August 28, 2019

66: Putting People First with Shannon Adkins

People and businesses are complex. In order for one to thrive, so must the other. Easier said than done.

This is Shannon Adkins world. She lives it and helps others figure out ways to run a business that works for its employees and wins in the market.

Shannon is a thought leader and CEO at Future State, a woman-owned, employee-owned consulting company with a triple bottom line where people get to be themselves. After years of working for startups, tech companies, and in corporate America, getting her MBA, and starting a family, Shannon decided she wanted to work somewhere where she could be fully expressed as a mom, a volunteer, and a badass business woman. So she went back to Future State, where they bring value to their clients by understanding the journey they are on throughout their transformation.

Shannon and I talk about how she’s built Future State to embrace people’s full lives and selves, how you can apply some of those ideas to your team, what feminine leadership is, and what happens when you create a personal mission statement to guide your life.

Read the related blog article: An Empowered Work Environment Inspires Energy, Creativity and Retention

Join the Modern Manager community to get Future State’s 21st Century Leadership eBook which includes a set of common attributes that when combinedmake people especially adept at leading teams through this time of change. The eBook provides a self-assessment tool and recommendations to further evolve your skills, and ready your organization for inevitable change. AND I’ve also included the template I use with teams to create the professional profile to help you learn about your team members strengths, desires, and interests.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get episodes, articles and mini-guides delivered to your inbox.


  • Just because someone hasn’t done something before, doesn’t mean they’re not interested in or capable of doing it. It’s a manager’s job to understand how their people want to grow and find opportunities to stretch them.
  • Business is in a constant state of change. In order to compete effectively in the marketplace and for talent, organizations must put people at the center. There is an inextricable link between employee flourishing and business success.
  • Employees want meaning – to see how the business is making a contribution to the world beyond stakeholder value.
  • Employees want to be their whole selves – to have the option to leave work early to attend a child’s performance, to share their unique perspective.
  • Viewing your employees as whole people starts during the hiring process and continue throughout their time with you. Share what you learn about the person with others in your organization to help the new team member integrate quickly.
  • Use what you learn about your team member’s aspirations and interests to give them new assignments and growth opportunities.
  • Feminine leadership styles are becoming more accepted in the workplace – putting humans at the center, emphasizing empathy. We see it in the shift to encouraging listening rather than telling, flat structures rather than hierarchy, experimentation rather than perfection.
  • As a manager or leader, you need your own life’s mission to help guide you personally. When you know who you are, what matters to you, and how you want to show up every day, you are better equipped to lead others.




Landmark Education

Read to Lead Podcast Episode 184: Alan Alda on the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

Want More Great Episodes?

Check Out These Fan Favorites