Podcast Interview with Steven Joachim

Stevens Joachim, the Chairperson at Global Legal Entity Identifiers Foundation and Chief Financial Officer at Smart World Productions, shares insights pertaining to his academic and professional career. Having had experience working in a variety of industries and environment, Joachim offers an intriguing perspective on leadership, particularly what it takes to be an effective leader.

 

Transcript

Wei Zheng:  Okay Steve Thanks so much, first of all, to give your time to us and share with us your experience and knowledge and insights. I really appreciate your time.  Could you start by giving us a brief overview of your career history

 

Steven Joachim:  Sure, so I started out really as a with an intention to move between the public and private sector my education, training, focused on both public and private sector.  And started out as typically as a management analyst and general manager consultant, but working first  In New York State Office to court administration to bring cases working on speed tried rules to speedy trial rules to bring cases to trial faster. And then it’s just general manager consultants were a move pretty steadily between both public and private sector organizations.  Were for bounded means to tobacco company for the iOS commission for  The Maricopa County and Arizona Phoenix area right different assignments and variety from places over those years, and then I moved into finance. I spent 15 years  at Merrill Lynch and capital markets big switch to me. I had to recognize that money was a product which was an easy thing, not an easy thing to just the first time I did it.  But it was only capital markets and originally was hired to help build an institutional marketing department there.  And then I became the chief operating officer for equities and I ran the floor. So the stock exchange and then try something entirely different. It ran global equity markets technology for four years.  I got the.com bug.

 

Steven Joachim:  During the.com era in the late 90s and early, mid to late 90s and joined a startup that build custom software Lawrence a for the for Wall Street, but not just Wall Street where I was COO.  During those four years was great fun. It was a building a company was  Probably put me closer in touch to who I thought I was there anything else we grew the company from about 90 1997 doing about $20 million to bet $93 million in just four years.  And I like to say it was all new to me, but it was probably rising tide lifts all boats. You know that that phrase.  And obviously in 2000 the market changed.

 

Steven Joachim:  One of the great things about running a  professional services company, your primary asset basis two legged that may sound cold. But the reality was, was we were able to then shrink the group from 670 people back down to 300 people relatively quickly was not an easy process that was difficult.  But then right size, the company at that point time I talked to the founder and said, you know, because it was this wasn’t what I signed up for. At that point, time and said,  I want to rethink what I’m doing and you know he was supportive  And  FINRA who is the securities, the regulatory body, the nonprofit regular regulator that oversees the US broker dealer business approached me  They were trying to build a new business themselves, the SEC and require them to move into the market data business.  Over the counter securities and they asked me to come on board to build on this market data business.  And can I thought this was a great opportunity for me to switch back into something more public sector, like, but it was kind of a straddle between both public and private sector, many ways.

 

Steven Joachim:  And I built a business that basically  Served  The private sector, to a large extent, although also built the regulatory database for overseeing regulation in the over the counter markets in the US.  And but we wholesale the market data.  That was provided for over the counter securities, particularly on fixed income securities and spending 15 years there in a non-profit regulator had great fun, interesting challenges.  But over that 15 year timeframe we had brought to market basically all the fixed income Park products and changed the way markets operator did great deal, I felt that I left my mark my team was ready to run it without me. So I retired and started doing something entirely different again.  And in really in two phases, one was working on smart cities projects as a consultant and advisor.  To help bring technology to urban environments to raise the quality of life there.  And I also, more recently joined the board of a global non-profit as their Chairman.

 

Steven Joachim:  In a business kind of similar to my finance experience to that was created after the financial crisis to create a way to link companies globally.  So that regulators, as well as market participants and others could link from a global perspective companies that are operating on a cross border basis and other different challenges. It’s called the Global legal entity identifier foundation  So that’s kind of the arc of my career and brief done a lot of different things.  Worked on left and projects. Um, and built a lot of products and felt feel that  When I look back on my career. The things I’m probably  most known for is is taking ideas and building products and businesses around that.  To  enhance and improve the environment, both public sector settings and private sector settings. Mm.”

 

Wei Zheng:  Hmm, that’s really interesting. So your experience, your work experience has spanned a lot of different fields in organizations or even industries.  You mentioned consulting finance technology and some organizations that straddle in between for profit, non-profit and now you’re in a non-profit.  And non-profit board so it seems like you’re not intimidated by jumping into a completely new field. What are some of your strategies adapting or learning in a new environment.

 

Steven Joachim:  Well, that’s an interesting question. It’s a challenge. It’s a, it’s always a challenge.  But I think the first thing and new environments are , are things that kind of stimulate the I’m even, even when I was even though I spent 15 years in your location I constantly was kind of reinventing myself reinventing my environment. So just a little bit. What makes me tick.  So I get bored if I’m kind of in a static place so I used to warn all the people I work with, that if I get bored. It’s not a pretty sight.  So the change stimulates me and I recognize that doesn’t do it for everybody, but how do you, how do you do that. So the first thing I think you have to recognize that I recognize in myself and I wouldn’t  Want to make the assumption that everybody would adapt or adopt the same kinds of techniques that I would use.

 

Steven Joachim:  But the first thing I try to recognize is where I’m going.  Is not dad organization that structure is not going to adopt and adapt to me as a parent, the first thing is, is I have to figure out what that environment is how it operates. What makes it tick.  And I have to adapt my styles.  To that organizations performance over time.  You can create change.  But it’s very difficult to walk into a new environment and think you’re going to change it.  And even when you go in as the sole owner or the leader in the organization.  You have to recognize your work with a team if it exists already. You’ve got to adapt to what they do and how they operate. To start with, to be effective builds credibility.  So how do I do that I you know I start by asking  Lots of questions on. I always tell the story that  My kids. Give me, give me a t shirt. When I was growing up, and when they were growing up, and it said for good demand on the front and those who speak Spanish. Understand the demand and I don’t speak Spanish.  Means questioning, man. So they got used to me being a questioner.  But the first range of questions I asked our about  Our to help me learn. I try to listen very carefully to answers to questions. You start with general and move to specific oftentimes I’ll ask questions.  Directly think I know the answers to.  Because I find that when I do that sometimes. I don’t know, but I think I know is wrong and I get very different answers from what I think is right. So it helps me validate what I know.  But it also helps me understand the way people think and approach problems and deal with issues helps me learn about an organization release technique I learned as a management consultant early on, never make assumptions.

 

Steven Joachim:  Always have a view in the back of your mind, but never  really make an assumption, try to ask the fundamental questions first. Um, so I asked lots of questions, again, moving from general to specific I try to listen very carefully, not just to the words that people say, but to how they say it.  How they respond to questioning  And how they what context they put their answers in because it helps me to understand how the organization has approached problems. How they have where they’re coming from and where the organization is coming from.  And then I take a step back and try to think about how best to approach it how best I can use, but I think I’m good at in that environment.  To be successful help it to be successful.  And then I telegraph everything. So what does that mean  So I try  Some people don’t love this, to be honest with you, but  I tried to be very direct. I try to tell people, here’s who I am. Here’s how I work. Here’s what you can expect  And this is what I expect from you. And then I do everything possible to deliver that  I find it very important that no matter what you say.

 

Steven Joachim:  Early on in your organization. When you’re new to that organization.  Is that people have to know who you are. Um, and then you’ve got to deliver that  The only way to do that is to tell them what you expect, because they’re going to make assumptions to what if you tell them what you’re going to do and then deliver that that reinforces  The capability that reinforces the result. And they learn pretty quickly, who you are and what you are not everybody always loves it. But the reality is over time as they if you’re successful together.  People love success. It’s been always my experiences. People love to know they’ve been successful and feel successful now almost every single just got how I approach new organizations and what I do.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm. Do you have an example you can share with us in terms of how you ask questions from the more abstract and then get into more specific.

 

Steven Joachim:  Well, um,  It’s an interesting. It’s an interesting problem set ass. But let me take you through  A particular problem that we dealt with more recently, and it may not get exactly to an answer to what you’re talking about what you’re asking me for but hopefully it will help  Give you an understanding of what I would do.  So I’m going to take you through a problem. And this is a real story.  The US Treasury market we, you know, the US Treasuries trade. They’re the world’s biggest  Largest market, the world.  And that’s basically debt instruments issued by the US government  Considered the most liquid most credit worthy instrument in the world.  In 2014  There was an event that took place, and I’ll try not to get too specific here, but there was an event took place that was an anomaly in the markets and the Treasury and the Fed US Treasury and the Fed did not understand what happened and why it happened.  They’ve spent over a year.  Trying to discover uncover what the causes of the event were not  What the event is  I attended a conference with them to  That they had to discuss the problem.  And went up to  One of the senior people at the Treasury afterwards and said,  You know, you really can’t address this problem without having good data.  On treasuries. And isn’t it surprising that  You’ve now gone through a year of analysis and can’t conclude any interest and they part of the reason is, is because they had openly admitted they didn’t have good data. So why don’t we figure out how and what you could do to get good data.

 

Steven Joachim:  By the way we you know we had  In my business had basically done this in almost every other fixed in product other than treasuries.  So I could have walked in and said, by the way, we, we already know how to do this.  Will tell you how to do it will come do it for you.  But I knew that that wasn’t a smart strategy, largely because it wasn’t clear. It’s very, I don’t want to get tied up too much in specifics here.  But unusually US Treasuries is one of those products that nobody really understands, who has regulatory oversight of many people do many different organizations do  And therefore, there isn’t a really known consolidate or one person who calls when NT the calls all the shots in terms of the product.  So I spent so I sat down with him. He said, Well, come see me and come talk to me about it. Um, so I went in and we set up a time and I went in and just started asking him questions.  And here’s getting trying to get into your answers.  What was the general problem that you were trying to solve.  And he tried to articulate it and I asked a number of questions around. What was the problem. Did he really understand what problem he was trying to solve.  And as we talked about it.  And I wasn’t really telling him what the problem was.

 

Steven Joachim:  I thought I had an idea of what I thought it was. But as we listened. He responded and the more we asked the more he got more a crystallized the question he was really trying to ask himself.  And I asked him the question is, is have you asked if everybody else in the group is asking the same question.  And he stopped and he said  I don’t really know.  So he said, how about if I go and ask them that question, the same question. We just went through.  And he said, Sure, I’ll give the referral and large go sit down, talk. So I went over and talk to them and went through the same cycle and all of them.  You know they were actually for other entities and none of them really had a crystal clear answer. And we all sat through and talked about what the answers were  We came to an answer. Basically, each one had a different problem. They were trying to solve it was part of the problem, right, they didn’t really have a common understanding of the problem.  We started out with that general question of  What was the problem you’re trying to solve and getting a definition of what that is. And we discovered that there were four different organizations each trying to solve a different problem.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm.

 

Steven Joachim:  So then I went back to the original Treasury guy and said let’s get back together again. And now let’s talk about what the problem is that you jointly want to solve.  And then how you try to solve it. So we called the meeting together and I became this process this questioner and questioning help them crystallize.  What the problem is they were trying to solve. And each layer we got more specific. So first we started with the four problems. We found a way to consolidate them into one problem definition then started to what I call Peel the onion.  So to solve that problem. What information do you need to have. And then, would that layering on if we knew that information, what information can you get. And then how do you get it.  through that cycle that tearing that kind of waterfall effect with the problem.

 

Steven Joachim:  We were able to iterate through a solution that became crystal clear, lo and behold the end they turned to him and said, if you know all this stuff. Why don’t you just do this for us.  And I said, Look, I just want to help you. I can do it. We’ve done this before, or I’m you can do it and I’ll help guide you through the process to do it.  But if you’re going to do it. Here’s all the things you need to do to get there.  So again, I don’t want to get buried in the details on it. But basically, that that process that tearing process lead to the conclusion. It was done over about  Would say three months lead to a conclusion that got to where I thought I was in the beginning where they should have been. They should have recognized that we were doing this, we could have done it for him right away.  But it helped them coalesce their ideas, their thought process their problem set, get better direction on the problem and peeling the onion and we got down to a specific plan for how we can actually attack resolve the problem.

 

Steven Joachim:  So that’s an example, kind of, of how I use questioning  In the context of a  More complex problem set with lots of different you can answer that question. Also, my very macro perspective.  I mean, when I first  came on board at FINRA  And I’ll just do this quickly, so we don’t get too bogged down in it, but  When I first came on board and FINRA  Most people look to me because it was basically regulate organization, full of lawyers.  We had 3000 people there were 1000 programmers and technology people and 2000 waters.  Or legally oriented people  And not again and high level numbers.  And  They suddenly there was this guy that came from markets in business in in technology.  in their midst and I came in as a reasonably senior person, you know, and I was assigned to build this product. They all look to me is the Prophet guy.  So huge fear that I didn’t get what they were doing.  So my first objective was to pull together the team of people that I was going to work with, not the two people who report to me. But the team and meet with them together and then one on one. And then we met one

 

Steven Joachim:  My goal was again questioning started with. Why were they at FINRA. What were they trying to achieve, personally, and how did they approach their problems.  So I could understand how they did it have the organization did it.  And then over time. We didn’t have a lot of time because we already had a deadline and deliverable schedule.  I told him, who I was and how I work. And I said, Look, I don’t work the way you do. I get it.  But I’m going to commit to you that when I’m going to tell you how I work. What my expectations of you will be  And all I asked for you is if you can’t meet those expectations. You tell me upfront.  Don’t wait till later tell me now because if you tell me now I can make changes if you wait till you don’t deliver then I’m behind  On behind the eight ball right so it’s too late for me to make change to fix the problem, then I’ll be angry. I said, but I want to be aligned with you. I want to work with you.

 

Steven Joachim:  I spent a lot of time convincing them that  Well throughout that process that I was very sensitive to their problems and their problem set.  So that I could work effectively, even though I work differently. I told them how I work differently, but also that I was sensitive to their problems and their concerns, so that they always knew that I always listened to, when they had a problem.  And it was all done through questioning

 

Wei Zheng:  Hmm. Interesting. And also when you add or add finger I probably had a lot of different stakeholders are trying to basically to get the industry to self-regulate right  Um, how did you make that work because getting self-regulation probably is not on the priority list of some of the organizations. How do you get them to work.  On doing that.

 

Steven Joachim:  That was a very interesting problem, um, you know,  The, you have to deal with it very differently in different settings right again.  You have to adapt your style adopt your style to  the environment you’re working in, and with different stakeholders react differently to them.  I didn’t always do that perfectly at first, and I learned my lessons the hard way. Sometimes I’ll give me example of that.  So, um, the industry, obviously, is the, the broker dealer business broker dealer, people are  Our key.  Players, obviously, and they’re the ones that are being regulated right  I had to make very clear to them that I was not the rule enforcer.  My goal was to write the rules for which they reported their transactions to me, but I was never going to in the vernacular whack them for violating rules.  And if they work with me. We could shape the rules in a way because I understood the industry and came out of the business, the industry that we could partner and work to create rules that were workable.  That understood the practical issues as well as the fear radical issues.

 

Steven Joachim:  On as a danger in that strategy right so the regulators and the other side are listening and hearing that and saying, Oh, you’re on the industry’s pocket right  So you’re not going to really enforce the rules. You’re not going to your going to you’re going to be a  Nice to say white hat guy in that black hat guy. But you’re going to be one of those black hats that are trying to wait and I so I had to at the same time say to them, is look  Because I come from the business. I can navigate this, but I want to make sure you understand. I always have your best interest in mind.  I’ll be there to try to tell you what I think is real and what is baloney. When are they pulling the wool over your eyes and what are their concerns real  And I spent a fair amount of time with the regulatory side, helping them to understand that my goal was to make sure that they created rules that were not just theoretically good but practically good  And that took time to build over time, but give an example of how you can step on a landmine the course of that.  So when we first launched our fixed income product.

 

Steven Joachim:  The first product we did with corporate bonds. The SEC did a study, a year later that said that the first year of this product being in the market that investors had saved a billion dollars. Through the introduction of this product. I was pretty happy with that was a great solution. I thought so I went to an industry meeting.  Of traders out Dallas.  And I made a speech about what we were doing and talking about it to about 700 people and  I said the course of the meeting that you know we had just saved investors, a billion dollars and we were really happy with that outcome.  And there was one trader in the room that stands up and raises his hand and said,  Yeah, the thing you pointed to a something that was really great is a reason why I’m going to hate you and this product forever.

 

Wei Zheng:  And I looked at a nice

 

Steven Joachim:  Will you sing in front of seven people I was pretty surprised.  Like I said, So, what do you mean he said well that billion dollars came out of my pocket.  Hmm, and went into the hands of investors.  And I looked at him and I said, well, I hear you. But isn’t that exactly what the outcome should be  Isn’t that a good outcome because in the long term.  Investors will be more comfortable will make more money in the long term, so will you.  Come on.  That he said, I’ll never agree with that.

 

Wei Zheng:  I agree to disagree.

 

Steven Joachim:  But it, but it was probably something that I, in retrospect,  I thought about it. I said, You know what, Steve, you learned a lesson the hard way.  You didn’t need to say that and throw it in their face.  All new they all read the article, they all understood that you may feel really good about it. But what you did was say something that made you feel good.

 

Wei Zheng:  And you lost your audience.

 

Steven Joachim:  Because you said something that they didn’t feel good about  Hmm, and you had to understand that problem. I learned that lesson early on was only I was only there for about 18 months that time.  And I never repeated it again.  And it was just something I never forgot

 

Wei Zheng:  Well, would you, what would you say now if you happen. Now, what would you do or say differently.

 

Steven Joachim:  Well i think i think that’s, you know,  One of the hardest things to do in discipline as you take on more and more leadership roles is to carve out enough time to think about what you’re doing.  There, there’s always more work to do than you can ever get done in in your lifetime.  There’s always, I don’t think I can ever remember as I got senior where I really had much time to carve out and think about who I was where I was going, and what was happening and looking at the arc of everything I was doing  And it’s a really important discipline to create and I shouldn’t say never. I stayed up until the last five years. Um, I would say I didn’t spend enough time doing it as my team developed and got more I not last five years I had more time to think about

 

Steven Joachim:  All of those issues. And that gives you the time to again focus and each event because, you know, you always have the big talk about the big umbrella thinking about trying to understand how people think  People you know facts.  You know when you start out as an analyst.  Your, your always think the facts, make your case.  Um, and when you get the real world. That’s generally wrong.  Um, it’s the story you tell  The mixture case.  And a lot of the facts you collect and gather that are really important are not part of the story or shouldn’t be part of the story because they just they take away from the story.  And when you tell a story. You have to think of your audience like a stand-up comedian right  Going to comedian has to gauge. You know, sometimes they tell jokes and sometimes when someone says, it makes everybody laugh when somebody says they go  On and it’s not that different in management is that if you understand your audience, you can tell the story in a way that they’re prepared to digest it.  And you will get to the right answer, the answer that you want to achieve.  But that takes time, right. So, you have to understand who your audiences.

 

Steven Joachim:  You got to take a step back and think about it carefully. The more time you have to get distance from what you’re doing and where you’re going.  The easier it is to build that perspective that’s  Necessary very hard discipline to maintain again because as you get more senior you get more and more things that need to get done and more and more activities and you do more and more work through others. And you spend a lot of time motivating others to get the job done well.  You have less than less time to really gauge the impact as well as you could.  You get better at doing it.  But sometimes it’s after the fact, rather than before the fact. So, you know, I think that I would like to say that  If I look back on my career I wished I would spend more time early on understanding that problem and then spending more time thinking about what I was doing what I was trying to achieve than just doing it.

 

Wei Zheng:  Hmm, that’s very interesting profound insight. Do you have an example where data either doesn’t help you much or a stands in the way or you relevant to making a case you want to make

 

Steven Joachim:  There’s so many. You have to pick one. But, but let me, let me say this. Let me make sure I characterize this the right way.  I’m not saying that the data and the analysis.  isn’t important.  What I’m saying is when you tell the story to convince an audience to do something.  That all the data, all of the analysis, you’ve done is not important. It’s the story you tell. So very often the analysis you do is all part of the process that you follow to get to a good conclusion and get to that storyline.  Sometimes you go down a rabbit hole and the date is not good.  But when I turned to my teams and talk to them about  What my expectations are. Is that I when they’re good.

 

Steven Joachim:  I expect them. We’ve already done all of their homework and done all the analysis.  And when they come to me and tell me a story. I don’t need them to regurgitate everything they’ve done because I already know who they are and what they’ve done.  I expect them to tell me the story of what I want to hear my time is scarce, they need to respect that they need to get to their point  And if I find that there’s an area that I think they haven’t explored well enough, I will raise it the Nevada for me is when I turned to the team and ask them a question.

 

Steven Joachim:  And they can answer every question I have. Before I answer.  More before asking or they can just respond to it as soon as I’ve got it, because they’ve already covered dotted the T’s across the horizon already covered all that issue.  So all that analysis is great important. So I’m not saying it’s, make sure it’s clear in your mind is, I’m not saying the numbers are not important parts of the story, but it’s not all the numbers it’s picking out the right crumbs from each story to make it happen.

 

Steven Joachim:  No, I just trying to think of whether I can think of a good example. It’s easy for me to tee up and off top my head. I really can’t think of. It’s hard to pick out because it’s almost everything we ever do.

 

Steven Joachim:  That there’s an American  If you think of any. You can bring it up later.  I wanted to pursue this point a little bit which is really interesting because, especially for relevant to our university, we’re  Very science, engineering data analytics very, very much focused on data getting data analyzing data and then I think the last piece, you mentioned making stories interpretations of data, providing angle based on the data.  That that’s the kind of storytelling.  Abilities. How do you cultivate that. What are some exercises. People can intentionally go through to elevate that ability of telling stories providing a perspective based on data.”

 

Steven Joachim:  I don’t think that there’s a magic formula. It takes hard work.  The first thing you have to do is take a step back.  And recognize that you have a problem. And I’ll give you a story. Every story like that. So, um, what am I did my first job out of graduate school. I went to  I said, New York State and work there and I was the hero of nurse, I did tons of analysis and tons of programs and other things and build programs out of it.  And I was kind of a hero and left and went to work as a managed consult my first management consulting assignment.  You know, I hadn’t they hadn’t had time to go through a training program or any kind of really storyline, but it’s I just did what I always did.  Ask lots of questions collected a lot of facts and they asked me to do a draft report.  Like draft up report and I sent it off to my manager.

 

Steven Joachim:  Who read it and it came back to me and he wrote everything and read movies or days before there, everything was done on computers and was the typewriter was hard to imagine, but  And he had edited it and read and there wasn’t a I don’t think there was a line on any page I written that didn’t have read all over it.  I was. It was brutal. I almost I almost had a total meltdown and we’re calling me on a tight knit this book.  I call my wife on the phone and I was crying. I was so upset because I’d never been treated that way before. I always had all the success and all of a sudden  I get this red paper.  And I me and she said, calm down. You know, she was very good, very supportive.  The next morning I called him up because I read a quick. I’m sorry to say this is I’m I can’t do  I never been in a situation where I ever admitted that I couldn’t do it.

 

Steven Joachim:  So I called up the  Project Manager and said to him,  Oh my god.  What, what did I do here, and he just started to laugh.  And he said to me, something that that was core to what I’ve just said. And he said to me.  Nothing. You said in there was wrong, but I didn’t care about most of it.  He said what I wanted to do now is take those 25 pages or 30 pages, your written and write it to me and five pages.  And to do that, take a step back. Think about what you wanted to say what you what you want my conclusion to be  And then write  Only the things down that support that conclusion.

 

Wei Zheng:  Hmm.

 

Steven Joachim:  And I listened to that very carefully.  And I did it. And I, the next draft. He got nice he called me up and he said, You’re a fast learner.  Because this is excellent. Now he may he made the other edits and other things around it and i got better at it. And he, you know, he said it’s not perfect but it is a very good second attempt  And it’s kind of stuck with me. You know, I don’t know, but there was any  Real formula for doing it, other than to try to maintain perspective. I’m problem sets and practice right  It’s just not in your DNA, you have to set aside some of your own ego.

 

Wei Zheng:  Right, because

 

Steven Joachim:  When you’re a good analyst, you want to show everybody your work.  And I was a math major when I first started at school and  When I first got my first problem sets, and I college. And I remember my professor saying to me, show me your work. If you need to get the wrong answer.  The work but help me know how you think and whether you were doing the right thing and I used to get lots of partial credit that way. It was great. So I just used to regurgitate everything I knew. Um, but when you get to the real business world it’s wrong.  It’s the wrong approach.

 

Steven Joachim:  You need to think about what you’re trying to achieve.  And that is practice.  Practice, practice, practice. And can I work with a lot of young analysts and not all of them can turn the corner on this issue.  The people who turn the corner and are able to do that. Tell the story that way or the people who wanted being more successful at different levels and it said motion something for me was as a manager. As I grew  I learned that just because you’re a good analyst doesn’t make you a good manager.  And part of the differentiation is exactly what I just said it’s not all of it, but it’s a big part of it.

 

Wei Zheng:  Interesting get has to do with another question I have, which is how do you grow when you grow from any individual contributor to a manager and then from a manager to a higher level more senior level kind of leader.  What are some transitions. You mentioned why you mention the ability to process and tell stories from data.  Or anything else and that are important milestones or turning points.  For individuals growing this leadership journey.

 

Steven Joachim:  So the other thing is to learn to not depend  That you have to learn that it’s not always you  Know analysts like to control  What they do great analysts, do they control things, but you have to depend on others as you become a leader or manager to leader to as you grow in an organization at higher and higher levels you do less than less work, you have to guide others.  One of the hardest things to do is I have never met first year manager or second year manager even first five your manager sometimes  Occasionally, five years, usually by then they know this story is almost everybody thinks they can do a better job than the people that work for them at the job tasks they’re doing  On and the ones that are successful recognize that doesn’t matter.

 

Steven Joachim:  Because the people who work for you will never get better. If you do the work for them.  They’ll learn to depend on you.  To solve the problem rather than learn that skill themselves.  So you have to be able to accept something less than what you would do very hard to do.  Something that may not be the same qualities, you might be able to deliver yourself, but you multiply your impact.  And you have to get comfortable with. And this gets exacerbated the more senior you get, the more people under your leadership, the more. This happens because you’re dealing with more and more layers.  Is that  You have to get comfortable that the work that gets done around. You may not all be have the same quality as you could do yourself.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm.

 

Steven Joachim:  But that you do everything possible to help others around you to be successful.  That often means allowing them to make mistakes.  Want them to make small mistakes. Not big ones. So if you think they’re going to step on a landmine that’s going to explode the entire project use or the product of a business.  But you have to give them room to make mistakes people learn by making mistakes.  I learned by making mistakes.  And the bosses that I had that allowed me to make mistakes are the ones that I remember the most  The ones that are my favourites.  But they also stepped in and made sure that I didn’t blow up right  They always had my best interest in mind and when. Let me do something that was stupid. So  It’s that transition that gets very difficult

 

Steven Joachim:  As you get more senior you get more and more comfortable that what your job is as you get further and further away from the analytical work and the first level is that your job is hiring the best possible people  Bring them in places where they can be successful.  And then getting out of their way.  Because you become successful because their success, not because you make them successful  And  There’s a process of how you have to balance your ego.  Your personally go and let people grow.  Because it allows for better production over time. And I’ve had people who got it and others who never got it.

 

Wei Zheng:  How do you, how do you balance this on the one hand and you need to  Get out of people’s way. But on the other hand, you need to be monitoring them to watch to make sure they’re not stepping on a landmine  So how do you balance that because I hear a new manager sometimes complaining about  Being complained to be to micro or nano managers or, on the other hand, they are not doing anything.  So how do you balance. What’s the rule of thumb here.

 

Steven Joachim:  So I think there’s a rule of thumb right so you have to, so have to know  Your players. Right. You have to part of your job as a leader as a manager is to assess their skills and where they are in their own personal development and what they can and can’t do,  And if you have a junior person around. You got to get close to them.  And therefore you do micromanage a little bit more because they need the guidance will get somebody in between you and them who can manage them.  And  But if you have somebody who’s more experienced and senior and you know as I talked about my Bergen demand approach of asking lots of questions.  If they answer all my questions up front. I give them more room. I don’t ask the questions.

 

Steven Joachim:  I asked them for briefings and updates and understand kind of what they’ve done. And if I see them making things I think are going to lead to little errors. That’s fine. I let them go. Because sometimes I’m wrong argument. Sometimes I think this could blow up. There’s going to be terrible.  But if I if I give them room, sometimes they can navigate and they grow through that process. So you have to use your judgment. There is no i don’t think i have not found a formula.  That allows me to say if I do X, Y, and Z i will guaranteed the outcome that I want to have, but I do know that I’ve got to let people make mistakes because that’s the way they learn  And it’s just  It just every time I’ve had an experience.  In building a business or running a business or running a product on the answer always came back to the same. You got to be comfortable that every implementation isn’t going to be perfect.  That when mistakes happen you respond and recover from them.  You maintain flexibility.

 

Steven Joachim:  And that, you know, I always say that on there never was a plan where you went from point A to point B, where things didn’t change between achieving point being,  The most important thing was achieving point B.  And you’ll want to think that everything is going to be efficient and run from a straight line fashion, but it doesn’t work that way. And therefore, you allow those little landmines go off.  And your job as a senior leader is to detect  Where those bombs are so big.  They will  Keep you from achieving point they  Are  Not a science and art. I hate to say it,  May sound like my experience.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm. That’s very helpful. Absolutely. Um, I want to transition, just a little bit to talk about Kobe at our current times. So from your vantage point you travel with different circles from your vantage point. What are one or two big trends you see due to this covert 19 situation.

 

Steven Joachim:  So, so it’s early, early in the game.  Oh, but  Yeah, thinking about this quite a bit, because some of my smart cities work I’ve been doing is right in the heart, sweet spot of this  But also, you know, as I’m  Chairman of life. Are we going to enter and identify our foundation  We run a business and I know how it operates. It’s a global business. It’s in Frankfurt.  So I know how different people have responded to the problem set differently.  But I think this is the game changer for businesses, public and private sector businesses public sectors are probably a little bit further ahead than private sector, but most private sector businesses, think about  Their businesses and their employees from what they do the time they’re in the office.  Think this is going to change.  What do I mean by that.

 

Steven Joachim:  So pandemic has disrupted every phase of people’s lives.  And because it has done that. It’s affected the ability of businesses to deliver their products.  What do I mean  So it’s just not about the employees, health, you know, the first thing he said was, well, if they’re sick, they didn’t come to work and that was a terrible thing right so you sent them home.  It said stay home work remotely. So first thing people say is work remotely. That’s a change. Yeah, that’s true. Um, and that’s definitely part of the problem.  But there’s more on there’s  Please can’t come to work if their kids can go to school.  If they can’t  Find a way to get to work safely. They’re not going to come  Companies now have to begin to think about not just when the employees get there. What do I do with them, but they have to think about, do my employees have a support network.

 

Steven Joachim:  Do they have the ability to get their kids to school. Do they have day-care. Do they have education are the schools open. What will happen if they don’t have those things because it doesn’t do me any good to say well that’s somebody else’s problem.  Because now you find out it is somebody else’s problem because you didn’t make it your own.  You can’t deliver your business and your business goes out of business.  You can’t make ends meet. So I think I’m hopeful and I think it’s the right thing for companies to begin to re think  Where their begins business begins and ends and it’s not unlike what they’re doing in their supply chains. Right. You think about supply chains and delivery chains.  Today, which companies may think about forever. But again, they think about their supply chain is, you know, I have vendors who have to deliver products to me that are part for me to put my products together and assemble more support my product production.  And they need to deliver. They have a contract with me and do that. But now I need to think much more holistically, right, because if one vendor can’t deliver because their employees can’t get to work. Then I’ve got to worry about that.  I can’t just assume that they can do it.  To me that there’s going to be a drive and the pandemic is going to have an effect and should be some winners and losers in the courses.  But the good companies are going to start to think much more holistically about their businesses and their employees and what they do.  And how they work and what their personal lives are like, and then think about a broadcasting a broader net to be better prepared for the disruptions that are going to happen no matter what.

 

Steven Joachim:  You know the pandemic is what they would ascribe in the financial world as a black swan.  unpredictable events to disrupt the nature of the way things work.  Increasingly, we’re flying black swans turn up the unusual nature of pandemic is that it affects the entire world the same time.  But there are lots of black swan events that go on. There’s a hurricane. Now that’s approaching that’s in that’s in Texas, Louisiana.  At the black swan event, nobody could have predicted it and we could predict where it was going to fall either kind of disruption. Scott, what has happened, those companies that are there are going to be disrupted in a major way.

 

Steven Joachim:  Companies need to be prepared for these black swan events like they’ve never done before. Think holistically, because in the end they own their profitability and they need to think through the broader scheme of what is doable for them. And what’s immutable doable for their employees.  As well as their supply chains and distribution chains.  And how they could get disrupted. So part of their planning. It’s got to be much broader than it’s ever been before. So I think that’s a big change. I think that’s going to have a huge impact on the way companies begin to approach.  Their businesses.  I think that’s a great thing for the world.

 

Steven Joachim:  Mean because quite frankly

 

Steven Joachim:  It’s going to help  Bring these public sector and private sector problems closer together.  And companies are you can get more engaged than they ever have before.  You know, I think they’ve been slowly approaching it. But I think this is going to accelerate that process.

 

Wei Zheng:  Um, any organizations, you’re working with, what are some major things they’re doing differently.

 

Steven Joachim:  Well, I mean, I guess some of it is exactly what I just said is, is that you know so life.  You know I’m dealing with organization that is there’s two dimensions to it. One is, is what we do on the board.  But the other approaches. Our staff is all located in in in Frankfurt, Germany.  You know what’s happening in Germany is very well. Not everybody. It says we have a small operation, the US and a small operation. If you go to countries and what’s happening in Germany is very different than what’s happening everywhere else. So you have to think  About multicultural events and how different cultures.  Drive it so in Germany, we have everybody working remotely.  But because the Germans have been very disciplined about their approach.  And are staying disciplined.  The threat not. I don’t think we’ve had one employee who’s been directly touched by the disease.  Everybody works remotely everybody works from home.

 

Steven Joachim:  They will all adopted and we haven’t  missed a step.  Not because of me. This is good planning on their part, but it’s also because of the environment that they’re working in  Because the state meaning, Germany has been very careful about its approach and dynamic of what they’ve done. And I think that’s helped a great deal. I mean, I can only admire with the Germans have done here.  And how they approach the problem and they’re disciplined approach of what they are and they’re not  China where people getting arrested for violating the problem set. Yeah, they have  Their culture is different than the US but it’s definitely one  That’s more easily discipline, but they are having just better results as or as it as it  In my opinion,  than we do.

 

Steven Joachim:  So I think that’s a big plus. Right. So I think that I’m seeing how people have been able to adapt and adopt to the environment is good. Now the other side handle that other side of that is that I talked to a lot of the team.  And the workers, very often feel isolated right they’re missing the ability to work with their teams and get face to face with them.  And it’s frustrating for them. Right, so they see the drop off and productivity, the team because we’re a global organization with global reach, but physically located largely and in Germany there was, we had a you travel budget that’s now zero  We have a huge positive variance in terms of travel budget.

 

Steven Joachim:  But we’re finding that because of video calls that were able to at least connect with our clients around the world and our network around the world in a way that we wouldn’t have been able to do. We didn’t think was possible.  And as a result, we’re going to come back and reassess the amount of travel, we’ve been doing historically versus what we’ll do going forward.  So I think we’re better informed.  On the other hand,  The Board, which is a board of volunteers largely  Who sit and advise strategy mostly everybody kind of has a day job, right. So, this is  A part of their, their umbrella. They’re all senior people  Or running separate businesses all have different stories.  It’s we don’t start a meeting without saying what’s happening in Australia.

 

Steven Joachim:  What’s happening in Japan or Tokyo what’s happening in Korea. What’s happening in India, what’s happening in Germany, what’s happening in Brazil, what’s happening at and we compare notes.  And it’s amazing how different the response has been  Have different cultures have responded differently to it.  And that’s going to be equally important as we think through the things that I talked about earlier, which was  When you think about your supply chain.  You got to understand that they’re operating in different environments and you’ve got to be able to accommodate that in your plans and not just think about it from your own perspective.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm. Grading sites. I just want to pause to check on time. I have about two more questions. But, but do you have some extra time.

 

Steven Joachim:  Sure, I can I can I can stand with answer.

 

Wei Zheng:  Thank you so much so. So as a follow up question in terms of coven from an individual perspective, let’s say a person like the ones  That are graduating that are going to graduate. This year, and probably have difficult more difficult time finding a job than others. People in from graduating earlier.  Or as a junior young professional who whose jobs might be threatened by kohut. What are some. What are some ways. So let’s, let’s do a thought experiment. If you were them. What would you do  To maybe for career advancement, or looking for jobs anything related to that.

 

Steven Joachim:  So the first thing I would recognize that there are only certain thing. It’s very hard to do when you’re first graduating, because you’re anxious and you’re  Excited and you want to get out to work and you want to go do and you want to change the world, and you’re about to  Jump into the fray and  Then all of a sudden you’re confronted with this crazy pandemic, where  People don’t have time. They don’t want to talk to you. They’re too distracted by their own events. And what do you do, though, find some my vices.  Find something you can  Control that’s productive and go do it.  You can’t control these externalities that are just real  So what would I do, I would think about what are productive things I can do that would build my resume.  So go volunteer, you know, you don’t fight the tape and say, I’ve got to find a job that’s paying me as well.  Because it may just be incredibly frustrating if you can find one that’s great. So I don’t think. Don’t look. But I would make plan B’s and C’s and plan B and C is very productive can be very productive times  You can make good use of it.

 

Steven Joachim:  You know, think on a broader scale about whether  You can do something to contribute go work on a political campaign. This is a political year in the US.  go join the Peace Corps for two years.  Maybe you don’t join the Peace Corps for two years, because it’s an overseas thing but my mind something that you can that you have a passion for  Mm hmm. Um, that  You think is productive.  So I’m gonna give you a little vignette story. So my son.  Was very much into theatre.  And he was a left brain, right brain kid.  And he went to school go to college and spent every summer doing an internship in the theatre.  Um,  And I kept saying to a mat.  Now, his mother kept saying to Matt. Be careful, you know, if you get to the theatre you’re going to probably wind up on a corner somewhere waiting tables.  At a restaurant.  Or putting your hand in hand and begging in the streets.  And  here’s the Carnegie Mellon a school like Stevens.  He got twist senior year and suddenly he realized he said you know what dad. He called me up and you said, you know what I  Need to rethink what I’m doing here because I’ve looked at what people make in the theatre and yeah there’s a handful of people who do really well and make a lot of money.

 

Steven Joachim:  But I don’t want to starve either  It was kind of like a mature and suddenly realized that there was this opportunity that he  Said, can you help me reshape my resume.  Is something that would appeal to the private sector.  So I said to him, Matt. It’s all about telling your story.  And we reshape this resume together and thought about it, and he went up and he’s had a great career so far.  So, and I say that only because I think that’s about being creative thinking outside the box. Think about what would be fun to do for you.  And because you’re at this crazy inflection point go do it. But, build your resume through it, think about things and learning skills that can help you build your resume, because it doesn’t all come from being on the job.  Comes from what you do but be productive. Don’t go home, I would say don’t go home and sit there and lick your wounds and say what was me.  Take this opportunity.  And leverage and do things that you think are helpful.  In any way possible in anything that you’ve got a passion for  So I just tell everybody find passion, find something that really gets you excited and go do it.  When you get paid or not. Not important overtime money comes for those people who are doing things they love

 

Wei Zheng:  Hmm. That’s great advice. Thank you for that. My last question. Um, to keep on top of your the industries that you are working among and  Just keep on top of the world in general, what kind of books or informational sources do you read it and who do you try to a network with or talk with in order to do that.

 

Steven Joachim:  Well, we should the formula for that. So in it. By the way, this has all changed, right. So if you would ask me this question 30 years ago I would have had a list of books that I read that gave me background and

 

Wei Zheng:  Understanding of it, you find that”

 

Steven Joachim:  Quite frankly business text business books often are repetitive and  In many ways,  So sorry for saying that you

 

Wei Zheng:  Know, I agree.

 

Steven Joachim:  They’ll say the same thing. They create different labels.  Because business is really about logic, to a large extent, um, and I remember that.  When I was a freshman at Carnegie Mellon, the President came to, I went to Carnegie Mellon also  The president came into the room and spoke to the freshman class and said, you’re all coming to school here and you’re thinking. You’re going to learn a body of knowledge that you’re going to use for the rest of your career.  Any pause and he said wrong.  We all heard that said, Really, and he said, everything we teach you here is going to be out is going to be obsolete within 10 years of when you graduate, maybe even less.  Said what you need to do is learn how to learn  And if you learn how to learn. You’ll adopt adapt your adopt and adapt to any environment.  I’ll go back to the question you asked me, What do I read  everything I can.  But it tends to be stuff online today. There’s so many things that are online and have to pick your spots right so I find particular websites that I like that seemed to have good information. I read two newspapers every day.

 

Steven Joachim:  Pretty much. I don’t call it come from recover because I read them online but I read the stories that are interesting to me that I can relate to.  I read a business oriented papers I read the journal every day and everything your times because I want to  Read more general news and information.  So I got a balance of approach.  But then I you know I read and follow a number of different sites that have information on it that I like.  And I find valuable for me, particularly as I’ve changed different environments. Different things have been important to me. Right.  So it was, it wasn’t Merrill Lynch. There was one set of knowledge I needed to have that I need to follow all the time. I need to learn about trading floors and what trading did and how it works.  What was going on and I read everything I could about what was happening in those businesses.

Steven Joachim:  Today I’m not in trading environment in longer. So either we balance that  And I was a regulator. I’d read more about rules, regulations that I ever thought I would read my own  Stuff that was I found incredibly boring.  But I forced myself to read it because it was important for me to recognize and connect with  The audiences. I was dealing with that I knew the problem sets that they were doing. So it changes and morphs, so it depends on your problem set, what you’re doing. But the great thing about what’s available today is the Internet provide you an ability  To be able to get information like you’ve never been able to get it’s easy to get information. The hard thing is picking out what’s real.  And what’s fake right  Right, because it’s easy to publish almost anything. So you have to be critical. You have to be a critical reader what you’re looking at, and  Way I digest that is as I read different many different views and then have to reach my own conclusions as to what I think is right, what’s wrong.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm.

 

Steven Joachim:  And that’s business as well as my own personal life.

 

Wei Zheng:  Mm hmm. What are one or two sites you usually go in to find good quality information. In addition to New York Times, for example.

 

Steven Joachim:  So in finance, I read I follow CNBC all the time. I read all of their business doc to come out.  On a regular basis. So  I am  Very close to what CNBC is posting  I read the news every morning.  Every morning I wake up as part of my rotation is of the times the journal and then what’s the headlines and CNBC and  Then drilling down into stories that I find  interesting and valuable.  I did the same thing with market watch, which is another market based publication that I follow and read  And then, um, I, I have a variety of other newspaper clipping services that will pull up articles for me that I  That I will pick out the articles that I like to do cut across  Public publications, I would say, you know,  I, to be honest, I don’t read many long articles anymore.

 

Steven Joachim:  Yeah, there was a day when I tried to get in depth with things.  Like, just don’t find the time to do it.  I’m more time now than I did before.  But I would say that  You know, wouldn’t it would have been hard for me to get into Atlantic Monthly or some of the other articles are out there that were  Long in depth Harvard Business Review or  But I find that I just can’t I just don’t have the time and patience to read through all those things as they used to.

 

Wei Zheng:  Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing. That’s all of my questions. Thank you so much again for this wonderful informative conversation. I really appreciate

 

Steven Joachim:  It. My pleasure. This is fun.  Glad to talk to you about follow up questions or other things I’m always here. You know, it’s always easy to answer a follow up question. If that helps that’s helpful.