17 December 2023

Season 4, Episode 15. Work Like a Boss with Nancy Lyons

How can we shift workplace culture to empower employees and unlock their full potential?


In this episode of the Innovation Meets Leadership podcast, Natalie interviews Nancy Lyons, CEO and founder of Clockwork Interactive, about her mission to "make work better." They discuss breaking down workplace hierarchies, overcoming learned helplessness and fear, and creating psychologically safe environments where all employees can thrive.


Nancy, CEO and co-founder of Clockwork, is an outspoken advocate for making work better - more inclusive, flexible, and adaptable. No one does great work if they're worried or can't bring their whole self to work. She learned this the hard way: by having terrible jobs and not fitting in, experiences many of us can relate to. But how do we create workspaces that actually work for humans, with all their nuances and intricacies? It's on all of us - leaders, employees, teams - to take responsibility for fostering cultures and spaces that work for people. And in doing so, we will make better products, experiences, and work lives.

Are you ready for a work revolution? Nancy is leading the charge!


Her first book was Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process, taking a human-centered approach to producing digital products. Her current book, Work Like a Boss: A Kick-in-the-Pants Guide to Finding (and Using) Your Power at Work, is the field guide everyone needs to adopt the actions, attitudes, and attributes that will make work better for all.

(00:02:50 - 00:05:30) Rethinking the Future of Work

  • The pandemic fundamentally changed people and work culture; we can't just "snap back" to how things were

  • There is too much focus on "where" people work versus "how" they work and live

  • We need to consider how technologies like AI can improve quality of life

(00:05:49 - 00:09:00) The Promise and Peril of AI

  • AI can make lives easier if it is used ethically, but poorly trained AI creates barriers

  • We must ensure that the data training AI represents true diversity

  • Organizations cannot recklessly adopt AI without proper governance and workflows in place

(00:09:46 - 00:15:30) Empowering the Workforce

  • The book is aimed at giving every employee a sense of agency and challenging learned helplessness

  • Hierarchy often displaces personal agency

  • It outlines specific fears that hold people back from thriving at work

Advice for Leadership (00:15:45 - 00:24:30)

  • Leaders should hire people smarter than themselves

  • Leaders need to listen more and understand different communication styles in their teams

  • Leaders must intentionally work to build psychologically safe spaces


"The way work works was decided during the Industrial Revolution when there was a big chasm between the people that owned companies and the employers and employees." - Nancy Lyons

"I employ people that are far beyond my abilities, much smarter than me." - Nancy Lyons


Connect with Nancy:

Website: https://www.nancylyons.com/

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