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Integrating the Spreadsheet and the Story with Rishad Tobaccowala

Rishad Tobaccowala is an author, speaker, and advisor, named by Time Magazine as one of five “Marketing Innovators.” He joins the show this week to talk about his new book, Restoring the Soul of Business, and how we can transform personally and professionally in this new era of “The Great Re-invention.” Rishad and I also discuss why tech is nothing without talent, how leadership can create an environment for their talent to speak up, and why it’s best to ditch the PowerPoint every now and then at your meetings.


[2:48] Rishad wrote his book, Restoring the Soul of Business, after traveling around the world and witnessing how leaders and managers were torn between how important data and tech actually was, and then struggling to understand what that data even meant for their own company. He saw that the companies that integrated data with their story did much better than ones that were solely data-driven. The book is organized into twelve chapters that you can read straight or skip around and it gives the reader much to work with in terms of leadership with a soul.

[11:16] As a leader, it is your responsibility to help your people speak up in a safe environment. One example is senior managers asking their team after a meeting why their current course of action possibly may not work, or to encourage hypotheticals of what may go wrong.

[22:53] In this time of the Great Re-Invention with COVID-19 and beyond, it is essential that professionals improve their skills and see themselves as a brand.

[40:01] Great managers and leaders listen for what’s not being said. As more companies work from home, having smaller breakout meetings face to face (or Zoom to Zoom for now) can help build culture and actually use time wisely.


  • “Data is like electricity, you cannot today compete without it.” — R
  • “Yes, leaders do matter, but one of the smartest things leaders do is surround themselves with world-class talent.” — R
  • “The future of your career is up to you. It’s not up to someone in talent management or HR.” — R
  • “We shouldn’t confuse activity with accomplishment.” — Kevin

Mentioned in This Episode:

Breaking Bad Insider Podcast

Rishad’s podcast | Blog

Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data

Bullsh*t Jobs: A Theory