s a very practical how-to behavioral change-based book that fits in, no matter where you work or what your job is, or even if you don’t work and you just want to be a better human being.