The following is a conversation between Josh Bersin, author of Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations, and Denver Frederick, the Host of The Business of Giving.

Denver: Most organizations realize that the time has come for them to rethink organizational design, employee engagement, and employee development. Far fewer, however, know what to do or how to get started. That’s why I’m so excited about my next guest. He’s Josh Bersin, a recognized global expert on all things HR, founder of the Josh Bersin Company, and author of Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations.

Welcome back to The Business of Giving, Josh.

Josh Bersin, Author of Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations

Josh: Thank you, Denver. It’s great to be here.

Denver: Let me start with this. Why are so many people having such a tough time at work these days? Some of the stats I’ve seen… they may have come from you… 81% of employees feel burned out; 40% come to work afraid. What’s going on?

Josh: Yeah. It’s actually sort of a massively fascinating and sort of disheartening situation, but I think it goes back to the pandemic. So 2019 was three and a half… four years ago. We were all overworked at the time. We were suffering from digital overload, overwhelmed employees, too many emails, too many text messages, et cetera, et cetera.

And along comes the pandemic. Everybody gets forced to work from home. Most people thought they were going to lose their jobs. A lot of people were stricken with family illnesses and their kids were out of school. And we entered this world we now call hybrid work. We didn’t know what to call it at the time. Where we did work at home, our companies didn’t go out of business.

The economy didn’t collapse, but we had to work in a very high-stress, low-interaction environment where we weren’t face to face with our teams the way we were in the past. And frankly, that created a lot of isolation and mental health issues and OCD and all sorts of other things that were sort of just not really issues before.

And now that the world has kind of gone back to some sense of normality, we have companies that are saying we have to improve productivity; we have to drive our technology at a faster rate because the economy is growing again. We have to compete for talent. And yeah, we want you in the office.

And everybody went out and bought furniture and outlets… basically created a life to live in a hybrid work experience. And now our company is saying,” No, no more. We want you out of your house, back.”  Well, our kids are at home, our dogs are at home, our families at home, our parents at home. It’s a lot of stress.

Now, there have been a lot of jobs created, so it isn’t very hard to find a job. In fact, employers are having a very hard time finding people in distribution, logistics, retail, hospitality. A lot of the hourly labor jobs are very hard to fill. But the wages haven’t kept up with inflation.

So here you go… you’ve got the stress of working from home, the recovery from the pandemic, the conflicts with hybrid work, and inflation all happening at the same time. So people have just had it.

Denver: Yeah, yeah.

Josh: And I see this in just everybody I talk to. Now, if you work for a great company or a great organization, then the organization understands this. And they say to the workforce, they say, “Look, we know what you’ve been through, and we’re going to give you some flexibility. We’re going to give you some time off. We’re not going to force you back into the office,” and so forth.

And I think companies are learning that sort of way of going back to business. But in the meantime, there’s a lot of pushing in the other direction.

Denver: There’s certainly been a change in tone over the last three to six months.

Josh: Yeah. And I think the other thing that happened is right around the beginning of the year when everybody was talking about a recession… and then there never really was one, but the interest rates kept going up and up and up.

In the private sector, companies were beginning to really worry about their margins. So they’re jacking up their prices as much as they can, but nobody wants to go too high. So now they’re putting the pressure on employees.

There’s this interesting study that Microsoft did late last year that just blew my mind. Eighty-seven percent of employees believe they’re operating at full capacity, and only 17 percent of CEOs believe that their workers are working at full capacity… complete mismatch…

Denver: I would say that’s a cognitive dissonance there.

Josh: Yeah, complete mismatch. So that creates stress. So those are a lot of things that have been happening.

“And the lesson that I took from the pandemic… which the book was written before the pandemic… was that what I call the unquenchable power of human spirit– the idea that when you give people the right environment, the right rewards, the right set of development, the clarity of mission, they will do absolutely amazing things.

Denver: Now that’s a good overview and a good explanation. And things don’t automatically change when you get back to the office. I think we’re even finding that with kids who go back to school that once they get back into school, they’ll make up for the learning gap, and they’ll be…no,  there’s a lingering effect that just doesn’t…you snap your fingers, get back into the office, or get back into the school, and think that everything is going to be okay.

I get so focused on the title of your book, Irresistible, but one of the other words in the title that caught me was “Enduring.” And I really love that because it’s not one of these ephemeral, fad books. It’s those companies that basically are irresistible over an enduring period of time. What are some of the things that make for organizational endurance?

Josh: Thank you, Denver, for asking that because that’s really one of the most important things I want to get across here. Any company or organization can be irresistible and great and a wonderful place to work when things are good, but everybody goes through cycles.

There isn’t a company on the planet… or organization on the planet that hasn’t had some sort of a downturn, where either the economy or a competitor or technology or a market change threatened the lifeblood of the whole company, or at least a lot of it. And what enduring companies do is they go through those periods of time, and they come to the realization…

Sometimes they’re built this way, but a lot of times they’re not, and they start to realize that the only way we’re going to thrive through this rough period is we’re going to have to take care of our people because they are going to have to be the ones that reinvent this company. We, as executives, can’t do it. They have to do it. And we have to sort of create an environment so they can do it.

And the lesson that I took from the pandemic… which the book was written before the pandemic… was that what I call the unquenchable power of human spirit– the idea that when you give people the right environment, the right rewards, the right set of development, the clarity of mission, they will do absolutely amazing things.

I think the military understands this; all mission-critical companies understand this. But if we don’t give them those environmental conditions, they’ll quit. They’ll quietly quit. They’ll not do their jobs well. They’ll make mistakes, whatever. And so what enduring companies do is they’ve learned over these cycles. They’ve been through life-or-death cycles of some type,…that if we don’t take care of our people, it doesn’t matter how good our numbers are. We may not survive the next issue.

So when I was writing the book, and the reason that word is in the title, is every couple of years, there’s a company that’s on the front page of Fortune Magazine, who’s the best run start-up of the world, who’s now worth a billion dollars, and everybody wants to be them. And then five years later, they’re gone.

Denver: Absolutely. And both of us could name those companies, but we’re too polite.

Josh: You can’t copy those guys. You can’t copy those high flyers. I mean, they’re great companies, but they have to learn how to become enduring, too. I mean, you look at IBM, you look at a lot of companies that have been around a long time. They’ve learned many of the things in this book the hard way.

Denver: Yeah. Yeah. And the point too is that people are going to remember what the company was like when chips were down. You can really build trust at a bad time for the company. And if you try to take advantage of that, people will remember for a long, long time.

Well, you have seven secrets, and we’re going to go through a couple of them if we can. We’ll start with “Teams, Not Hierarchy.” And let me mention, Josh, I love your titles, okay? Because most titles are mush. You don’t have any idea what’s in the chapter. But your chapters are descriptive, which really is some…

Josh: I work very hard on the way the words come together, believe me.

Denver: Well, I know you did. But chapters are some of the things that people sometimes overlook. But the idea, boy, I know what you’re talking about here: Teams, Not Hierarchy.

And you’ve been talking  about something called the “network of teams.” Why wouldn’t a network of teams work in a hierarchical organization?

Josh: Yeah, this is sort of in some ways the fundamental idea in many parts of the book, and in business in general. The business… Okay, let’s just talk about… I’m going to do 1 minute of this little history here that explains what’s going on.

The history of business was we had an agrarian economy of a bunch of little farms, people working on their own, and little craftsmen jobs and stuff. And then somebody figured out… I don’t know who… if we bring a bunch of people together, we can create industrial scale; we can create specialized jobs, not make everybody do everything.

And our products, our services or whatever it is we’re developing and selling, we can develop more and more and more of them at a lower and lower and lower cost, and make more and more money. And so we’ll hire people into these jobs. And in some ways, the… actually the slave plantations did this. If you read about slavery, slaves had very specialized jobs.

And so in order to make that work, we needed managers, and then we need managers of managers, and directors and so forth. And so we built these hierarchies. And for many, many years, certainly when I was young, that was the way companies operated. And we went to work for a company, and we stayed there most of our career. So we traversed up the hierarchy as far as we could go, or maybe around a little bit, and then we left.

Denver: Got the gold watch and disappeared.

Josh: Yeah, exactly. And the Peter Principle… and there’s just a ton of stuff. All of the HR practices are built around this, and along comes the Internet, and along comes technology, and about half of that stuff just goes away overnight. People start changing jobs. They start moving from company to company.

Once I leave company A and I go to company B, I take all the expertise of company A with me. So now company B knows what company A knows. So all of this hierarchy stuff is actually slowing us down. We’re not moving fast enough. Because in order for us to make a decision over here, I’ve got to go up the hierarchy and ask permission and then come back down here.

And these guys only meet once a year; these guys meet once a quarter and so forth. You know what I mean, takes forever. And by the way, they got to go back and forth and back and forth before those decisions get made. So the model that started in software, which is called Agile, but really moved across most parts of businesses, group people into small groups.

There’s a company, very famous company called…it’s a chemical company, I can’t think of the name of right now, that they would never have a plant that had more than 100 people because about 100 people… everybody knows each other. More than 100 people, you don’t know each other. And they found out that the plants that had 200 people underperformed the plan set at 100 people.

So we break the work in the companies down into projects or service groups or different operating groups in small groups, and we get rid of the layers… so we don’t have so many layers. There’s just been so many companies I talked to during the pandemic that flattened their organizations by a factor of 2 or factor of 3 because all these levels were slowing everything down. So that’s what this is about.

And once you do that and you run the company that way, and you operate that way, the people have more sense of empowerment because they’re part of a small group, and they feel like they really can be contributing to something that they can put their head around. And also, the groups can be more innovative. There’s all sorts of good things that happen. So that chapter is all about that, sort of massive change that’s going on.

Denver: I talked to somebody at, and she had been working on a project. And she said at the end of the project, she didn’t even know what her contribution was because it had been iterated so many different times.

And she said, “I had a hard time getting a handle about my value until I realized I was just part of something great, and it was even more satisfying than, ‘Oh, I did this part of it.’”

Josh: Right.

Denver: And the other thing that you said that really caught my attention was how people started jumping for jobs. And I thought about that the other day, Josh, and it really coincided with free agency in sports.

Remember you used to be a Yankee or a Red Sox or a Giant, but then when people started jumping teams, we all started jumping companies at the same time, or so it seems back in…

Josh: There’s no way, there’s no going back. I mean, that’s all history. But the thing is, we’re left with the vestiges of all that history, and we have to think about things differently.

Denver: Let’s talk about “Coach, Not boss.” Boy, I hear a lot about that. What are employees looking for, and how can managers go about making the change from being a boss to being a coach?

Josh: Well, the big eye-opener for a manager or a supervisor who may have grown up in the ranks and got promoted from an individual contributor into a management job is you have just changed careers. You didn’t just change jobs.

Now, your job is to get the best out of a bunch of other people without doing it for them, to enable them, to train them, to coach them, to align them so they can do the best thing possible… because in the old model, you might have had five or six people working for you. In the new model, you might have 20 people working for you, or 10, and you can’t micromanage each person.

So in the industrial age, in the hierarchical age, we had management and labor. Labor did the work, management told them what to do. It’s a little bit like the slave trade, to be honest. Now, we have managers who are looking over teams of people who are doing work, and they’re supposed to know how to do it whether the manager is there or not.

So now your whole role is different, and it’s a little bit like being a parent. I think it’s more like being a parent than anything else. You can’t force your kids to be the way they’re going to be. They end up the way they’re going to end up. You’re really their parent looking over them, supporting them, keeping them out of trouble, but you’re not with them every minute of the day. And that’s, in a sense, what’s changed.

Now, some companies have very hierarchical management styles and they’re very execution-oriented companies, but they tend to underperform. Their employees quit. They don’t like being managed that way. They want to have a sense of autonomy or agency. Also, the best ideas that make your organization better come from the front-line employees.

And if the managers aren’t listening and empowering them, they’re not hearing this. They’re not paying attention. So there’s all sorts of things that happen when you move to that model.

Denver: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of fresh ideas in the room, and guess what? They’re not with you.

Josh: Right.

“….every company is starting to inch towards a professional services-oriented talent model, where everybody is empowered to do what we call “top of license work,” the work that they’re most suited to do, what they’re most skilled at, and hopefully what they want to do.”

Denver: And as a parent, I think a lot of managers struggle with this,  that if you clean your son’s room because it’s easier and faster, he’s never going to learn to clean it himself, and you’ll be stuck doing that for the rest of the time. So what does this do to performance management? It kind of turns it on its head a little bit, doesn’t it?

Josh: It does. I mean, I think the new world of performance management is not one manager evaluating you based on what he or she thinks at the end of the year, even though that still happens. It’s multiple managers, multiple stakeholders agreeing on what they think your performance is and working with you on that and giving you feedback on it.

Because in a flatter organization, you’re probably working on project teams that don’t report to your manager. So you’re very likely in… like if you’re in a specialist group or an engineering group, you might have a head of engineering, but you’re working on a product  plant over there with a new car group or whatever.

So you have a manager or supervisor over there, or a leader or project leader. There’s a project leader on the engineering side. And then a lot of companies have career advisors or career coaches as another manager. So it isn’t all done by one person anymore, and you don’t have this political process of  “I got to keep my manager happy, otherwise, at the end of the year, I’m going to be in trouble.”

Denver: Yeah, yeah. So interesting. This is sounding a lot like the consulting firms, the Deloittes and Bains, and…

Josh: It is. Every company. In fact, I like to tell companies this: Every company is starting to inch towards a professional services-oriented talent model, where everybody is empowered to do what we call  “top of license work,” the work that they’re most suited to do, what they’re most skilled at, and hopefully what they want to do.

Denver:Culture, Not Rules.”  Another great chapter title. And I think they’ve always said that the stronger the culture, the fewer the rules. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on.

Josh: Well, this is a fairly simple concept, but I think it drifts into different directions, different companies. If you look at whatever business you’re in… let’s suppose you’re an oil company, and one of your important disciplines is safety. If you have a fire or a fatality or a bad accident, or a piece of equipment gets damaged, it’s very bad for the employees. It’s very bad for the company brand. It’s financially costly. And it slows down the production.

So how do we embrace this rule of safety? Do we have a thousand constraints on everything that you do? Do we lock people up with safety gear? No, we have a culture of safety, and we teach people to think about safety all the time. I worked for Exxon when I was young, and they have a safety minute at the beginning of every meeting at Exxon, no matter… even if you’re in the IT department, you’re not allowed… at least when I worked there… you’re not allowed to skip steps when you go up and down the stairs because you could trip.

And those are culture things. They’re trying to teach you to think this way and operate this way. Other companies have very financially rigorous cultures. We don’t spend an extra penny on anything around here. That’s the way it goes. So we can have rules around that, or we can just teach people to think that way.

And then there’s the whole issue of:  What is the business we’re in, and why do we behave the way we do? What it turns out that if you look at… we just finished a big study on this, if you look at the best leadership programs for leadership development in companies, the number one thing they do, the ones that are really above the curve, really high-performing, is they talk a lot about behaviors.

How do you behave in meetings? How do you behave in a difficult situation? How do you behave when a client’s upset? How do you behave when a team is underperforming, et cetera? Because they’re trying to reinforce this, whatever their culture may be. I mean, the behaviors will be different in different companies. And so that chapter is just reinforcing that message.

I think most people kind of know this in their minds, but a lot of companies develop a lot of rules and sort of old-fashioned practices that have been around a long, long time. And they sometimes work against the culture, and you’ve got to take a step back and say, “Why are we doing all this? That’s not really the kind of company we used to be. How did we get here?”  And we let the rules get in the way of what we’re really trying to accomplish.

Denver: Exactly right. And I think a lot of these trainings are too intellectual and too thought-provoking as opposed to behavior. I mean, if you start changing your behaviors, your thinking will begin to change, too. And I think one of the upbeat things you said was that I could actually work at Exxon now because I can’t skip steps anymore. 

Josh: Me, too. Every time I go to the doctor, he says, “Have you taken any falls?”

Denver: You know, I got an Apple Watch.

Josh: Are you holding on to the handrail when you go down the steps?

Denver: I have an Apple Watch, and I was doing a side plank the other day with it. And the SOS starts coming up on me. I’m like, Hey! Come on! I’m not that old, am I?

Well, you got these irresistible organizations, and you have been studying leadership for God knows how long. Talk about Irresistible Leadership. That’s a new project of yours.

Josh: Yeah, that research is coming out this fall. Well, it’s not that different than it used to be, but the thing that’s essentially the big difference is there’s one thing that’s different. In the older models of leadership… that many, many people have written books about… we had this idea of execution at the top, people at the bottom.

So if we hit our numbers, and we have all the right skills, and we all have the right levels of accountability and the right technology and the right this and the right that, then we’re going to make enough money to keep the shareholders happy, and the employees will be taken care of. It is now the opposite.

The real world we live in now post-pandemic is in order for the execution to take place, which is the bottom, we have to take care of the people. And that’s a different mentality for a senior executive. So let’s suppose you need to do a layoff, let’s suppose you need to do a reorg, let’s suppose you’re going to do an M&A, there’s a million decisions to make on who to fire, who not to fire.

Do we put people on furlough? Do we give them long leaves? Do we give them short leaves? What’s the package look like? Maybe we don’t fire people at all. Maybe we just reduce the cost of the company and just maintain the workforce we have to grow. Those are sort of what you might consider HR issues. Those are the management issues that now  drive execution, including leaders being aware of change management.

I suppose this has always been true to some degree, but great executives have a good sense as to why the company is underperforming. What are the cultural or organizational or rewards or people issues that are getting in the way? So we call this “human-centered leadership,” and that comes out in interview after interview after interview when we talk to companies.

And I think it’s different from the way it was 10 or 20 years ago when everybody was copying Jack Welch and the old rank and yank stuff. And leaders have to be very aware of disruptive technologies. You can’t outsource that to some innovation group and say, “You guys worry about this.”  Because things are changing so fast. Almost every company we talk to is moving into a new industry or some adjacent market that they don’t understand.

And if the CEO and the top executives aren’t thinking about that and studying it, they can’t delegate that. So those are some of the characteristics of irresistible leadership.

“I think the fears of AI have been way overblown. I mean, just incredibly overblown. I don’t know why the New York Times went off a deep end on this stuff. These are science-oriented tools that make it easier to find job candidates, easier to develop people, easier to move people to new roles, easier to generate content.”

Denver: Yeah, yeah. You can be taken to the cleaners that way when you don’t know what’s going on, and the vendors know a lot more than you do and nobody in-house.

And then also, I think even one of your recent podcasts is that you just build layer on top of layer on top of layer, to the point where it becomes indecipherable. And I think that’s what’s happened in the government to a large degree. There’s just so many legacy systems built on top of one another that you don’t know where to go.

It was interesting when you were talking about the employees. I’ve always had this belief that marketing is the promise we make to the consumer, and it’s the employees who deliver on that promise. And that last part is just becoming, I think, more realized that it’s not the consumer, it’s the employee… they deliver the message.

Let me pick up on what you had to say about technology because I speak to a lot of nonprofit organizations, and they’re a little nervous about the role of AI in HR. And they’re saying, Hey, when you speak to Josh, what do we need to do? We don’t want to be throwing money out the window, but we also don’t want to be left behind. What do you have to say to them?

Josh: Well, for nonprofits who don’t have giant budgets for technology, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I think the fears of AI have been way overblown. I mean, just incredibly overblown. I don’t know why the New York Times went off  a deep end on this stuff. These are science-oriented tools that make it easier to find job candidates, easier to develop people, easier to move people to new roles, easier to generate content.

They’re not perfect, but they’re better than having nothing. And they’re getting better all the time. The fears of AI are that they’re going to be biased, that they’re going to leave out a female candidate… or an African American candidate… or somebody who has some other different characteristics. The software companies that are working on this stuff are putting massive amounts of money into that problem, and I’m not too worried about it.

I suppose the only issue with AI today is it’s very immature, so most of these tools are sort of beta products, and they work really well, but not perfectly; they make mistakes. And so the users of them just have to be aware of the fact that you’re using something that is incredibly powerful, but not necessarily perfect yet.

And for a nonprofit that doesn’t have a lot of money, I would wait for the more established vendors to have AI features. They’re all working on it, and I wouldn’t worry too much about it as a technology that’s going to get in your way. I think it’s going to be a massive productivity enhancer for all of us. And it’s just kind of a little messy in the rollout process.

Denver: Yeah, yeah. I hear you. It is funny how we prescribe completely different standards to technology than we do to people. And I look every once in a while at those autonomous cars that get into a crash, and people say: Oh, this is not ready for prime time.

And you want to say: Well, how many crashes did you have today? Can we do a mileage assessment or something?

Josh: Yeah. How many people crash?

“…I think the answer is not forcing everybody to come back to the office, but spending more time together, having staff meetings with special events, doing planning sessions, encouraging people to go on events together as a group. You don’t have to wreck the whole hybrid work policy to create cohesion amongst people.” 

Denver: How many people crash? But you have one car that crashed in the San Francisco street, and “Let’s get it off the street!”

Let me ask you a little bit about cultural cohesion and these hybrid models. What have you been seeing? I mean, is it beginning to fray a little bit? How are you keeping it… how are organizations keeping it together and getting the best of both worlds?

Josh: Well, there’s a lot of turnover amongst young people in companies. I hear this constantly that under the age of 35 or so, the turnover rate is very high. Especially under the age of 30, where many employees never or haven’t spent much time in the office, they haven’t spent a lot of face time in front of their teammates. So they don’t feel this personal relationship with the company the way they did when they were in an office. So that’s an issue.

And I think everybody who’s managing younger people needs to be careful about that. And I think the answer is not forcing everybody to come back to the office, but spending more time together, having staff meetings with special events, doing planning sessions, encouraging people to go on events together as a group.

You don’t have to wreck the whole hybrid work policy to create cohesion amongst people. And then I think for managers, it’s different really being sensitive to family issues, mental health issues, home issues that you can’t see in the office. In the office, you kind of see people and you can observe them when there’s something wrong.

So managers have to be especially vigilant about this and pay attention and take time with people and give people the flexibility they need. There’s this something weird about working remotely where people think you’re always going to be available for everything, and you’re not. I mean, even in the office, you’re not available for everything all the time.

So there’s a certain amount of patience people have to have… managers have to have…to  create this cohesion, too.

Denver: Has anything not happened that was expected by you and experts? When back in March of 2020, by 2021, we kind of saw what the future was going to look like. Here in 2023, the latter part of it, has anything not happened?

Josh: There were all sorts of crazy things. I think remote work has both become less prevalent and more prevalent than before. We’re not all going to work at home all the time. And I think we all know now that there are lots of times when we actually have to be together with people… we understand that. There are huge benefits to being face to face.

But on the other hand, we also have companies with employees all over the world online at the same time, and that’s no big deal. So that’s been miraculous, and tools like Zoom and Teams and so forth have enabled that. The other thing that I think is surprising to me is there have been so many people, not me, who predicted that: Oh, these technology tools are going to wipe out millions of people. Nobody’s going to have any jobs. There’s going to be people sitting out on the streets because the computers are going to run our companies. 

The exact opposite has happened. The most automated companies have the most people. Amazon has so many people. I mean, a million employees. Walmart, these are highly automated companies.

So the more technology we have at work, the more we need humans to sit on top of the technology and use it and create it and take it to customers and so forth. So that’s the other one that always drives me crazy, is all these articles about how all these jobs are going to go away. They change… jobs change, but they haven’t disappeared.

And I think that’s one of the hallmarks of the next couple of decades, is we’re not going to have enough people for the number of jobs. So that one didn’t happen.

Denver: No. And that’s a great observation on your part, it really is.

Finally, Josh, the pandemic, boy, that was a stark reminder of the unpredictability of global events. What lessons can be learned and strategies developed over the next couple of years  to prepare companies and nonprofits so they can equip themselves when this or something similar like this happens again?

Josh: I think the number one lesson from the pandemic is resilience. Do you, in your group, your company, your organization, your nonprofit… are you running on the ragged edge? Or do you have a little bit of a cushion that if something bad happens, you’re going to be okay? Are you running out of cash? Do you have too many employees? Have you overstretched your technology expertise, et cetera, in the interest of something?

I mean, the reason companies get stretched thin is they’re trying to hit the stock market number or whatever it is, they’re doing something. That’s the superhuman feat they’re trying to achieve. And then if something bad happens, the wheels fall off. And what the pandemic pretty much proved was the companies that had great relationships with their employees, that had good IT systems, that were thinking about human capital issues already, did fine.

Within a couple of months, they reinvented themselves, and they just thrived. The ones that had a sort of a tenuous relationship with their workers in the first place, a lot of them are gone. So I think that’s the story here is: give yourself a little cushion. And if you read the book and you take care of the people’s side of the business, they do tend to take care of the company when bad things happen. So that’s the other lesson from the pandemic.

Denver: Oh, those are good lessons. Not to bring up baseball again, but I remember one of my favorite pitchers was Sandy Koufax, and he was wild as could be. And his catcher said, “Just throw at 85% .” And he became the most dominant pitcher going, at 85%. And I’ve always remembered that, that you need that 15%…

Josh: You need a little extra, yeah.

Denver: …because something’s going to happen. No bandwidth for it…you’re going to crash and burn. So that’s wonderful advice, as everything you’ve said is.

You have a great website,, I believe it is…and Josh Bersin Academy, which I periodically join on an annual basis now and again… and I love. Tell listeners about it and what information they’ll find there.

Josh: Sure. We have basically two business models. One is we have a great academy filled with courses and content and research for HR people and business people. It’s called Josh Bersin Academy or

And then we do corporate research and advisory consulting for bigger companies. And the website, has a lot of my articles. It doesn’t have all our research in it, but it talks a lot more about what you can get access to as a corporate member.

And then I’m also an industry analyst, as are a few more people in the company. So anybody who’s working on something new, they have a story, they have a case study they want to talk about, a tool or something they invented, we’d love to hear about it.

Denver: Oh, I’ll tell you, there’s no dust on that website of yours. There’s new stuff every single hour, it seems like. The book again is: Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring, Employee-Focused Organizations.  It’s an exceptional guidebook, a great read for any workplace.

I want to thank you so much for being here today, Josh. It was wonderful to have you back on the program.

Josh: Thank you, Denver. It’s great to be here.

Denver Frederick, Host of The Business of Giving serves as a Trusted Advisor and Executive Coach to Nonprofit Leaders. His Book, The Business of Giving: New Best Practices for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leaders in an Uncertain World, is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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