Workday Rising Daily: Inspiration, Opportunity, Strategy

Award-Winning Composer Lin-Manuel Miranda Inspires Attendees

At Wednesday’s Leadership Keynote, Workday Rising attendees heard from Tony- and Emmy-award winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who shared leadership lessons in a fireside chat with award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien.

In a discussion that ranged from the first song he ever wrote (“The Garbage Pail Kids,” written as a three-year-old and recorded on cassette tape) to how to work within a team to philanthropy, Miranda shared how his desire to “create the roles he wanted to see” has fueled his success.

As an artist, Miranda said he has to remember the passion and wonder that brought him to songwriting and theater in the first place. He encouraged attendees to “Check in with ‘childhood you’ a lot. What would 16-year-old you say about this opportunity? What would 10-year-old you say?” At the same time, it’s important not to be paralyzed by moving on from successes that come along the way. “Hamilton is the first line of my obituary,” Miranda said to laughs, “and I’m so cool with that. At the same time, it was really freeing” in terms of allowing Miranda to pursue other opportunities.

O’Brien deadpanned, “actors are known for having no egos and no drama,” asking Miranda what lessons he’s learned working with the large creative teams needed to pull together a Broadway musical. “My best idea never wins,” said Miranda, and it’s about letting “the best idea in the room win.”

Closing with advice on dealing with constant change, Miranda brought it back to his own experience. “Change is a prerequisite for me being here. If I had not written the kind of roles I wanted to see, I wouldn’t have gotten those roles,” said Miranda. “I don’t get to exist in this world if I don’t embrace change, and try to write my way into the world.”

Organizational Agility Keynote: It’s Not About Technology

“Digital transformation is not about the company’s technology, it’s about its culture, people, processes, and customers,” summarized Bob Evans, founder of Cloud Wars Media Network, while moderating a Business Strategy Keynote on organizational agility.

He was joined on stage with Richard Bye, vice president of HR services at BP; Jeanette Olson, vice president of technology services at Target; and John Mead, vice president of financial applications at Ameriprise Financial. 

Bob Evans, Richard Bye, Jeanette Olson, and John Mead.

Evans opened the keynote by highlighting key findings from a recent Workday study that was conducted to better understand how organizations are investing in digital transformation to drive new business models, unlock digital revenue growth, and enable organizational agility. 

He said that leaders in digital transformation exhibit high levels of performance across five key areas: continuous planning, fluid structures and processes, an upskilled workforce, informed decision making, and measurement and control.

The panelists shared best practices and learnings in agility from their own digital transformation journeys. Some of their key lessons are:

Start small. Jeanette Olson shared that one of Target’s key learnings was finding the right pace of innovation. To be impactful, the business needs to be able to catch up to the technology. Start small, create success, and build on that momentum over time. 

Find skills. Skills are constantly evolving to keep up with the changing world of work. In particular, John Mead shared the importance of hiring people with cognitive flexibility in finance. He believes that if you can’t handle change, you’re not going to be relevant, and that the pace of change is only accelerating. 

Rethink team structures. Companies should organize work around people who are most qualified for the job, not around hierarchy, according to Richard Bye. By putting people with the right set of skills on projects, companies can solve problems and adjust more quickly.

Opportunity Onramps Accelerates Efforts to Create Opportunities for All

Ever since Year Up CEO Gerald Chertavian planted the idea among his audience of executives at Workday Rising 2017 that they could help address the opportunity gap, Workday’s Global Impact team has been busy collaborating to bring that idea to life in a big way. That’s why we’re so excited that Year Up—a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring young adults gain the skills, experiences, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and education—is now offering a Workday Human Capital Management training track that will equip smart, diverse, and talented Year Up students with in-demand tech skills. 

The program will train students on the fundamentals of Workday, and after six months of classroom training, the students will be matched with interested customers as interns. Once placed, their Workday HR Information Systems (HRIS) internships last for six months, with a focus on converting them into full-time, permanent employees. 

Check back on Thursday, when we’ll have more reports from sessions that occurred on Wednesday in the Workday Rising Daily.

Workday Rising attendees visit the Opportunity Onramps booth.