Oct 15, 2020
Introduction: Peter Cosgrove is an expert in
the World of Work & Future Trends of work. He is a renowned
keynote speaker on topics such as the future of work, the future of
skills and talent, recruitment, diversity & inclusion,
Artificial Intelligence & the negative effects of the rapid
technology acceleration. Peter is also a best -selling author of
two books; Fun Unplugged and family Fun Unplugged. These books were
designed and written to help families get off screen time and
communicate & interact better together. Peter is a board
Director on the 30% Club which promotes gender diversity and he is
also on the board of Aware.
Podcast episode summary: This episode started
with a reflection on our relationship to work and moved into
thinking about our habits and assumptions about work that
often go unexamined for individuals, teams and organisations.
It also spoke to the future of work and how more entrenched
companies might have to learn to pivot to survive. Peter
believes that Covid-19 provided an opportunity to really look at
our priorities and to re-shape our thinking about remote working,
flexibility, talent and how to motivate talent as well as some
behavioural concerns such as listening, empathy, and our use of
time. This episode was searingly honest and provocative. The
importance of critical thinking, dialogue and empathy between all
citizens and intergenerationally was emphasised.
Points made through the episode:
- Peter grew up in a family of 11 children, four brothers and
- When people ask Peter what skills or career their child should
pursue, he answers with the refrain “just do something” There is a
misnomer that people will know or will have a Eureka moment when in
fact often work is about finding and figuring things out.
- Peter moved through a few career choices before he himself
adopted a freelancer lifestyle.
- We are still not quite comfortable as a nation to understand
when people want to do something a bit differently from the 9-5
routine or when they do not subscribe to conventional titles for
- Huge positive impact of Covid-19; Speed of Digital acceptance
/Innovation and adaptation
- Some people did however learn how to retire early.
- Work is often so much of our identity and we can look to our
Culture/Attitudes/Ideas about Achievement and Peer Competition for
why it is often a race to the top.
- Peter believes many of us do not question the why of work or
our why for work.
- We have not mastered the world of remote working -be smarter
about using zoom, shorter time frames/using the phone/making
connections and building connections and not just task.
- Trust is a big challenge and continues to be a big challenge
for more traditional concerns.
- We have to question some of our assumptions about how work is
working in the first place.
- Be wary of employing software and technology that essentially
means you are spying on your employees.
- The Leaders Peter’s see in team situations are often not able
to let go, see the culture they are creating and to allow for
- The team dynamic on many of the teams he observes consists of
teams who rarely engage in healthy debate, defer to seniority, do
not listen and participate in group think and run with many
- Young entrepreneurs and younger generations entering the field
of work have many answers regarding culture/technology/ways of
working but they do need to be listened to.
- Peter shared some simple practices to encourage innovation at
- Some big trends that Peter sees happening include ;
- Change in how real-estate is consumed, Cities are not going to
die but they will be consumed differently
- Air Conditioning at work – many bigger concerns may be allowing
people to remain remote working because Air Conditioning is proving
a big issue in bigger edifices
- Access to Global Talent will mean a further appreciation for
remote working but also an increase in competitiveness between
- Decrease in bureaucracy; amazing how the HSE and Lawyers
responded with Doc-sign for example
- Employers need to pay attention to burn out and encourage
employees to manage boundaries appropriately. Be smart about
shorter zoom meetings, zoom mania and the use of time
- Encourage single task focus. Too much multi-tasking
masquerading as productivity
- Explore opportunities to give remote workers the same
experience as workers working in the office. Be creative.
- Basecamp and Automatic are examples of companies getting it
- Important to acknowledge how innovative people can be when they
have to be.
- Companies need to look out 5 years from now and begin the work
now of helping employees gain skills and experience to keep them
relevant in the dawn of AI
- Refocus by tapping into what gives employees energy and see
productivity soar. Consider more mentors and budget for ideas and
- Peter’s books were born out of a big bug bear with technology.
Technology is fabulous but it can also be addictive. Peter wanted
to write a book that would encourage Parents and Children to start
- These books are used to support Children learn about the
importance of reading, understanding philosophy, what it means to
have rapport with another and general life skills. Our over
dependence on technology is seeing many of the current generation
of children lose important life skills.
- Resources: the following include the resources
I alluded to in this episode
- Herminia Ibarra: Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies
for Reinventing your Career
- linkedin.com Peter Cosgrove
- Fun Unplugged and Family Fun Unplugged by Peter Cosgrove