- Philip Bouchard
TrustedPeer® is the easy way for corporations and executives to consult with world-class experts on-demand. TrustedPeer’s digital consulting platform allows you to schedule micro-consulting sessions online with vetted, highly-qualified TrustedPeer Experts, who will create a customized action plan targeting your expertise need. Or you can search TrustedPeer’s extensive content library of best practices and common problems specific to your industry and operational area. Either way, TrustedPeer provides the information you need from The Right Expert, Right Now!
Now, TrustedPeer is extending its knowledge base to higher education. As college and post-graduate options have become accessible to a wider audience than ever before, it has given rise to a larger national student body and greater competition in the job market. Graduates have to find ways to leverage and differentiate themselves from their peers just to find job opportunities, let alone ones that fit their interests, skill set, and passions.
To help solve this problem, TrustedPeer has partnered with the Orfalea Business School at California Polytechnic State University to create the Next Experts program. The program provides access for a select group of undergraduate business students to TrustedPeer’s on-demand business knowledge and Experts. The students are able to learn from successful professionals and then receive action plans to assist in their career pursuits.
Structure of the Program
Cal Poly selected five of its most promising business students to participate in the program; TrustedPeer selected seven of its vetted experts. The TrustedPeer Experts selected were Nancy Schaefer, David Burk, Don Transeth, Bruce Lincoln, Philip Bouchard, Brian Morris, & Rick Bragdon. The students and TrustedPeer Experts worked together to complete the program in two separate phases.
The first phase of the program consisted of seven “group sessions” in which each TrustedPeer Expert engaged the student group in a conference call discussion. Prior to the call, the students researched the TrustedPeer Expert and prepared a list of questions about the Expert’s career, successes, failures, and advice for recent graduates.
Each of the seven TrustedPeer Experts then responded to the students’ questions in lectures that were recorded and transcribed, providing the students a 64-page library of career knowledge and advice.
Next, each student selected two Experts to confer with individually. The students used TrustedPeer’s proprietary digital consulting platform (the same platform which TrustedPeer clients and business enterprises use) to conduct micro-consulting sessions with TrustedPeer Experts.
During the one-on-one consultations, the Experts offered graduate school recommendations, valuable career ideas and guidance, and a step-by-step plan on how to leverage themselves in the search of a career in a potential field.
The students also received a TrustedPeer Session Summary Report outlining the discussion topics, their expert’s analysis and assessment, and the recommendations discussed during their sessions.
The Next Experts program proved beneficial for the students, for the Orfalea administration, and for the TrustedPeer Experts.
- The students received invaluable preparation for the next stage of their lives along with access to an exceptional and exclusive professional network.
- The administration gained knowledge on how to better prepare and educate their students for moving on to professional careers.
- The TrustedPeer Experts gained a better understanding of how a technology-raised generation of new professionals will shape the business world of the future.
“These types of professional relationships offer significant rewards for students, the conversations with TrustedPeer Experts contextualized students’ learning, opened windows on new perspectives, and helped them think critically about the college-to-career transition.”
-Lynn Metcalf, Cal Poly Marketing Area Chair
TrustedPeer’s Next Expert program represents a democratization of knowledge across generations. TrustedPeer Experts provide the next generation of business professionals a roadmap of successful practices for their careers; in turn, these Next Experts become a part of the professional network of TrustedPeer Experts and a valuable resource as the next generation creates new businesses amid rapidly changing technologies.
Future: “The Next Expert Network”
TrustedPeer is working to incorporate the Next Expert Network into the existing TrustedPeer web platform. The network is exclusive to selected business students at top schools participating in the Next Expert program. As the network grows, it will allow the brightest up-and-coming business minds across the nation to connect with each other on TrustedPeer’s digital platform to share entrepreneurial ideas, solutions to business issues, and business development strategies.
With functionality including instant messaging, forums, and sharing of presentations and documents, the TrustedPeer Expert and Next Expert networks provide the tools for incubating ideas and business solutions across generations.
To see Cal Poly's press release on the Next Experts program please click here.
Left to Right: Lynn Metcalf (Cal Poly Marketing Area Chair), Kaulin Blair, Andria Posmoga, Alex Sortwell (TrustedPeer. Program Administrator), Samantha Foster, Rosie Toumanian, Taylor Sturtevant, Philip Bouchard (TrustedPeer CEO)
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with a new TrustedPeer Expert, Geoff McDonald. Geoff has a unique and well-developed philosophy on how employee wellbeing affects corporate growth, and it was a pleasure to hear his perspective. Here is how our discussion went:
Can you give me a quick download about your career background?
I worked at Unilever for twenty-five years; my most recent role being the Global Vice President of Human Resources for Marketing, Communications, Sustainability and Talent. At Unilever, my main goal has been to embed our purpose of making sustainable living commonplace into the core of the business, with healthy purposeful employees working to achieve this purpose, and in so doing, grow and deliver profits in a more responsible way.
How did you become so committed to this goal of purposeful business and the employee wellbeing?
In the last five years with the fall of Enron and other once respectable organizations/institutions and the financial crisis, companies are realizing they need to go back to their roots and think about why they exist beyond profitability. Organizations are looking for a purpose that will drive growth and profits in the future in a more responsible way. Despite the good intentions of capitalism, the system as we know it today has not served us well. Yes, there has been growth, which has been good for many, but it has left too much inequity and has not taken into account the physical and environmental limits of the planet. As a result, our capitalist society is suffering from a crisis of confidence and is fueled by debt.
Wealth isn’t evenly distributed. As of a few years ago, the top 1 percent of Americans owns 40 percent of wealth in the US. All this points to the lack of a social form of capitalism. A more modern take on capitalism—one that I would like to see—is one that takes into account the physical and environmental limits that we have on this planet, that taxes on consumption rather than income, and that isn’t addicted to short termism and growth. This more modern take on capitalism would also serve a moral purpose, and success would be just as much about the wellbeing of the employees as it is about the organization.
What is the best way to address this issue?
We need to create more purposeful organizations with wellbeing of employees at the core of these institutions. In so doing we will have to break the stigma around mental health issues by normalizing it. About one in five Americans will experience some mental health condition—the situation is much more common than we think. Therefore, we must ensure that there are ample resources to educate and improve the problem within organizations.
Do you have thoughts on the source of mental health issues?
Oftentimes, the source of anxiety and depression can be factors in the workplace. Simple acts of not giving feedback to employees regarding their performance on a regular basis can be a real source of stress, distress and at its worst, can lead to depression and anxiety. When you combine already-existing stress and demands with technology and the need to cut costs, the pressures are even higher. The New York Times article Why You Hate Work, documents that 87% of people today find their work disappointing, which leads to less productive work. Therefore, the competitive edge in the future might be to ensure that your employees are well in a holistic sense. In order to achieve this complete sense of well-being, we must focus on what The Energy Project calls the four levels of needs: physical (i.e. recharging your body through sleep, etc.), mental (i.e. your ability to focus), emotional (i.e. your level of happiness), and spiritual (i.e. your sense of purpose).
I hear that you will be meeting with Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the The Huffington Post, this week. What will this meeting be about?
In her book Thrive, Arianna talks about well being as the third metric of success—so there are some parallels there. For me, the meeting with Arianna is exploratory. I am about to leave Unilever to try and build an institute to make purposeful business more commonplace, so I am excited to hear Arianna’s perspective on where we may find synergies.
- Philip Bouchard
- Social Responsibility
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- Philip Bouchard
TrustedPeer CEO Philip Bouchard points out that Bryant overlooks the most important innovation driver of all: acknowledging and embracing change. Bouchard shared his views on the 7th Key Driver, which are rooted in his business experience as a CEO as well as his previous training and experience as a Navy SEAL.
Embracing Change: The 7th Driver of Innovation
- Balance change with stability: Corporations focus on achieving stability. In an ideal market with no competition, they can tweak the same product every year, work on more efficient manufacturing processes or optimizing solution sales tactics with no pressure and routinized processes. Embracing change is a necessary counter-balance to moving toward stability.
- Don’t be blind: Any product can be more than just another product, it’s a potential competitor – regardless of the market. The NYT article cited the case of Garmin, the GPS device maker who lost 85% of their sales to Google Maps. Garmin didn’t see what was going on outside of their industry and got blindsided by Google, which wasn’t even targeting the GPS market.
- Look outside—and listen: Every company needs to look outside of their comfort zone to understand what consumers are looking for, now and for what’s next. This process of looking and listening is the basis of creating a culture of innovation.
- Be adaptable: Change happens. It will happen whether or not we like it (let’s face it, even plants don’t like change). Change has to be a part of your business strategy.
- Talent matters: Acquiring the right expertise to make intelligent, targeted change is crucial. Sometimes companies need to bring in a new perspective to implement innovative changes. It’s not a coincidence that many successful Silicon Valley start-ups have maintained a trend of Acq-Hiring companies.
Change is an opportunity, a positive catalyst. Smart businesses learn how to use change to their advantage.
What makes the SEAL Teams successful? They expect change. They know that no operation is going to result exactly as planned.
Look at the Bin Laden operation. One of two helicopters critical to the mission became inoperational. Hey, just another day. Adjust and continue to execute because you have a culture of embracing change.
Sunday’s WSJ featured a piece on CEO pressure turning up in 2014.
We talked to TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard about what CEOs can do to manage the pressure they are under. Here are 5 simple rules, garnered in a 30-minute Expert Session.
- The primary responsibility of the board of directors is to hire and fire the CEO. The tool the board has is blunt, so it needs attention.
- The biggest mistake a CEO can make is to over-promise on your plan. Be realistic and push back on pressure if the expectations feel unreasonable.
- Managing the board isn’t about personal relationships; it’s about trust and straightforward information. This means open communications for both good news and bad. A board member should never hear news about the company from a third party. Never.
- Board-level communications should always be inclusive. Send an email to all board members stating that you will call each of them over a specified time-frame. Phone or face-to-face is the only way effective board-level communication should happen.
- Use the board to manage strategy, not the details. You don’t want to ask the board's advice about managing the company; they can hire a new CEO to do that. You want to talk about your plan, how the company is performing, and what you see coming. Board members respect solid, well-thought-through arguments in which the CEO takes a position and provides a risk assessment.
If you do all of the above, your performance as CEO will burnish board members’ reputations with investors and limited partners.
Make them look good!
Ultimately, straight talk and predictability earn trust and respect.
If you need consulting on business management, contact TrustedPeer Expert Philip Bouchard.
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