The 1% Podcast

Jeremy Blain

  • 01

    Jeremy Blain

    Unleash Your Inner CEO


Today’s guest has undertaken some interesting and unique work in organisational leadership. Jeremy Blain is the Chief Executive of PerformanceWorks International – an organisation that accelerates business and workforce transformation through award-winning training, hands-on consultation and executive coaching. 


Jeremy is the author of The Inner CEO – Unleashing Leaders At All Levels. It is an excellent piece of work which focuses entirely on developing leaders right across an organisation; not just at senior levels of management. 


Jeremy challenges leaders to define and implement strategies around digital and human capital change within businesses, and – more than anything else – make sure they are fit and ready to be the right kind of leader for their organisation.  


Show Notes:


02:40 Workplace practices and culture were due a big change

  • The pandemic has accelerated the changes in the workplace
  • Before the pandemic, almost half the companies in the UK didn’t ever consider remote working


03:50 Jeremy’s background

  • He started his career in sales at Proctor & Gamble
  • He ran his own business during the dot-com bubble burst
  • Jeremy then became a consultant on the operational aspect of businesses


06:51 Some common traits Jeremy sees in the leadership landscape

  • 20th century leaders are often resistant and struggle to transform, and 21st century leaders know they don’t have all the answers and have to learn at a fast pace
  • There is a narrowing gap in capabilities between the executive team and the rest of its organisation


09:12 On writing ‘The Inner CEO: Unleashing Leaders at All Levels’

  • It came from noticing that there was a significant knowledge gap in existing research and publications
  • Many leaders focused on just digital transformation – when they should have focused on an entire organisational transformation
  • ‘The Gig HR’ is the rise of the independent workforce


14:55 Why gig economy workers should be more networked in organisations

  • The largest demographic coming into the gig economy today is Generation X , aka “leaders in waiting”


18:42 Henry Mintzberg’s idea of emergent strategy

  • ‘Emergent strategy’ refers to unintended patterns or consistencies in the behaviour of organizations over time, as distinct from their planned or deliberate strategies
  • “One CEO is not enough”
  • We need to be more ‘how-focused’


23:10 What makes great leadership

  • It delivers great people, great profitability and great productivity
  • The rise of asynchronised working
  • Great companies like Spotify and Nike have moved away from performance management into performance support and encourage experimentionation
  • According to Spotify, the secret is chaos – “that’s where the magic happens”


26:12 How Jeremy’s insights can help company’s retain great talent

  • There is a disconnect between employees and leaders believing that they are ready for the future
  • We need to focus on creating a culture of empowerment
  • Jeremy has written his book as a practical how-to manual
  • Empowerment is not about doing more


30:40 How to ensure high performance through a supportive role

  • Recognise and reward targeting behaviours as much as the results
  • Create pyschological safety
  • There are two types of empowerment: stepping up and stepping out
  • “Be enablers, not supervisors, of the process”


36:19 How public service frontline organisations can embrace performance support

  • Frontline workers are ‘owning’ what is happening on the frontline
  • The British Army is a great example of an organisation which transcends mission command and control


42:02 Mindset shifts needed for traditional CEOs

  • There is a triple transformation: digital and the workplace environment, a more empathetic approach to leading, and keeping up with the pace of change
  • Consider distributing leadership across your organisation in a more strategic way


46:01 On authentic leadership

  • Jeremy calls it ‘the enlightened leader’
  • Embrace that you are not the smartest person in the room
  • Gucci went through a journey of rediscovery, empowering their frontline employees to share ideas with the top e.g. the Gucci Life campaign


50:14 The opportunities of working with multiple generations

  • Diversity and inclusion has come to the forefront, including having a multi-generational mix
  • Over 60% of people leave a company because of their boss – not because of the company
  • We need a more empowered and flatter structure


55:42 The most important traits and skills for leaders

  • Human-centered skillsets are the most in need, e.g. empathy and relationship-building


01:01:09 Representation amongst the workforce

  • Diversity isn’t enough – we need representation
  • “Are you representing in a way that’s right for your business, your purpose, and your people?”
  • According to Jeremy, a better word for ‘Inclusion’ is belonging and involvement


Links Mentioned: