Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer to Leaders: Put Your Phones Away and Listen to Employees

Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer to Leaders: Put Your Phones Away and Listen to Employees

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Rosalind Brewer, one of only two Black female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, has had a series of top jobs at Sam’s Club, Starbucks, Walmart, and now at Walgreens Boots Alliance. She talks about the challenges of walking into a new company or industry and projecting the confidence you need to be able to do your job from day one. She says starts by putting yourself in a learning position before you even take a leadership position. She’s worked the drive-thru at Starbucks and dug deep into trucking logistics at Walmart. “I was willing to take a step down to go much further, and then that’s when my career began to really explode. I was in a learning mode, but I took a step back to get ahead.”

Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance and one of only two Black female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, says bringing her whole self to work has been the key to her success.

HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius sat down with Brewer in this episode of our video series “The New World of Work” to talk about:

  • How inclusion and equity—making employees feel seen and heard—are just as important as diversity metrics
  • How to ensure that employees feel empowered and love where they work
  • The importance of learning a business thoroughly, even if it means a sideways career move.

When Brewer accepted a lower-level position at Walmart when she left Kimberly-Clark as group president, some people questioned the move — but she says she needed to start there to learn about retail. “I was in a learning mode, but I took a step back to get ahead,” she says. “That’s when my career began to really explode.”

“The New World of Work” explores how top-tier executives see the future and how their companies are trying to set themselves up for success. Each week, Ignatius interviews a top leader on LinkedIn Live — previous interviews included Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooryi. He also shares an inside look at these conversations —and solicits questions for future discussions — in a newsletter just for HBR subscribers. If you’re a subscriber, you can sign up here.

ADI IGNATIUS: Roz, welcome to the show and thank you very much for being with us.

ROZ BREWER: Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

ADI IGNATIUS: Let’s start with your career. You have had a series of top jobs at Sam’s Club, at Starbucks, now at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Talk about the challenges of walking into a new company, a new industry in some cases, and projecting the kind of confidence that you need to be able to do your job from day one.

ROZ BREWER: Great. That’s a very good question, especially now having walked into a healthcare company in the middle of a pandemic, and I think that was a pretty gutsy move and every day it’s proven to be true. But I will tell you that I have been fortunate to really accumulate so many different learnings over my career, and I’m pretty adamant about making sure that I am clear about my role, what my intent is, and how do I bring together my toolbox.

I think the one thread that I can pull through all of my roles and opportunities is my personal leadership, and that’s the way I show up first and foremost. Because most of these business problems that I face in these leadership roles, it takes character, it takes guts, it takes problem solving, and when I bring that basic toolkit to bear in these different roles it has been proven effective for me every time.

The other thing I will tell you is that whenever I take on a new role, I become a real student of the business. I remember when I joined Walmart after being with Kimberly-Clark for such a long time, and being in consumer products, and going into retail. My job was based in Atlanta, Georgia, but I decided to move myself to Bentonville, Arkansas, and go on a learning journey for 90 days. And I stayed in a little small hotel and came into the home office there and really studied them during what I call the honeymoon period, and it was the best thing I could’ve ever done. I meet people. I learned more about retail. And I really put myself in a learning position and not in a position initially of leadership, and I chose to learn and be an advocate and open-minded about what the opportunities were ahead of me.

ADI IGNATIUS: As a Fortune 500 CEO you are in a very elite group. As a black female CEO in that group you are truly in rarefied territory, so how do you balance the pressure, the scrutiny, the expectations being practically the only person like yourself in these fields?

ROZ BREWER: I will tell you sometimes it’s a lonely position because you don’t see yourself in different environments that you’re in, and then I look at myself personally and say, what can I do to change this because it could be difficult at certain times? I think that the environment is opening up more to people recognizing the differences and appreciating the differences.

Many times I am called upon and asked to give my opinion on diversity issues, and I will be honest with you: I am as frank as I possibly can be, because I do think I hold a unique position. When I get in these settings I take advantage of an opportunity to learn and educate those around me, because I can feel it when they’re unfamiliar with me or my culture. I don’t hide my culture. I talk about it very openly. I feel like that is almost my second reason for being. Everybody has their purpose in how you get into a situation or an environment, but I take advantage of it and do everything I can to teach and expose people to my culture and who I am.

I learned early in my career, I’d say maybe five to seven years out of college, that I really wanted to bring my whole self to work so I don’t cover up my culture at all, and I think that that’s helpful for me because they know how to count on me and what the expectations are in terms of interacting with me.

ADI IGNATIUS: I’m guessing throughout your career you’ve often been the only woman, maybe the only person of color, in a room full of executives. You talked about bringing yourself, but can you talk a little bit more about how you manage that situation and how you make it work?

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ROZ BREWER: Yes. I really do look forward to the day where I’m not really ‘the only’ in these rooms and environments, and I’m doing a lot personally to try and make that happen. The way I deal with this is really I’m no different than other individuals in the room, and I try and share that as well. My accomplishments come from hard work, come from exposure. One of the things I find myself doing, fortunately or unfortunately, is I have to run a few people through my resume because I think they look at my titles and say, does she really do the work, how did she get there? But I have some absolute real lived experiences.

When I was at Starbucks I worked the drive-thru window. When I was at Walmart I had three trucks at night so I could learn distribution logistics, warehousing, at those companies. So, I’ve done the worst and the best of the jobs. Sometimes I have to remind people of that. And it gives me credibility that I’ve not been a token. I’ve not been granted these jobs. I’ve absolutely had to work very hard to get where I am.

And so I find myself doing that. It doesn’t bother me. I’m hoping, I’m an optimist, and I hope that is not what the next person has to do, but for now I find myself having to really go on a deep dive in terms of my experience and do a lot of storytelling about why I believe in what I believe.

I’m on the Business Roundtable, and we’re getting into some really courageous conversations around the new infrastructure bill. I happen to have a lot of experience in the space of what it takes to move goods across the United States, and I’ve been fortunate enough to maybe share a little bit of that, and maybe people didn’t realize that I had a background in that as well, because you can’t be in retail and not understand supply chain and logistics.

ADI IGNATIUS: Let’s talk more broadly about workplace diversity. As you know, in the corporate world we’re all trying to move the needle on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that has been imperative since the murder of George Floyd. I wish it didn’t have to be because of that, but that’s where we are. What’s your view on how companies can pursue a DEI strategy that truly has meaning?

ROZ BREWER: So, it’s interesting. When the George Floyd incident happened I actually thought I knew it all and I had been doing a good job in DE&I. And I quickly realized that even myself, who’s been a huge proponent of it, myself who is a double minority, myself a mother of a young black male, I thought I understood this. But I realize that I didn’t. I realize that I had not been asking all the right questions. I had not been focusing on the parts of our environment and our social environment that are very much broken.

I think, myself included, we have been focusing on the D of DE&I and not equity and not inclusion. And I say that because what really happened with the George Floyd incident is that I don’t think people understood the race issues that are happening in our country. Those that are left out and those who don’t see a way out of their current situation. But we do see putting numbers in place and hiring numbers. But have we asked the questions, how can someone survive off of minimum wage? And where is our country on great education and access to healthcare?

And also, it made me think back. I took it personally, when all of that was happening. As you can imagine, I didn’t know George Floyd and not many of us did. But I tried to put myself in the shoes of him and of his family. And I think about the work that I was doing at Walmart. I was just so adamant about clearing the way and thinking about, “How can I close in on food deserts.” Right? If people have proper food and access to the best price, the best cost in food. So, I did everything I could do to put Walmart stores in the right zip codes. That was my focus. But was I listening to, “Take it one level lower, Roz.”, is what I said to myself. And say, “So if you put the food right near them, and there’s still not proper nutrition and proper healthcare in those places, what’s causing them to not be able to thrive and rise above the minimum wage job, and go to the next level, and the next level?”

Because, that’s the history that we know in the United States: give someone their start and then they take it to the next level. And that’s because we haven’t done enough work to study and think about, what happens in someone’s life, when you’re single parenting more than one child, and you’ve got to care for that child? And it’s more than cost, it’s about their self-esteem. And so we began to look at things like, how do you feel about yourself and are we developing that in people?

And so I came back. At that time when George Floyd’s situation was happening, I was with Starbucks. And we began to do work on providing mental health access for communities, for all of our employees, and making that accessible. We began to think about what it means to really teach and train someone. Are you giving them training materials? Are you teaching them how to learn? And recognizing that people learn differently?

For me, that whole situation said that we’ve been putting numbers on the board from a diversity standpoint, but we’re not creating equity. And then there’s a piece around inclusion. And I would tell you from an inclusive standpoint, we have not created environments where people feel like they can bring their whole self to their opportunities in front of them. We don’t recognize from where they’ve come from, and give them the same, fair chance. And give them an environment where they feel listened, seen. Listened to and seen. And we don’t do that. We hadn’t been doing that well.

And so at Starbucks, a group of us, the leadership team, we made it our business to make sure that, when we are in stores, we are talking to people and not talking at people. And we’re doing more listening than talking. And I had already had the practice of never walk into a retail unit as leader and have your mobile device out. I never do that. I either leave it in my automobile or put it in my pocket, because I need to be present, I need to listen.

But that wasn’t enough. I was listening and I wasn’t acting. And I wasn’t drilling down enough. And I think that’s the next level of leadership, is that we’re going to have to get pretty gritty about listening and acting and making people feel included in the environments that we create, as leaders.

ADI IGNATIUS: So the first takeaway is, leaders, leave your phones in your pockets. Let me follow up on that. It seems that even when there is diverse representation, corporate cultures can produce a kind of group-think and group-speak. How do you create teams, including top-level executive teams, that are not only diverse on paper, but truly reflect the kind of diversity of viewpoints that trace varied experiences and backgrounds?

ROZ BREWER: One of the things that I think about when I’m thinking about diversity is diversity of thought. Because we can also realize that there are individuals who may not be of diverse culture, race, or gender themselves, but where is their mindset? How do they think about different cultures and different environments?

One of the things that I began to do in my career is to put agile teams together. And what I mean by that is, a lot of times, you have your finance team working in their silo. You’ll have the tech team working in their silo. But what I really think works is when we create these agile teams and put them against the biggest problems to solve.

That’s one of the things I’m doing right now at Walgreens Boots Alliance: make sure that this organization understands, what are the biggest problems that we’re going to solve? It’s not, do we have enough technology? But is the technology fulfilling the need for efficiencies in the organization? Is it creating the right tools for our team members at stores and for our customers?

So to give you an example, you can have the best strategy in the world. But if your team operates in a silo-driven environment, you’re not going to get the results that you expect. For instance, right now we’re trying to create a tech-enabled healthcare company. I have the same message for the entire group. And the biggest problem to solve is, how do we become the best performing stock in the Dow?

And so, when you put that team together, you are forcing finance and technology and operations and manufacturing all to be in the same room, in the same discussion, against the biggest problem to solve. And it’s not finance solving a finance problem. What that actually does: it gets the diversity of thought to happen. And then you have different people sitting around the table. And in some cases, one of the outcomes that I’ve seen is that in certain functions, we have heavier opportunity for diversity than we do in others.

I would love to see more diversity in technology. It’s coming. But right now I have a lot of diversity in finance. So I get the opportunity to put a diverse financial team to a growing diverse tech team in the room. Diversity of thought is happening around the problem to solve, and then the cultures are coming together. And hopefully, we’ll move all of those opportunities up. But it’s about creating these agile teams and putting them against the unique problems to solve. And forcing them to relate to each other and think about how to solve it.

Now, you may say, “Well, where does race and gender come into that?” It absolutely happens, because if you don’t have people who have the innate ability to be forced to think different about a problem to solve, they absolutely are not going to get there on a discussion with race and gender. So, you have to start where people are. People operate in their functions. Start where they are and move them to where you want the organization to go to. It proved successful for me at Starbucks. I’m replicating it again at WBA.

ADI IGNATIUS: That’s a really interesting approach. You mentioned culture. I read the transcript of your recent earnings call, and you talked about the importance of culture in driving corporate results. I’m interested in your thoughts on how institutions can create and sustain culture effectively, when we’re now so distributed and where employees want to be even more distributed than we’ve tolerated in the past. It seems to be one of the biggest challenges right now, for every institution.

ROZ BREWER: It is super complicated. And I’ve done all the right things. How many Zoom calls can I have? How many times can I have dinner on a Zoom call, happy hour, playing games, all of those things that I hope would keep us bonded together as a team and focused? I will tell you, it’s complicated.

But I think what is happening now, when I think about this hybrid position, is that we’re taking a position that, yes, we can be hybrid. We don’t want anyone in our organization to be 100% remote. And there’s a couple of reasons for that. One, they get too detached from the culture of the company. And the second reason is, we’re seeing that there is loneliness, anxiety, and depression in those who do not interact. There is very little substitute for human connection, very little substitute.

And this is something I’ll stand behind. I’m no scientist. I’m not a psychologist, but I will tell you, I’ve seen time and time again, isolation absolutely never works. I stand behind that. We’re asking our teams to create opportunities to interact with their organizations twice a week. Come in for lunch or hit the team meeting in person, once a week. The second thing we’re doing is thinking about: where are our hubs? Could we have hubs across the United States so that you come in and you feel the culture and you breathe the culture and you live the culture? Because you can’t sit on a piece of paper like a strategy can. You can’t pull it all off and then go create an action. It’s the way you make someone feel, it’s the way the environment looks.

And then the last thing I would say about driving culture is to be very, very consistent in aligning your decisions with your culture, mission, and values. There’s some great examples of that. For instance, we right now are really stressing the point around the importance of healthcare in this country. We’ve taken a very, very hard stand on why vaccine mandates work. We have delivered 50 million shots in arms across the United States to date, 50 million, and we are adamant about vaccinations. We are a healthcare company. So my organization at the corporate level has to be 100% vaccinated. I can’t have people in the stores, promoting vaccinations, and then we’re not vaccinated. That doesn’t work. So you have to live your culture, your mission and values, and be very, very clear about it.

Now, can I tell you how much pushback I’ve gotten about that? Because people are being told, and people don’t like to be told. They think it’s a partisan issue. It’s not a partisan issue. I take them right back to the definition of a healthcare company and what we’re going to stand for in this organization. And so if I didn’t do that, they would say, “Well, Roz, you’re not kind of forcing us or allowing us to live our mission and values.” And I’ve been adamant about it. And there’s several examples of that, of making sure that your decisions are aligned with what your culture states.

Sometimes it’s hard because you can say, “Wow, financially, this is going to kill me.” Because we’ve got a due date coming of when these vaccinations have to be done. I could have a fallout. There may be some people say, “Okay, I’m done, I’m leaving the company.” And you know what? I have to be prepared for that because I have to stand behind–we have to stand behind it, as leaders of this organization–what we really mean about providing localized healthcare when it matters and where it matters. And vaccines absolutely are curtailing the spread of this pandemic that we’re in.

ADI IGNATIUS: I love that clarity. I think if I have it right, you have something like 400,000 employees worldwide?


ADI IGNATIUS: Before we get to the sort of the vaccination requirement and what that’s going to do the workforce, how are you dealing now with how managing talent got harder? We’re in in the Great Resignation. There’s a question from Alexis in Dayton, Ohio, asking, “How are you dealing with the shortage of employees within the Walgreens Boots Alliance?” So talent is all stirred up. How are you thinking about talent these days?

ROZ BREWER: That is a really big conundrum for us right now. We are seeing it more at our store level, and you may be seeing that in our stores. What we have been doing is to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to retain the current talent that we have. A couple of examples of that, our pharmacists have worked to deliver those 50 million vaccines, those shots in arms, they’ve been working like mad. And so we wanted to recognize them. So we have adjusted the bonus structure and become close to a best-in-class bonus structure in the pharmacy area. We’ve looked at minimum wage. So to make sure that we are absolutely offering best-in-class pay that we can.

But then the other part is making sure that people love where they work. I think the next level that we need to do is to make sure that they have the right jobs. Some of the jobs now have become very, very, very complicated. Only imagine working in a Walgreens store where you were the cashier and all you had to do was check people out every day. And that’s the job you signed up for. But now you have long lines in the store from vaccines, and you have people asking questions, they’ll ask the cashier about, “You think I should get a third dose?” And the cashier’s like, “How do I direct this question?” So we also recognize that they have complicated jobs now. So we said to them, we see that your job is complicated because we’re out here in the stores watching, looking and trying to help. So we’re seeing them, we’re hearing them, and then we’re trying to simplify their jobs.

We’re putting in new practices, new policies. So that these individuals love coming to work every day. And sometimes, believe it or not, it is not about pay. It’s about, do I love the environment? So we’re doing quite a bit of work to say, you’re going to have the job that you love. We’re going to give you the experience as an employee that makes you want to engage with this as a company. And we realize some are going to step away, right. But then we hope that we can recruit. And we’re doing a lot of work right now in terms of recruiting.

And I do think that there’s going to be a day that people are going to return to the workplace because this is causing most U.S. companies, and even multinationals, to rethink who they are as a company. This is a great time for a lot of these companies to look at themselves and say, “Why don’t I have a company where people say, ‘Okay, it’s a tough time, but I want to come to work every day’?” This is forcing a better workplace in many of these companies. I just had a chance to talk to a lot of fellow CEOs and we’re all focusing on how do we create the best place to work? So people say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but make me love my job. Help me love my job.”

ADI IGNATIUS: As you said, we’re in a transitional moment. More broadly, strategically, the social health disruptions have caused a sort of strategic rethink. And you’ve talked about healthcare and the importance for Walgreens Boots Alliance. But I think you’re really undergoing a strategic rethink and healthcare is the forefront of that. Could you talk about what you’re doing and what that says about healthcare administration, particularly in the US?

ROZ BREWER: What’s really happening at WBA is we are looking at the consumerization of healthcare. And it’s not unlike the work that I’ve done when retail went digital and e-commerce came in. This is an opportunity for us to really think about localized healthcare. Healthcare is absolutely local. And if we want to bring access and cost-effective healthcare to local zip codes, Walgreens is prone and primed to do that. We have 9,000 stores across the US, and this company has not avoided any zip code in this country. So we are dispersed in the most effective way to localize healthcare.

We learned a lot during this vaccine administration when, first of all, the education of why vaccines matter. We were in the forefront of that to make sure we were educating. But while we were doing that, it helped us realize that people don’t understand their own personal health. And they had been using our pharmacist all along when they’re diagnosed from the physician’s office, they grab that prescription, sometimes they’re in a daze, but by the time they get to the pharmacy and the pharmacy says, “You have three scripts, and this is how this needs to be done.” The consultation happens with the pharmacist more so than with the physician and we’ve been in that position. It was really just forefront for us, as we were administering the vaccines.

So this work that we’re doing now is to help us really be a part of the solution of reducing the cost of healthcare, which means how do we look at absolute costs? And that’s about transparency, because a lot of people don’t understand what it costs to get treated, so they avoid healthcare, getting care for themselves.

And then the second piece is to really get improved outcomes in healthcare. And what’s so important is to keep people out of the healthcare system. Once you’ve been diagnosed and you’ve got a care plan from your physician, all the monitoring, all the day-to-day upkeep, all the consultations that you need with a pharmacist or another practitioner, that keep people from returning to the emergency room, because that’s when the chronically ill–the biggest burden on the cost of healthcare is the chronically ill– and their return back and forth through the system because lack of compliance to their meds or whatever the situation may be. So we’re creating 1,000 physician-led clinics in our stores through VillageMD, the acquisition that we made. And then we’re adding 3,000 care centers called Health Corners, where there’s a practitioner, either a pharmacist or a registered nurse. Registered nurses in some states now can write scripts.

And so this is a way for you to say, “Okay, I can’t get back to my doctor feeling poorly today, but here’s what I’m dealing with. I’m diabetic, hypertensive. What’s happening here?” The beauty of WBA is that we are within five miles of 75% of the homes across the US. And so if you think that you can go within five miles of your home and get some intermediary care, we believe that we can begin to bring the cost of healthcare down.

ADI IGNATIUS: So here’s a question from Fatima from Iran. Her question is, “What would be your advice for women who are struggling to work their way up in a male dominated environment?”

ROZ BREWER: One thing about right now, trying to understand the workplace, is that we are learning one very important thing is the cost of daycare on young families. That may not be the case here, but in many cases that is keeping women out of the workplace. And I think there are some solutions coming forward around affordable daycare. That’s one thing. Let’s say you’re in the corporate environment, which I assume you are. I think that first of all, make sure you’re clear about who you are and what you stand for and what excites you, what are your passions? And really, really spend some time thinking about that, doing a personal inventory, because for women, what I see is that, because sometimes they’re held back, they take the next promotion, but it’s not what they really want to do. And then they get to the point where they say, you know what? I really don’t want to be in a staff position, I want to be in a P&L position. But you’ve probably taken promotions in one area and you can’t get out of it. You get pigeonholed.

I encourage women to really do a personal self-evaluation on what you’re passionate about and stick to it. Be willing to say no to a promotion. I took three sideway positions, where I came home and told my husband that I got a new job, and either I took a pay cut or my salary stayed flat and he wasn’t happy about that. But the learning experience was tremendous and those were the three most impactful positions I could have ever taken. I left Kimberly-Clark as group president, and I took a job as vice president at Walmart, but I wanted to learn retail. And I can’t come in as a senior VP of retail, I would’ve been fired the next week because I didn’t know what I was doing. But I was willing to take a step down to go much further, and then that’s when my career began to really explode. I was in a learning mode, but I took a step back to get ahead.

ADI IGNATIUS: Here’s a question from Octavia in Los Angeles. This is a very personal question. As a first generation student in your family, how did your time at Spelman impact your career trajectory?

ROZ BREWER: So everybody who knows me knows that’s my deepest love outside of my family, is Spelman College because that experience, that four years, had an impact on me. Being in an environment where people were studying and learning, that looked like me and had similar experiences, was very reassuring and re-enforcing to me that I could make this happen, because I had 400 other women just like me, next to me, doing the same thing. So it was very, very fulfilling.

But I would also tell you that there’s something about a liberal arts college, too. I’m a big supporter of liberal arts institutions, I think that they teach you critical thinking. I was able to do that at Spelman College, so that’s what happens being at an HBCU. The professors and staff and faculty at an institution like Spelman, it’s a deliberate choice to teach there. They’re absolutely capable to be at the PWI or the Ivy League schools, but they choose to educate a different kind of student, so the investment was amazing.

My senior year, six weeks before graduation, going into finals and studying for the GMAT, my dad passed away. And the chemistry department rallied around me and said, “Go take care of family, go home.” I left for 10 days, came back, they had laid out my plan for me. I had to take my exams, they made me be accountable, which was really interesting. Because believe you me, I was saying, “Well, can I not take these and graduate anyway, I’ve given you four years.” They were like, “No, you’ve got to take your exams, but we’re going to lay out a plan to help you do that.” And that was a good example of accountability. They were making me stand up for myself, but then they were giving me the opportunity and they laid out a plan. I felt so cared for. I left Spelman on the tip of my toes, thinking that I could solve all the world’s problems. It wasn’t true, but at least they made me feel that way.

ADI IGNATIUS: That’s great. You’ve been great in really sharing very personal stories and I want to ask one more personal question, and that’s whether you could share a turning point moment in your professional career that really made you the leader you are today.

ROZ BREWER: Yes. Probably when I had my first child and I was a young mom trying to stay in the corporate setting, and it was a time where I was being tested. I was working for a gentleman who had already said to me he didn’t think that I was smart enough to do the job that I was in, and now you’re becoming a mom. And so that was his thing: let’s think about you doing something else. And that was a turning point for me, because I set out to really prove him wrong that yes, I am going to be a mom, I’d held off long enough being a mom because of the corporate thing, and I was going to be a mom and I was going to prove him wrong. And I absolutely did, eventually.

He retired early and I actually assumed his role. And it took me probably 18, 24 months to do that, but I think my leadership showed up, my determination, my steadfastness, but also the appreciation that I was a mom, I didn’t hide that I was a mom. I did all the things, I went to daycare and all of those things, but I did what I had to do. And it was a turning point for me, because I could have easily at that very point stayed home, be a stay-at-home mom and believe what he said to me. And that was a turning point to believe in yourself. Don’t believe the hype of someone else that’s looking down on you. And it charged me, and it still charges me today, and it makes me think about the young women in my organization, and when they tell me they’re expecting and I’m like, “Okay, let’s get after it.” That’s fun. That’s what you want. You want people to come work for you that have a fulfilled life.

And we’re built around a family structure, so I want people to have a great family life. I don’t want anyone ever to be told what they can’t do because of what looks like might be an obstacle or a little break in time to stop them from being effective. I’ve seen people become actually more deliberate about the work they do because they have to parse out time. So I got better on my schedule because I knew I had to get to daycare to pick up a child, so I had to do 10 things before that, so it was disciplined for me. But that changed my life when he said that to me. And I wasn’t intentionally pursuing his job, I didn’t say to myself, “I’m going to put him out of a job.” It just happened. And, I don’t know where he is today, but I would enjoy shaking his hand. I don’t know where he is though.

ADI IGNATIUS: So Roz, I want to thank you for being with us today. That was a great conversation. I would love to find a way to do this again or get you back in HBR. So, thank you.

ROZ BREWER: That’d be great. Thank you everyone. I enjoyed it.

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