Disrupting a market is rarely an overnight transformation. And the right leaders see disruption as an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Peter Coffee was the first person at Salesforce with the word “platform” in his title. This was in an era where the idea of cloud computing was still in its infancy. He’s spent the last 15 years helping transform Salesforce from a company that sold CRM software into one that offers an entire cloud platform designed to enable companies to offer complete solutions to their customers.
MIT host Dave Anderson caught up with Peter and asked him about how he thinks the future of the workforce will shape up over the coming years.
76% of workers say they are unequipped for the future of work. The traditional way to address this problem would have been to hire new talent out of college who would come in equipped with the tools and skills needed for the new landscape of the business world. But Peter feels new talent doesn’t yet have the experience developed over time to really help customers solve their problems. He feels the answer to this problem is continuous education within the workforce. That’s the idea behind Salesforce’s Trailhead product.
We need to get back to a much more organic idea of what it means to learn and to adapt.”
Usually, AI projects fail because of a team’s ability to implement, learn, and change the way they work. Changing the idea of ongoing skill learning requires it to be part of a company’s culture. And to change that culture, you need to hire people who can change it.
Peter says, if you hire for talent, you’re hiring for skills that can be taught. But if you hire for fit, you’re hiring for someone who won’t challenge you in your thinking. He suggests you hire someone who will challenge you.
People are so much more capable than they’re treated as being.”
Dave wonders if a lack of urgency is part of the reason more companies don’t make similar changes.
Too many companies focus on what they do and not on why. If they open themselves up to asking why they do what they do, then they’re open to creating disruptive solutions.
Companies tend to focus on what leads to being better, faster, and cheaper than their competitor. But there’s a physical limit to those factors. Offering solutions to your customers opens limitless opportunities.
The iPod is a great example. Steve Jobs’s vision wasn’t about making a digital music player, it was about putting thousands of songs in your pocket. It was about offering the whole solution. This meant the iPod could adapt and grow with each generation to be an ecosystem and not just a single purpose device.
Listen to this episode to learn about:
- Preparing the workforce for the future
- What it takes to be a better leader
- Creating moments of transition
- A new concept for continuous learning in the workplace
- The keys to giving customers a differentiating experience