Talent Management

The 3 Inside Secrets to Managing Millennials

670 300 Russell Potter

As a leadership trainer and HR Consultant, the question I am asked probably more than any other, is, “How do I deal with Millennials?” Millennials are the group born between the mid-90’s and mid-2000s and are the generation now entering the workplace. Organizations are confused by the group, who they see as transient job hoppers. Perennially un-satisfied, Millennials are often stereotyped with either a voracious appetite for their own personal growth or a healthy disrespect for those in authority or both. The word, “Narcissistic,” is often mentioned, which I will come back to later. Millennials are often perceived as pretentious rather than humble, which in a team setting translates into irritation and conflict.

These are the stereotypes, and stereotypes are born when individuals from one social group view another social group as one entity, as if the other social group were one person with a single personality.  The failure to see the group as individuals with individual personalities, but with some shared ideas, creates a problem. Not all Millennials are created equal. The reason this creates a problem is that it excuses organizations from their responsibility to provide the highest standard of leadership and people management to ALL employees.

In many ways, it’s not that Millennials are difficult, it’s that previous generations were prepared to suffer well in organizations with leadership styles based on fear and control where learning and growth were way down the priority list. In such organizations, the unspoken goal is not to lose, rather than to try to win. Millennials don’t seem too comfortable with this.

Some background, every new generation entering the workplace arrives with the same bewilderment from leaders, Generation X had the same reaction from the Baby Boomers. Generation X (of which I am a member) shared the dedication to hard work that Baby Boomers did, but they lacked the compliance and were more keen to challenge systems which they felt had room for improvement.

I do agree that Millennials present a challenge for organizations, which for them is unavoidable because, as the “New Crop” entering the workplace, Millennials are the most cost-effective employees.  Most Management Consulting companies would cease to exist without them.

We need to be truthful with ourselves here, the reason that the question, “How do we deal with Millennials,” is asked is because all organizations need an influx of fresh and cheap labor, and graduates and school leavers provide that. Graduates enter with low pay and are expected to do at least a couple of years of doing the hard work and, “Learning the ropes,” before maybe moving to a better position, hopefully within the organization.

The system works because it’s true, you do indeed need to learn the ropes which means understanding the market, organization and how to grow the business armed with an understanding of both. Unfortunately, this generation isn’t just accepting this system quite like the last and are highly motivated to move to a better position as soon as possible.

One of the things I hear a lot is that Millennials are, “Narcissistic,” meaning that they are selfish, exaggerate their abilities and feel entitled.  It is also said that they lack humility. I’ve worked with Millennials in organizations and interviewed hundreds in the past few years, and I think this a touch unfair and misunderstood.  Let’s not mistake a belief in equality with narcissism. Millennials have a strong belief, as Gen X did, in equality. They enter the workplace and see their more senior colleagues getting paid more them they do and, as the more junior, less experienced employees, they often do the more laborious, monotonous tasks. To their mind, they are just as smart and work hard, and see this situation as unfair. Of course, most of us would agree that their perception belies a lack of experience and maturity, but to label it “Narcissism’ would be inaccurate. Equality, yes, immaturity without a doubt, but let’s not forget how old they actually are, and that Gen X had EXACTLY the same attitude when they were the “20 somethings” entering the workplace.

So, what to do? Here’s my inside tips from HR consulting, headhunting, leadership training and coaching at large organizations in Asia. There are of course many interventions but here’s my top 3.

1.     Don’t treat millennials any different. The US army doesn’t change it leadership style just because the latest generation has different attitudes and values. It chooses wisely, uses an excellent leadership framework and ejects anyone who doesn’t make the cut. Millennials also don’t want to be treated differently but they do want to be treated fairly. Evidence from Gallup suggests that patronizing Millennials with offices that look like a playground doesn’t work, although it does work on Baby Boomers, which I find very amusing.

Make sure that you invest in genuinely excellent leadership at all levels of Management and apply excellent leadership to ALL employees irrespective of age. What does that mean? It means that leaders must understand how to articulate a clear vision, judge the abilities of team members well and assign work appropriately, constantly growing each team member in terms of skill and thinking, and then motivating team members to overcome their fears, to contribute their best, and strive together as a team. That’s easier said than done and requires very specific skills that can be learned in a classroom, but, with the commitment of the organization, it is achievable. The outcome is teams that are able to make a significant contribution far and above the sum of their parts. “Command and control,” is the opposite. It’s enforced compliance where performance is as strong as the weakest part. Although it definitely has a place, especially fresh graduates and school leavers, Millennial, Gen X or Baby Boomer, which one would you prefer to work in? They key is to change your style as the employee grows.

2.     Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you promise a Millennial that they will be promoted within 1 year, and it doesn’t happen, the Millennial will look elsewhere without a thought, they will walk.

It’s true that Millennials are ambitious, and they often need a parental style of leadership that’s encouraging and grounding at the same time. Like all of us, they feel the need to make progress, but they often feel that need more acutely than most others.  Making promises is not the answer but succession planning is. One of my favorite quotes is by Richard Branson who said, “Train them well enough that they can leave, treat them well enough that they will stay.” Sage advice indeed, and the best way to treat all employees, especially Millennials. It’s worth remembering that the #1 reason for an employee resigning is a bad boss. Although “Trigger/Final Straw” would be a more accurate term, great leadership has the ability to work both ways and many employees, Millennials included, will stay for an excellent leader that they can learn from and trust.

3.     Personal growth. Many Millennials are into rapid career progression through accelerated personal growth. They possess bundles of outward confidence and are hungry to learn, with the expectation that they will sprint up the career ladder. Whilst the latter is unlikely, the former is a very real phenomenon.

They have been bought up in a Tony Robbins/Richard Branson world that tells you that if you can dream it, you can have it and that your unfounded negative beliefs and idleness hold you back. Tony and Richard may well be right, but I see that behavior with ALL age groups now, especially Generation X in Asia, entering their 40s and looking to secure a lucrative future.

Millennials are into learning and personal growth (like all people) and showing your commitment to that is the key to keeping them happy.  This is standard best practice for ANY age group and should be personalized through great leadership and not only through cumbersome HR initiatives. The concern is, however, that the thirst for personal growth is just that, personal growth, with the expectation of a new job (anywhere) at the end of it.

Leaders need to make personal growth tightly aligned to the delivery of the business strategy and immediate plans for business growth, as opposed to vacuous “Capabilities.” Many Millennials see that the employer is a vehicle for their learning with the employer there to serve their needs. Great leaders need to give a different message, “Grow yourself by growing my business.” This honest and authentic message is to the point and has no implied promises, and authenticity is essential to being a great leader…of any generation.

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/c4T1ltc0-Bg

Russell Potter is Senior HR Consultant at Motivo. Visit www.motivo.asia for more about our leadership training and HR consulting in Asia.

Inside Info | Are you a Manager or a Leader? The 4 Key Differences

670 300 Russell Potter

The term, “Manage” is often used to denote, “Just getting by,” somehow…”we manage.” I come across many managers who are purely focused, quite naturally on the urgent emerging drama of operational work. Tasks are “Managed.” Tasks in the never-ending flow of the machine, seemingly without end…indeed, when will it all end? Leadership, it seems, is a nice to do, “End of day,” activity.

Leadership is about more than, “Just getting by,” it’s an edge, a state of not only operating but of being in control, of standing up and deciding not what we will receive and but what we will give. Leading is about challenging and not just accepting, it’s about standing out front.

Here are the 4 traits that determine the true difference between management and leadership:

1.      Leaders walk in front, they lead and others follow. This is the most accurate definition of leading. The leader determines the route, the safety of the terrain and its hazards, they have the clearest view of the territory. From that position, they enjoy the vision that the followers may not have. Leaders, therefore, must have a clear vision and the ability to articulate that vision. Managers, on the other hand, merely operate the organization’s control systems.

Anyone can be a leader, a Receptionist is a leader when a visiting CEO walks into their reception. The IT guy is the leader when the company IT Systems go down. In their territory, they walk in front, visitors to that territory merely follow and it’s one of the reasons that expertise is the foundation of leadership. Leaders know their terrain.

For anyone looking to improve their leadership skills, understanding the territory is a high priority. Go back 100 years and plot the evolution of your industry with each game-changing moment, find market research to show where your industry is today and then anticipate the future. Most managers have no idea how their organization evolved let alone their industry, taking their inferences entirely from current customer demand.

2.      Skill is nothing without judgment.  The need to accurately judge a situation is key. What’s possible and what’s not, what constitutes a high risk, and what indeed is a low-risk. “Who dares wins,” maybe, yet ironically judgment includes the need not judge other as we judge ourselves. Because I can make it doesn’t, mean that others can make it too. Knowing the capabilities and limitations of your team is vitally important.

Imagine that our Manager can see a proverbial river ahead, a formidable obstacle. Battle-hardened, he knows how to traverse it, but how well can he get 10 other people to follow suit? Can he(or she) train his team with the skills needed to overcome the challenge? Can he then motivate, encourage and instill the self-belief needed to take on the overwhelming prospect of an activity that could result in their demise? Proverbial or not, if he cannot ask himself these questions and address these issues, he will not be a leader. Indeed, leadership is an essential pre-cursor to any change management initiative as it requires the judgment to ascertain the readiness of teams for the changes ahead.

An excellent way to achieve this is by using a coaching style or delegating (properly). When delegating properly, employees are given time to develop plans and ideas independently. This will quickly allow you to assess their level of thinking and judgment and gives the opportunity for employee development or, “Thinking practice,” as I like to call it. Coaching and delegating build strong self-confidence in employees.

3.      Experience matters. Can you really understand the terrain until you’ve walked it? Is a map enough? Most would argue not. If you’ve never had to lead skeptical people through a difficult change if you’ve never walked that path how can you possibly understand resistance, and more importantly, your own personal limitations and capabilities? How can this be addressed without years of experience?

Training, coaching and using the right leadership style, offers a safe space to try, fail and learn. Great training programs should incorporate a level of live skill training and realistic simulation, taking the theory out of the classroom. I like to think of the glass walls of a training room as a metaphor. We require trainees to leave the training room to complete at least one live exercise, practicing the skill learned in training on a real employee. That’s real experience and the leader now has 2 feet in the territory.

4.      Trust is vital. Leaders can walk in front but who would follow someone they didn’t trust. Employees need to have confidence in their manager’s ability to solve problems and to plot the correct path but more than anything else, employees need to feel that their manager has their interests at heart, that he “has their back.”

That is truly a difference between a manager and a leader.

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/Wr6JabwSibs

3 Inside Secrets to Surviving the Skills Crisis in Asia

670 300 Russell Potter

There is a crisis in Asia which is affecting every business and organization. It’s affecting different regions in different ways but the message is clear, there is not enough skills in the market to support businesses.  Indeed, the very continuity of many business units is threatened.

In some locales, such as Indonesia, the problem isn’t so much a number of people in the marketplace, it’s the quality. In other regions such as Japan, although the quality is pretty good, there simply isn’t enough people in the marketplace. The growth in South East Asia is compounded by the low maturity and expertise of employees, especially at the lower levels. In Japan, it’s the culture of loyalty coupled with a low birthrate, an aging population and a reluctance to restructure in response to market realities that’s causing problems. It’s worth noting that the biggest crisis of skills is LEADERSHIP skills.

The 3 Keys to Survival are the same in both countries and pertain to simply creating a great place to work. These are the priorities which must be addressed in order to survive.

1.      You must become an employer of choice by reputation (more than awards).  If you have a culture of, “Command and control,” where long hours are the norm and fear is the leadership style of choice, nobody will want to work for you. If you invest in learning and growth, celebrate great leadership and understand that making your office look like a playground only works in a creche, you stand a good chance that employees will want to join.

Many organizations I come across win, “Employer of Choice,” awards but on closer inspection, the authenticity is lacking. I recently met an “Employer of Choice Winner” who’s very job title was “Employee Engagement Officer.” I was encouraged by the job title but the reality was that she was merely a compensations and benefits administrator who’s role was nothing to do with employee engagement. It was merely lip service to being an employer of choice and it transpired that, in reality, the “Employer of Choice” was operating a command and control structure based on fear.

2.      Grow and promote from within. It goes without saying that any employer of choice should promote from within but the reality is that most organizations like to bring in, “New blood” from outside the organization to freshen things up. It’s a balance to be struck of course but when the market for skills is as bad as it is, the onus on up-skilling employees at the most junior levels and developing leadership from within becomes hugely important. Many of the more forward-thinking organizations, though a mix of philanthropic ownership and forward thinking are creating Corporate Universities for their organizations. This is a great move. I’m often reminded of a quote from Robert Kiyosaki in his excellent book, “Lesson In Leadership from the Military,” that the US Marines have never appointed a General from outside of the US Marines and you shouldn’t either.

3.      The Little Black Book. Come recruitment time it’s essential to have a database of candidates you can call on.   Most organizations have a good database but how relevant is it?  It can take weeks to scour the recruitment market but staying in contact with candidates who have shown an interest in your organization, in the same way that they stay in contact with customers, is what some of the best organizations do. There is, of course, a range of great Applicant Tracking Systems out there and building an “Employer brand” and consistently advertising, even if it’s just to “Register an interest with us” is a key to being read to strike.

There are of course many other great interventions and options, however, in reality, resources are limited and quick fixes are often just that, quick to work and quick to fail. Becoming a genuinely good employer and profitability are not mutually exclusive. Gallup has repeatedly shown, with huge samples sizes, that organizations who treat employees well occupy the upper quartile of profitable companies globally. Such organizations attract the very best talent from the top universities and they can do that because of their reputation. How can you become one of them?

Watch the video here. https://youtu.be/XDf2oIOgjMI

5 Tips to Make your Training Stick!

670 300 Russell Potter

All good trainers want just one thing, they want their training to stick. Maybe the biggest frustration and challenge is that what’s learned in the classroom is often left in the classroom.

Time and money are invested in training courses which have a sound theory and seem sure to add benefit to the organization. The leadership approves it, the trainer delivers it and the attendees acknowledge the value. Perplexing then that such learning activities so often fail to make an impact once the trainees leave the room where workplace norms prevail.

In reality, people just find it too difficult to break with their usual practices and to implement what they have learned even if they see the value. Here are 5 top tips for making past the morning after:

#1. Be There.  On the morning after the training, the trainer should be present on site to offer coaching in a workplace setting. During the training you planned the trip, now it’s time to make sure the family are in the car and the journey is started.

In addition to reinforcing the expectation of change, the repetition of a quick morning refresher will improve the chances of long-term memory storage.

#2. Top Down.  The bottom line with a lot of training is that if the management doesn’t fully support the change, it won’t be effective. This can be for a number of reasons but chief amongst them can be politics. Managers often believe, however, that teaching new skills will solve all problems without having to change themselves.

An excellent way to achieve commitment is simply to include the senior management in the training. For senior executives, this means the CEO. Their positive presence is crucial to reinforce the messages.

A word of caution here though that business Owners and CEO’s can occasionally become defensive when the training topic contradicts their own leadership styles or idiosyncrasies. Such occasions can take the momentum out of the positive change attitude created in the training.  Senior managers should be fully aware of the messages before the training and their own styles are best dealt with in a coaching setting.

#3. Bottom Up.  It should never be forgotten that training that should be the outcome of a thorough management consulting analysis of the most pressing business issues if expertise is noted as the issue. There is nice to do training and there is business critical training. If training does not address their most pressing issues, interventions are unlikely to succeed. In my experience it’s easy to see from the body language of attendees who’s number 1 issue is expertise and who’s is capacity. One looks happy to be there, the other never entered the room (mentally that is).

Using KPIs or customer feedback helps to build the case for the training event, the need for change and winning over the detractors. Using a KPI dashboard was instrumental in my training session this week with executives at a hotel in Indonesia. Once they saw the reality, I had their attention.

#4. Keep it short. In reality, most people will remember only one point from each training session. Keeping sessions shorter and spreading the learning over multiple sessions is a great way to get multiple messages across.

In their excellent book “Willpower,” Roy Baumeister and John Tierney propose that willpower is a limited resource that reduces throughout the day. In short, he suggests that only one change and one new habit can be formed at a time.

I split my leadership training into 5 X 2-hour sessions. I find that this way I can teach a single topic and have the participants leave without overloading with multiple concepts. Each participant also gets homework which maximizes the chances of creating an impact.

#5. Poster campaign.  As all trainers are aware, mixing the mediums in the classroom is very effective at getting the messages across. However, reinforcing training messages outside of the classroom is one of my favorite techniques. It reminds participants not only of the training messages and changes required but it also primes the organization to expect the change.

I recently placed posters in key areas to promote great leadership values. Although the training was for executives, it was important to make the training topic part of the culture of the company

More than anyone, the trainer wants the training to have a positive impact on the organization. Following these 5 steps will put you well on the way to maximizing training effectiveness.

Motivo provides talent and organization consulting to businesses in Asia. www.motivo.asia.

5 Steps to Engagement in Life and Work

670 300 Russell Potter

Employee engagement and engagement in general, are still not major headline topics but more and more people are starting to ask questions about a general lack of caring and commitment not only in the workplace but also the wider frame.

By engagement we mean caring. Specifically, caring enough about something to want to improve and grow it, whether it be a busines
s, social issue, or local frisbee team, whether that be in the deeply immersed “State of flow,” or otherwise.

According to Gallup, 87% of employees globally are “disengaged.”  That number is shocking. That means that 87% of employees are being paid to do jobs they simply don’t want to do.

Charitable engagement however, seems to have taken a different path. Total giving to charitable organizations was $373.25 billion in 2015 (2.1% of GDP). This is the sixth straight year that giving has increased and the second straight record-setting year, following 2014’s total of $358.38 billion.  Good news on that front.

In more qualitative terms however, with Facebook et al maximizing social engagement, many may believe that we are all already highly engaged yet we are more likely to engage with a picture of someone’s dinner than we are with a major issue of global importance.

A client who is launching a rehab clinic here in Asia recently bemoaned that a post detailing a cutting edge therapy offering relief to thousands will receive almost engagement whilst one detailing a celebrity in rehab will score a home run.

Why are we so disengaged at work and in life? Is there optimism for the future. I think so.

My experience in working on employee engagement highlights 5 main points:


According to a slew of research, we achieve peak performance when we have a growth mindset focused on optimistic outcomes. According to Shawn Achor in his landmark book, The Happiness Advantage, we are more successful, live longer and have a range of measurable health and performance benefits if we are happy. Further, it appears that happiness preceded success and that by focusing on happy thoughts we can achieve the aforementioned benefits. Clearly then, we instinctively focus on the happy, a fact attested to by the huge popularity of inane situational comedy and reality TV.

Based on this insight, would we, by our very nature then, be more likely to evade what we may perceive as negative and unhappy issues and news stories even if they are of global significance in the same way that we procrastinate at work. Indeed many people who follow a “Happiness” mindset watch no TV News (with its negative sensationalism) or Hollywood action movies (with their destructive social scripts).

It would seem then, that we are hardwired to engage more closely with a picture of a cute puppy falling off the sofa than we are with an article on a sofa made by child labor.

Could reframing with a positive, growth mindset be the solution? Would this appeal to our hardwiring for happiness and growth? Ironically, in my work with organizations in creating positive mindsets, it is immediately apparent how few people have such a mindset. This is a superb opportunity, as with some simple exercises we can transfer our perception of a worthy cause from an insurmountable negative issue into an opportunity for growth.

Try this. The next time your team encounters a major problem. As them for 5 ways in which it could be the opportunity of a lifetime.


Our modern lifestyles and technologies have perfected the art of distraction. Social media, email, 24 hour news and stock prices are amongst the bombardment of information available anywhere and in real time.

It is estimated that, on average, only 1.1 hours of real focused work gets done per day and that this is largely down to the distractions of email and the previously mentioned distractions. With so little engagement in even our bread and butter, is it any surprise that we fail to engage with worthy causes (which, for the purposes of this article I will reframe as projects).

As our minds are cluttered our focus becomes more and more narrow decreasing our engagement with even ourselves. The mind has so many “issues” that we lack the headspace to contribute.

Here we have 2 solutions, either we clear each problem one by one, which may not always be feasible, OR we short circuit the system with mindful meditation.

Take only 10 minutes per day to focus only on your breathing and new neural pathways will be created which serves focus and concentration, giving you the power to ignore all of the clutter that simply doesn’t need to bother you.

Taking it one step further, address as many of the issues as possible. Write down all of the issues that are on your mind. Cross off all of the issues which you cannot affect e.g. the economy, your bosses mood, the outcome of the little league game etc. For all of the issues which are in your circle of influence write down a “Next Action,” i.e. the immediate next small step towards resolving the issue. As Psychologist Roy Baumeister says in his book “Willpower,” the brain needs only to know that there is a plan, and the next part of it, for it to cease being a cause of stress. Indeed, this “Internal locus of control” is a predictor of high performing individuals and has major life benefits.

Leverage Narcissism

“If they don’t care about me why should I care about them.” In the Western World (but not the East) we have been brainwashed into an X v’s Y culture in which a zero-sum game of winners and losers is ingrained. Our culture has become narcissistic with selfies and bragmail now duly scripted into society as a norm. A narcissistic society however, by its very definition lacks empathy, is deeply insecure and is inherently self-interested.

Engagement with worthy projects however, requires a great deal of empathy unless it is motivated by vanity and the need to be seen to a good person (for narcissistic reasons).

Again, the answer lies in reframing the engagement as benefiting not only the receiver but also the giver. Vanity or not, at the end of the day, does it really matter?

Avoiding Ambivalence. 

There is a phenomenon of desensitization which pervades our society and workplaces. Norms of growing moral depths are experienced making the original atrocity seem somehow normal in comparison. Socials scripts such as these are alarming psychologists. This desensitization makes us less likely to care about a cause as we are somehow numbed and normalized to it.

I am reminded here of the reaction to a Facebook post about a huge bomb in Karrada, Baghdad which killed over 300 people in July 2016. The blast came some months after a Paris atrocity which claimed the lives of 130. I questioned why nobody changed their profile pictures to the Iraqi colors, as had become a statement of solidarity following the Paris attacks. “We hear about bomb attacks in Iraq all the time but this was Paris,” was one reply.  As good an example as one could hope for of the ambivalence of our desensitized society.

There is hope. The evidence is, that minority groups who are persistent and consistent in their message do eventually succeed in achieving their goals. It may take years, but, over time more and more people will engage with the cause and accept it as not just a passing phase, but a real and worthwhile cause with integrity.  The message is, keep shouting and you will be heard.

Tackle Learned Helplessness. 

In one of the most famous experiments in psychology, dogs were conditioned to expect electric shocks when a sound played. The dogs were then put into a pen which was specially built so that, on one side, the dogs would get the shock and on the other side they would not. The dogs only had to jump over the low wall to reach the safe side.

Surprisingly, rather than head to safety the dogs submitted to the belief that they could not escape the shock so didn’t bother trying to move away from the danger area. They had learned helplessness.

In the two-legged world, Psychologist Marin Selgman took the idea further to prove the concept in human behavior.  Many believe that it’s a senseless waste of effort to engage in breaking established norms even if they are guaranteeing our mutual destruction. Who on Earth would engage in a challenge such as poverty, hunger, global warming, nuclear proliferation or corporate corruption with a “We can never win” attitude?

Luckily, just as we can learn helplessness, we can also learn a growth mindset. Try this exercise. Every day list 3 things that you are grateful for. Do this for one week and a new neural pathway is established which scans the horizon for growth opportunities. That mindset is then permanent and will continue even if the exercise is stopped. Boom!!

Imagine how engaged our society would be is we saw worthy causes as winning opportunities and “projects” rather than depressing demands on our precious time and resources.  Imagine how engaged we would be at work if we focused on the intrinsic value of each task and not the deadline.

In the coming decades, life will in no way slow down to give us time for engagement and more and more people and communities will get left behind. By cultivating an awareness of why we fail to engage and cultivating the skills to achieve it, both giver and receiver can enjoy lifelong sustainable benefits in all areas of their lives, social networks and organizations

How to Motivate Employees the Star Wars Way

670 300 Russell Potter

Leaders spend much of their time figuring out complex systems and how to motivate employees but an interesting lesson comes from the set of the new Star Wars movie.  Jedi mind tricks?

JJ Abrams, the Director of the upcoming seventh Star Wars film, has written a  note to cast and crew to motivate them for the much anticipated project.

Ahead of filming for the latest Star Wars film in the saga, JJ Abrams sent a  handwritten note to everyone involved in order to engage and motivate them all  to give the world “something great.”

The note reads: “Dearest cast and crew, what an honor it is, to work beside all of  you, on Star Wars Episode VII. I can’t thank you enough, for all work past and future.

“Let’s take good care, of not just ourselves, but each other. Amazing, but true: The world awaits this film. Let’s give ‘em something great. XO JJ”

Filming started in May 2014, with the expected release date of the film to be December 2015.

The cast will be made up of both returning actors – such as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – and some new talent in the form of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, to name a few.

Following the cast announcement in April, Abrams said: “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again.”

So the lesson to other leaders in all fields from one of the most successful film producers and directors of recent years…build engagement with the personal touch.  May the force we with you all.