John Brandt reimagines business at Center of Workforce Innovations work series

John Brandt reimagines business at Center of Workforce Innovations work series

Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI) hosted the fourth installment of its work series at Dynasty Banquet Hall led by John Brandt, CEO of The MPI Group and author of “Nincompoopery: Why Your Customers Hate You–and How to Fix It.” This event welcomed WorkOne partners and work series sponsors to the banquet hall, complete with coffee and breakfast, to connect and learn how to rethink business. 

Center of Workforce Innovations Series Presenter

Center of Workforce Innovations Series Presenter 22 Photos
Center of Workforce Innovations Series PresenterCenter of Workforce Innovations Series PresenterCenter of Workforce Innovations Series PresenterCenter of Workforce Innovations Series Presenter

In addition to writing “Nincompoopery: Why Your Customers Hate You–and How to Fix It,” Brandt travels frequently to lecture business owners and leaders about topics such as leadership, supply chains, digitalization, operational strategies, leadership, manufacturing, and more.

“He's an expert on how effective, purpose-driven organizations can adapt themselves to the realities of new markets and customer expectations,” said President and CEO of Center of Workforce Innovations Lisa Daugherty.

After an introduction from Daugherty, Brandt flexed his business chops and shared his expertise on how to reimagine business in the face of the new business climate, largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our corporate motto is that we want to help companies operate more productively, more profitably and more humanely,” Brandt said. “I think a lot of times people think that if you're profitable, you’re cold-blooded, but doing the right thing actually ends up almost always being also the most profitable. That's not why you should do it, because doing the right thing is its own reward, but it actually turns out that it magically helps the business too.”

Brandt also spoke on the importance of making businesses humane by creating security, relationships, and meaning. Investing in the human aspect of business not only grows your people–but also grows your business.

“Work is going to be one of the biggest things you do apart from sleep in your life,” he said. “Almost everybody wants to know that they did something more than just serving time. They want to say, ‘I made something better. I made this industry better. I helped people. I was a good person. I got enough money to donate to my church.’ People want to know that their life counted for something, and work is an important part of that.”

Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC) was proud to help sponsor this event along with Ivy Tech Community College and other sponsors. For over a year, CAIC Vice President Craig Schmidt shared that CAIC has worked with WorkOne and Ivy Tech in tandem to increase manufacturing recruitment and employability. 

“Our grant dollars pay the tuition for individuals going into manufacturing careers at Ivy Tech,” Schmidt said. “We also work with companies to train their current workforce and pay for that training through Ivy Tech. We partnered with WorkOne for this grant a year and a half ago. They’re helping to recruit individuals to the school of manufacturing.”

Patti Shields, executive director of career coaching and employer connections at Ivy Tech, has appreciated what Center of Workforce Innovations’ work series has taught her about adapting businesses to a changing business landscape.

“I think we can sometimes have a really strong blind spot to the things that we're doing that aren't centered on our students, our employers, our customers, or our clients,” Shields said. “Today, I am hoping to see some things that make me think, ‘Oh my goodness, we've done that,’ and ‘Why are we doing that?’ We need to rethink how we do things.”

“I think we're in a perfect place right now to do that,” she continued. “Things are changing so much because of COVID, so we need to think about how we can't just go back to how we used to do things. We need to reimagine things–to get rid of or change–because of what it’s like to be doing business now.”

For more information on the Center of Workforce Innovations, please visit