April 25, 2023

The Business of Meetings – Episode 163 – The Future of Work with Joe Mechlinski

We are delighted to speak with Joe Mechlinski today!

Joe Mechlinski is the Founder and CEO of SHIFT, New York Times bestselling author, and a TEDx speaker, who wants to change how we work to transform the way we live. At SHIFT, a tech-enabled management consulting firm nationally recognized as a ‘Best Workplace,’ Joe helps leaders build healthy and high-performing organizations by disrupting outdated norms, building engaged teams, and using technology to unlock human potential. Passionate about equity in the workplace, Joe is a partner at Conscious Venture Partners: a group that invests in minority and female-founded businesses.

Joe’s journey

Joe grew up in difficult circumstances in the inner city of Baltimore. With the help of some wonderful people who stepped into his life and gave him a hand, he was able to attend Johns Hopkins University, even though he came from an academically-challenged environment. He became an entrepreneur and started some small businesses that did well in the late 1990s. Joe lost his mom after he left college and experienced some personal challenges. At 23, he started SHIFT with a partner who had a lot of experience and began doing management consulting for companies. He used the idea of learning and development to put himself and his partner in situations where they had to figure things out and find a way. He read tons of books, attended conferences, and had some smart mentors to help him think through how to help businesses grow. After twelve years, he wrote a book about all he had learned. It became a New York Times bestseller and the number-one book in the world for three days! Then Joe started working with bigger companies, and his small management consulting company got to work with companies like John Hancock, New Balance, and Crocs at the executive level. That allowed Joe to get involved in a VC firm and start thinking of ways to help others.

The best play for organizations

The traffic patterns in organizations have changed since the pandemic. Right now, the best play for organizations is to figure out what makes sense for their model based on the labor market for their business and mentor the next generation. Companies should also get creative about building environments where people know they are seen, heard, and understood and feel that their team and the organization have their back.


Leaders must be clear about where they want to go and what is most important to them in order to lead organizations effectively.


To retain employees, organizations need to look at the average tenure in their marketplace and try to meet or exceed that with their allocation of capital and available resources. They can also offer incentives.

How to rise within an organization 

Generally, people tend to rise within an organization through learning. Whether it involves consuming content and applying it from a book perspective or learning from platforms like LinkedIn Learning, people should spend between ten and twenty percent of each week investing in themselves, their learning, and their development.


When TEDx came out in 2008, Joe applied immediately and put it behind him. (He has made his audition tape available on YouTube.) Sometime later, he got a call from one of the curators in the DC Chapter looking for someone to speak about the future of work. So he began the process. He would usually ask questions and then listen carefully to the responses from the audience. However, that is not how TEDx works. Their talk process requires speakers to stick to a script. It was hard for him, so he got a speaker coach.

Why the TEDx Talk was difficult for Joe

Doing the TEDx talk was hard for Joe because he struggled to say everything within fourteen minutes. He was also writing a new book entitled, Who Says, which was not intended to give advice but rather to invite sovereignty, curiosity, and questioning, and the point of it is to explain why we should stop looking for answers from “the sage on the stage”. Joe believes his talk was one of the first TEDx talks that did not give advice. It was ranked the number one talk worldwide in August last year and ranked 40th out of 15,900 TEDx talks globally! It took a lot of work, and Joe is happy it turned out the way it did!

The Tony Hsieh Award

Joe volunteers to be part of the Tony Hsieh Award delegation. It is a delegation established to honor the work and legacy of Tony Hsieh, the late Founder, and CEO of Zappos. He is excited to continue being part of that community and to have the opportunity to enlist others to do the same!

A platform for leaders and executives

Joe has built an AI-driven tech platform to work with leaders and executives to encourage asynchronous communication and to help them get their teams on the same page each week without scheduling more meetings. (Go to www.shiftthework.com/latch)

Connect with Eric

On LinkedIn

On Facebook

On Instagram

On Website

Connect with Joe Mechlinski


On LinkedIn

Books mentioned:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Reinventing Organizations by Frédéric Laloux

Joe’s Books

Shift the Work: The Revolutionary Science of Moving From Apathetic to All in Using Your Head, Heart,and Gut

Grow Regardless



About the author 

Eric Rozenberg

For two decades, Eric Rozenberg has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and produced conferences in more than 50 countries across diverse industries. His focus is creating meetings that are not only breathtakingly memorable but which bring corporate strategies to life and amplify team motivation/performance.

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