Simon is CEO of We First, Inc., the creative consultancy that strategizes, integrates, and activates the growth, productivity, and impact of the world’s most successful brands. As a global keynote speaker, New York Times bestselling author of We First and LEAD WITH WE, and highly-awarded brand futurist, he works with leading CEOs, CMOs, and entrepreneurs to define their business strategy, company culture, and brand communications.
Simon is a sought-after international speaker whose presentations engage and inspire audiences to think and act in new ways that LEAD WITH WE around a collectivized purpose. He has been voted a Top 5 Marketing Speaker by speaking.com for 5 years in a row, and featured on the cover of the National Speaker’s Magazine. From the Cannes Lions Festival to Google, from Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson to the United Nations Foundation, and now on The Leadership Podcast, he delivers a roadmap for revolutionizing your business from the ground up by factoring all “shareholders” into your collective future for all your business decisions.
[2:20] Simon talks about his two daughters who have been trapeze artists since they were three years old.
[4:05] Spending fifteen years in big creative advertising agencies, Simon shares his views on capitalism and how his opinions have evolved.
[6:10] Simon thought about using the power of storytelling in business to make a difference, which led to his dialogue around capitalism.
[7:25] Simon explains where the danger comes from when influence turns into manipulation.
[8:50] It’s a constant in human nature to play with power but there is nowhere to hide now. The motive will eventually get exposed.
[10:50] Capitalism as we know it is dead; it has evolved. Simon expands on this further.
[12:40] Business leaders and owners will suffer if the societies they live in fail. It is best to re-engineer capitalism that better serves people and the planet.
[13:55] Do well by doing good vs. the virtuous spiral of collectivized purpose and action. Simon explains what that means and how they differ.
[16:40] COVID-19’s silver lining is that it has been a massive global moment of reflection. Simon shares his thoughts further on the current generation’s awareness that our future is compromised as an optimistic period.
[18:45] Strategy vs. tactical execution. Simon shares his objections to stakeholder capitalism.
[20:30] Our actions are levers for change if we look at it through the lens of collective action.
[24:40] We have defaulted to what makes us the most money, the fastest way, and at the greatest convenience for everyone. Simon describes how that impacts us now.
[28:00] There is a great opportunity to leverage social media to reweave the social fabric and remind us of what connects us rather than divides us. Simon shares his thoughts further.
[30:40] Much of today’s capitalism transpires through the internet. Jim asks Simon about his thoughts on social media companies’ influence on commerce.
[35:45] Humanity is staring itself in the mirror right now and it’s got two versions of reality right now. Simon talks about what they are.
[34:40] Jan also asks Simon which brands he thinks are doing things right that others can model from.
[37:20] Simon talks about the new generation of entrepreneurs that are coming through and how that makes him optimistic about the future. He shares some examples.
[39:35] Jim asks Simon what story comes to his mind that helps us get a better lens on leadership.
[44:15] The luxury of thinking about how to fix our future is scarce. Simon shares how we can best create a better future.
[46:20] Listener Challenge: 1. Trust your abilities as a leader. 2. Define your company purpose. 3. Work with your team.
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Quotable Quotes“There was no strategic plan in place, I just happen to be somebody who’s been lucky enough to have an experience on the power of storytelling.” Click To Tweet “I do think it’s a constant of human nature that people would play at it or pay lip service to something but there is nowhere to hide now; you’re gonna be exposed by your customers, you’re gonna be exposed by your employees, you’re… Click To Tweet “Capitalism can remain constant but how it shows up can evolve and that’s peculiar to the circumstances we’re in.” Click To Tweet “Companies and brands cannot survive in societies that fail.” Click To Tweet “It just means that we’ve got to create the synergies and compounding effect between all these individual efforts and companies so that we can meet these challenges with equal force because it is all of our actions that got us into… Click To Tweet
These are the books referenced in our conversation with Simon