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 When Google, Uber, WeWork, Riot Games or other high-growth companies need help with their culture and leadership, they call Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. 

Frances Frei is a Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Harvard Business School and her wife, Anne Morriss, is the Executive Founder of The Leadership Consortium. They supported a growing list of companies with culture change and wrote a wonderful new book on leadership called Unleashed, The Unapologetic Leader's Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You.

 

Episode Highlights

Here are some of the highlights from our conversation: 

  • How focusing on others rather than yourself helps your business grow and thrive.
  • Looking at leadership in a way that helps you create high-performing teams in the remote and hybrid work environment.
  • Building trust.
  • An unlikely combo that drives high performance: devotion and high standards, aka love. 
  • Examples of how leaders like Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor, Lisa Su or Fred Smith signal and manifest love and other key principles in their business.
  • Creating an environment where employees can take initiative without asking permission.
  • The relationship of strategy and culture and why they are critical for people to thrive in your absence. 
  • Best place to start shaping a culture that works for your business.
  • What happens when you discover that what got you here won’t get you there.
  • What Frances and Anne learned from working with companies like Uber, Riot Games, and WeWork.
  • Common pitfalls when moving from a small, fast-moving, pretty homogenous organization to a larger one.
  • How to do a cultural audit and check whether the values that you are celebrating still make sense and help your company be successful.
  • The secret sauce to making things work with your co-founders - even if they are family members!

Frances and Anne

 

Listen to the interview in the player below or on Apple Podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured in a future episode.

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More about Anne Morriss and Frances Frei 

Anne Morriss is the Executive Founder of The Leadership Consortium (TLC), a first-of-its kind leadership accelerator that works to build inclusive executive teams and prepare diverse leaders for senior leadership. Through a curated blend of participant development and direct company engagement, TLC helps more and varied leaders thrive and fosters discontinuous leaps in individual and company performance. 

Anne has spent the last twenty years building and leading mission-driven enterprises, serving most recently as CEO and Founder of GenePeeks, a computational genomics company developing breakthrough ways to identify genetic risk. She has worked with entrepreneurs, companies and governments throughout the United States and Latin America on strategy, leadership, and organizational change. Her collaborators have ranged from early-stage tech founders to public sector leaders working to build national competitiveness.  

Anne serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including the national Board of IGNITE, which champions the need for more women in public office. She is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. She and co-author Frances Frei recently published their latest book, Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. Hailed as “the definitive guide to leadership today,” Unleashed gives readers permission to look beyond themselves and focus on the true challenge of leadership: how to unlock the potential of others.   

Anne received her BA from Brown University and MBA from Harvard Business School.   

Frances Frei is a Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Harvard Business School. Her research investigates how leaders create the conditions for organizations and individuals to thrive by designing for excellence in strategy, operations, and culture. She regularly advises senior executives embarking on large-scale change initiatives and organizational transformation, including embracing diversity and inclusion as a lever for improved performance. 

 A global thought leader on leadership and strategy, Frances is widely recognized for her dynamic teaching style and breakthrough courses optimized for rapid, lasting impact. She developed one of the most popular classes at HBS, which explores business models that reliably delight customers. She also led the design and launch of HBS’s innovative FIELD curriculum built around learning experiences that are experiential and immersive. 

In 2017, Frances was tapped to be Uber's first Senior Vice President of Leadership and Strategy with a mandate to help the company navigate its very public crisis in leadership and culture. Her firsthand experience in Silicon Valley gave her a new lens on the urgent topic of trust, and in May 2018, Frances delivered a widely-viewed TED talk on ‘How to build (and rebuild) trust.’ This powerful framework delivers a crash course on stakeholder trust: how to build it, maintain it and restore it when lost. 

Frances is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business. She and co-author Anne Morriss recently published their latest book, Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You. Hailed as “the definitive guide to leadership today,” Unleashed gives readers permission to look beyond themselves and focus on the true challenge of leadership: how to unlock the potential of others.   

Frances holds a Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. 

 

Books and resources mentioned in this episode

The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson (hear the interview with Amy Edmondson here)

Remote Work Revolution  by Tsedal Neeley (an upcoming guest)

Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino  (an upcoming guest)

Blind spot by Mahzarin R. Banaji  and Anthony G. Greenwald 

 Project implicit  

 Ted Lasso - an Apple TV series

Additional resources 

The Culture Strategy Bootcamp

Scaleup’s Guide to Creating a Culture Playbook 

Personal Core Values Discovery Guide

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