Hi everyone, I'm Justin Kerr and I'm here to talk about how to be a boss. Now I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is being a boss is really, really hard. That's the bad news. But the good news is I'm here to help. Now that may not seem like much just looking at me, but I've got two chief attributes. The first is I've written a book called "How to be a Boss." And I have sold tens of thousands of copies of this book, I've toured around the country, I've spoken at big companies, small companies, hundreds of companies around the country. And so I want you to know I'm passionate about this topic and I'm committed to help solving this problem of how to be good at your job and how to be a boss. So if you're impressed by the totem of book publishing and all of that, I've got that. Now my second chief attribute is I've spent the last 17 years making every mistake possible as a boss. If you've thought it, I've done it. There's nothing that anyone in this audience has done as a...
boss, there's no mistake you've made that I haven't made myself. And this class is streaming live across the world there's people in Europe, there's people in Asia, there's people in Africa, that are in South America, every single person that's watching this class no matter what you've done as a boss I understand, I can relate to you, and I've been there and I've done that. And who better to teach a class about how to be a boss than someone who's made every single one of those mistakes and learned from them. And it's important that you understand that because I'm not a philosopher king, I'm not here as a professor to talk about the idea of being a boss. I'll leave that to someone else. I'm here to talk about getting your hands dirty, screwing things up, making big mistakes, learning from them, getting back up, and going to the next meeting in 10 minutes. That's what I'm here to talk about. And I'm really excited about it, and the truth is I need to talk about it, we need to talk about it, because no one else will. It's the strangest thing. You walk into a company, they walk up to you, and they give you here's one person. Here's two people. Here's 10 people, here's a hundred people. You're in charge of them. And the company hands you these people and then they just kind of slowly walk away and they just kind of move over here and they're like okay, I'm just gonna do my day-to-day job, fill out forms and try and do the business, and yet no one's told you what should you do with these human beings. You're in charge of other human beings. And yet no one has told you what to do with that. No one said, do this, don't do that, and no matter what, never say this. No one ever told me that. And so I had to spend all of my career making all those mistakes and basically treating these other human beings like guinea pigs. I was trying to figure out how to be a boss. Now think how unfair that is to me, but also think of how unfair it is to my co-workers and my direct reports. It's basically a trial or error process of learning how to be a boss. And then thing is, being a boss is really, really hard. You're asked to be a coach, you're asked to be a teacher, you're asked to be a psychologist, you have to be a shoulder to cry on, you have to be a rock to push against, and oh, by the way, don't forget, you also need to run a business and get business results. I mean, it's practically impossible when you stand back and look at all that. You have to do all of that at every minute of the day. But if you can break it down, I like to think of it as two parts. There's the people part, and then there's the process part. And it's where those two things meet that becoming a boss and figuring this thing out, that's where the rubber meets the road. And you've gotta have both, people and process. 'Cause if you focus too much on the business drive everyone really hard, get those results, grind 'em into the ground, you're gonna burn out your team. Or they're gonna resent you 'cause it's gonna feel like they're just a cog in your wheel. But by the way, if you focus too much on the people and everything's just about being nice and trying to be popular, and there's no business results what's the point? So it's about people and process. And the class today is gonna spend about 75% of the time on people, 'cause that's the hard part by the way, whenever there's two human beings interacting things get interesting, right. And then the last 25% is gonna be about the process of being a boss. Now this is the mechanics of being a boss, this is the structure, the meetings that you put in place. The good news is, the process you can get right. In fact, there's no excuse for getting it wrong and I'm gonna prescribe to you specific things to do every day, three things to do every week, we will get that part solved so you're set up for success. So people and process, that's what we're gonna be about today. Now here's the thing, whether you're a new boss whether you're a veteran of middle management, or whether you just aspire to being a boss, it's important to recognize that it's tremendous power and responsibility to be a boss. Because you have the power to make someone's life good or to make someone's life bad. It's scary, right, no one ever says that out loud when they hand you a human being and say you're in charge of this person. But they should hand you that human being and go, special care is taken here, you could either help this person be happy in their lives, or you might ruin their lives. Think about that responsibility, right. And by the way, I'm not just talking about in the office 'cause we spend so much time together the decisions you make whether you hit the snooze button for two extra snoozes or you decide to get up early and answer that person's email, whether you decide to snap at that person or take a deep breath and think about them as a human being, those little decisions are gonna have an outsize effect on this person in front of you. They're gonna go home and think about why does my boss hate me, why is my boss mean to me, why am I falling behind, why can't I do these things, you have that impact on people, and so it's not just the human being in front of you, it's their family. And by the way, their livelihood is in your hands. If you decide to give them a promotion, maybe they get to buy a house. If you decide you don't like that person and you treat them unfairly, and they get fired, who knows what happens. It's scary, right? And yet, no one ever takes the time to say, how can I be a good boss, what does it take? So this class is an incredible opportunity for us to talk about that, ask questions to each other, I'm gonna share all of my experiences, and we're gonna try and figure this thing out. Now I hope that scared you a little bit so you feel the responsibility. I always like to say, heavy weighs the crown. So let's get to work. Alright, the first thing I wanna talk about is me. Now, it's not like an ego thing. It's just, I want you to know who are you listening to. Who's this person in front of you, how can you relate to me, why should you listen to me, what have I been through, are there things that we can relate to each other on? So this is important, we'll get through this really quickly, I promise we'll get to the good stuff, okay. Now let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up at Gap, Inc., I worked for 11 years at Gap and Old Navy, it was a great place to grow up. I also worked at Levi's where I was in charge of every pair of women's jeans sold anywhere in the world. 10,000 points of distribution, I was in charge of that. That was really fun. Then I quit my job, actually did a terrible job of quitting my job but you can ask me about that later, and then I went out and I did my own start up, it was called Black Sheep Postal Service. How about a show of hands if anyone has head of it. That's what I thought, no hands up. (laughter) Probably anyone in the entire world is out there on the Internet watching this class, I know no one raised their hand, and so it was an incredibly important lesson for me because it taught me that everything doesn't always go your way. Even if you're smart, even if you've got the capabilities, sometimes you're not able to make those things happen. And that was incredibly important for me when I got back into the corporate world where I went to work for the Japanese apparel company called Uniqlo, I spent five years with them in Europe, got to live in Japan, lived in New York City, an incredible experience, and then most recently now I'm president of Imprint Projects which is a creative agency in New York, LA, and San Francisco. So now you know a little bit about me. But the truth is, you don't know anything about me. You all sat there, you all nodded your head, and you all thought, yeah, I know Justin, he worked at the Gap, I've heard of them. Oh, Levi's, that's cool, I used to wear Levi's, okay, Justin's cool. Oh, Uniqlo, hmm, interesting. And the truth is, all we did was just transact at the level of resume, right. We're just trading information at this basic level which really doesn't mean anything. And I wanna plant that seed 'cause it's gonna be really important as we go through the class. What are we doing that's just on the surface, and then what are we doing to get a little bit deeper to actually get to know people, right, and this happens all the time in the workplace. All of the sudden you're walking about and you're like, you're the vice president, okay, I'm gonna treat you this certain way. Okay, you are an assistant, hey, go get me my coffee, do this thing, I don't care, why didn't you do this, you know, cause you're the assistant and I can just talk to you however I want. And then you're a director and I'm like, oh, you're a director, are we friends, are we enemies? I can't tell, alright, I'm trying to figure it out, we're peers. And it's all about the titles, right. It's not about the human being. We're just transacting and part of it's about the companies. Think about when you meet people and they come join your company, hey, where did you used to work? Hey, where did you go to college? Oh, I've heard of that college, that's a good college so you must be smart so now everything you say I'm gonna think is smart. Or, I didn't like that company so I'm not sure if I like you anymore. And it's all on the surface, we're just trading these just surface things, and it's just so strange because something happens when we walk in the door at work. You're really fun, you're really energetic, you've got confidence, you love life, and you walk through the front door of work and you're like, I'm just an assistant. And people treat me like an assistant, and everyone's just transacting at that level. And I want us to go a little bit deeper, okay, and so think about that as we're going through this 'cause a big part of the lesson of being a boss is how do you treat people like human beings rather than employees. That's a huge part of being a boss. How do you treat people like human beings rather than employees. Okay, so let's try on something different, let's talk about me a little bit more. Now what if I told you I've written 14 books, what if I told you I have 100,000 bees on my roof, true story, what if I told you I played a tambourine in a rock band? Very strange. And the last is, what if I told you I call myself an efficiency monster? Now, what I mean by efficiency monster is I'm pretty scary because I wanna get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. And part of that is if you told me, let me just say this, my happiest place is cleaning out someone's closet. If you call me or text me or email me or direct message me on social channels and say Justin, I want you to come over to my house on Saturday and I want you to clean out my garage, I will be there at eight AM, I will be so happy I will be so excited that is like my happy place in the world. Literally test me, I will be so excited, I will be there, that's the best thing in the world to me. I love that. Cleaning things up, creating simplicity out of chaos, that is my happy place. Now if you know that about me, and you're my manager, doesn't that change the way that you think about me? Doesn't that inform the assignments that you wanna give me? 'Cause by the way if you know I like cleaning out the closet you can throw me projects that no one else wants 'cause I think that's amazing. And by the way, if someone else in the audience is a photographer on the weekend and they're all about the aesthetic and working on certain types of project you're gonna give her a different project than you're gonna give me. And understanding that is a level deeper than being like, what college did you go to. What's your title. Oh, you're a director, okay, you do this thing and Justin you're an assistant so you do this thing. So the point is getting to know the person, knowing what's important to them, is going to inform very single interaction. And I should just say right here, we're talking about how to be a boss, but this applies across the board. This applies to co-workers, this applies to managing up, this applies to any human to human interaction. What do you know about them and how does that inform how you approach them, right. So think about what we just did there, I showed you slides with my resume, you all thought you knew me, you didn't know anything about me. And now that I've told you these few other facts, not only am I little bit stranger, I see you all kind of like looking at me like, what, 100,000 bees on the roof? Tambourine in a rock band? But the truth is, it gives you insight that informs how we're gonna interact in the workplace, okay. Now a couple other quick things, we talked about books, I've written a bunch of books. My original bestseller was called "How to Write an Email." I call it my bestseller because it was my first book where my mom wasn't my best customer, okay, so humble beginnings but very excited about that. Jim mentioned my new book, it just launched, it's called "How to be Great at Your Job," Chronicle Books put it out, very, very excited about this. And then the book that's most relevant to the class today, "How to be a Boss." And you know, the topic of being a boss is very intimidating like I said at the beginning of class. So I broke it into the people and the process. And that's what it's all about, alright. So let's get into the heart of things. Like it or not, being a boss requires you to work with other human beings. There's no way around it, I'm sorry. If you're anti-human being, you really can't be a boss. So let's embrace it, let's accept it, now what it means to work with other people means you gotta take on their personalities. You gotta take on their personal problems. You gotta take on their personal lives. All of these things come into play when it comes to dealing with other people. Now before we talk about processes or meetings or setting up forms or how to set deadlines and the structure of being a boss, we've gotta talk about people. Okay, now, here's the thing you've heard me talk about human beings and I've done something interesting on this slide. You'll see that I talked about people and I took out the titles which is how we actually interact with our co-workers and employees, and I've replaced them with the titles of human beings. What does it mean when you're thinking about the people at work and you're thinking about them as mothers? What does it mean when you look at someone at work and you think about them, they're a brother? What does it mean when you look at them and think they're a cousin, of course we all have weird cousins so that's probably an applicable one, uncles, aunts, fathers, you know, all of those different things. They're human beings. They have a life outside of work. And it's really important to understand that. And so treating people like human beings is at the core of being able to be a good boss.