Leadership Lessons from the 80s with Chris Clews

Nov 28, 2021 | Gen X in the Workplace, Hot Mess Hotline Podcast

​Chris Clews, speaker and author, brings us the top leadership lessons from the 80s in this Hot Mess Hotline episode. Combining his marketing leadership experience and love of Gen X culture, he’s written a books series, “What 80s Pop Culture Teaches Us About Today’s Workplace.” He travels the country sharing what we can all learn from our childhood favorites: movies that play on Saturday afternoon reruns and music originally released on vinyl.

Chris originally got inspiration for this work while at home on a mental health day trying to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up. As he revisited Gen X childhood favorites and translated them into contemporary leadership lessons, he found how much they resonated with his peers.

From non-skinny jeans (thankyoujesus) to Doc Martens and Stranger Things, nostalgia for the 80s and 90s is alive and well. Listen in for these key insights and much more from our fun conversation.

  • There’s a danger in nostalgia and there’s opportunity in looking to history for lessons to learn from
  • Hair metal taught Gen Xers to appreciate the value of differences
  • If you have a formula for success, you may be over using it
  • Freedom allows for better problem solving skills
  • Digital connection takes away our creativity
  • The benefits of sitting next to someone while playing video games
  • The difference between rulers and leaders
  • Encouragement costs you nothing but can be worth everything
  • Unearned leadership earns pleasers
  • Why the 80s showed us how to believe in the power of nerds
  • Problem solvers don’t come in a one-size-fits-all package
  • Don’t wait your turn and don’t wait for permission to lead
  • Buzzword Bob is nothing but a buzz kill

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About Chris Clews

Chris Clews is a speaker and author of the book series “What 80s Pop Culture Teaches Us About Today’s Workplace.” Growing up in the 80s and with over 20 years of experience in corporate marketing he knew 2 things very well: 80s pop culture and business. So he combined the two and created “What 80s Pop Culture Teaches Us About Today’s Workplace”.

He’s spoken to a diverse set of organizations and companies including Visa, DHL, University of Florida, UPenn Medicine, WIFS (Women in Insurance and Financial Services), DisruptHR and more. He’s a frequent guest on podcasts with topics ranging from workplace culture to 80s pop culture and he has been referenced or interviewed in numerous publications such as Entrepreneur.com and Esquire UK magazine.

A graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, Chris has held marketing leadership positions in a variety of companies ranging from Planet Hollywood to DHL. He’s passionate about animal rescue and donates a portion of the proceeds from his book and speaking engagements to the SPCA International. He lives by the quote from the poet laureate Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”