Want to know the challenges bedeviling NATO as it seeks to arm Ukraine? This week’s guest is as good a source as any, given how much the combination of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have put the focus on procurement. An area normally the “corporate equivalent of being sent to Siberia” (to quote this book) has now moved front-and-center. Triplat and the other three colleagues at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who collaborated on Profit from the Source emphasize the need not just to save costs, but for companies and their suppliers to join forces to optimize the innovation process together. Right now the average CEO spends no more than about 5% of his or her time on the procurement process. Since over 50% of a company’s expenditures involve suppliers, clearly a realignment of priorities is overdue.
Brain teasers invite you; in contrast, brain embarrassers are songs listeners can’t get a handle on readily enough, causing them to give up and move on to another song. That contrast is but one of the many fine distinctions Mike Errico makes in this engaging, whimsical-and-yet-serious book about the art of crafting music. This episode spans a range from what constitutes a mission song (which lay out the story of the artist, e.g. Bruce Springsteen’s wanderlust), to what kind of flavor gets created depending on whether the melody starts on, before, or after the downbeat. Let’s take as Mike does some famous Beatles songs as a point of reference. Melodies that start on the downbeat feel authoritative (“Yesterday”). Melodies that start before the downbeat feel urgent, with the singer taking control (“She Loves You”). And those that follow the downbeat feel conversational (“All You Need Is Love”). Want to know about the Four Quadrants of Trust? That’s another reason to give this episode a listen.
Mike Errico is a New York-based record artist, writer, and lecturing professor at universities including Yale, Wesleyan, and NYU. Besides international touring, Mike has had his opinions and insights appear in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and elsewhere.
Imagine finding yourself working in the sponsorship arena because it’s the way to get a visa and stay in England. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jackie Fast. Fortunately, she happens to have been very good at that kind of work. Within a few years, Fast’s ability to put brands together as co-sponsors for a variety of brands meant she was spending time, for instance, doing work for Richard Branson on an island he owns in the Caribbean! Not bad work if you can get it. From the vantage point of her highly successful, entrepreneurial career, what strikes Ms. Fast is how fast the world is changing. Few if any older executives will manage the transition, she believes, to a world where the internet has democratized big business and where Millennials and Gen Z-ers favor a values-based approach that puts enjoyable and meaningful work front and center.
Jackie Fast is the founder of the venture capital firm Sandbox Studios, which invests in celebrity-owned brands and has worked with The Rolling Stones, Red Bull, Zoom, Formula One, Virgin, Allianz and Universal Music among others.
The correct answer is Economic, twice over. Not only does it provide half of all the top-10 trends or “undercurrents” in Jonathan Brill’s seminal book Rogue Waves, those economic trends also garner the most prominence by laying down the changing landscape (or “seascape”) that companies must navigate to protect and enrich their futures. What goes first? Changing demographics: the cost and availability of a company’s most precious resources: its personnel and its customers. Aging populations, a skilled labor shortage, and accelerating urbanization are the key emerging patterns in that case. Other trends that belong in the Economic category consist of the data economy, automation, the rise of Asia, and cheap money. The technological category encompasses the closing innovation window, and what Brill calls “remixing and convergence” (new combinations of existing technologies). Finally, the Social category addresses digital trust and new social contracts. This week’s new episode dips into several of these top-10 factors; to get to them all, buy Brill’s book!
Jonathan Brill is the former Global Futurist and Research Director for HP, a board member and advisor to the Chairman at Frost & Sullivan, and the Futurist-in-Residence at Territory Studio. Companies he’s consulted for over the years have generated over $27 billion from new revenue sources.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is A because to change a habit you need to make it easy. Figure out which elements stand in the way, typically either time, money, physical effort, mental effort, or an unproductive routine. Find a weak link in what author BJ Fogg calls the Ability Chain, and you’ve found a way to break-through. Fogg has been in the business of helping people and companies change habits for a decade now and has a wonderful array of terminology and sayings. “Emotions create habits” is one of them. Another is “Decision and habit are opposites.” Still another is “Celebration is habit fertilizer.” Perhaps most important of all is “Simplicity changes behavior.” Give this episode a try, on behalf of making your listening to my podcast series one of your new habits!
BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University. He teaches industry innovators and created the Tiny Habits Academy to help people around the world. He lives in Northern California and Maui.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is answers A and C, though B is hardly out of the question. That conclusion comes courtesy of Melody Wilding, a self-described Sensitive Striver. What characterizes this type of person in Wilding’s estimation? Sensitive Strivers tend to be sensitive obviously; also thoughtful, responsible, vigilant and full of inner drive. They’re committed and kind-hearted, hence conscientious about the details and eager to get along with others. Their tendency to be “over-everything” can get them into trouble. In other words, they’re perfectionists who get burdened with more work than they or anybody could readily handle. Stress results. To overcome what Wilding calls the Honor Roll Hangover and subsequent burn-out, she suggests cutting your to-do list by 70%. A safer route is to ditch an all-or-nothing approach for something more modulated and realistic. If you can do that and keep your job, another way others might describe you is a Miracle Worker!
Melody Wilding has been named one of Business Insider’s “Most Innovative Coaches” with clients across a range of Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Fast Company, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She received her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.
The correct answer to this week’s quiz is 15 slides, following the title slide. That number comes courtesy of Debi Kleiman, who’s seen it all; she’s witnessed over 1,000 pitches by the entrepreneurs of start-up companies based on her own business world experiences. Having been the Executive Director of the center for entrepreneurship at Babson College, the nation’s #1 school for entrepreneurship, Kleiman developed a pitch deck formula she calls the 4-H Framework: Headline, Heart, Head and Hope. A good pitch hits all four bases, and the pitch might be a home run if delivered well. Sadly, the odds don’t favor females, who receive a measly 2% of all venture funding despite owning 38% of all the businesses in America. No wonder Silicon Valley has also been called the Uncanny Valley, a reference to what it feels like to have to interact with uncaring robots!
Debi Kleiman is now the managing partner of The Upside Angels, investing in early-stage startups and providing strategic advisory services to founders. After her BS from Cornell University and her MBA from Harvard University, worked at Coca-Cola, Welch’s, Procter & Gamble, and Babson College before launching her own firm.
The correct answer is C because for the Model 3, for instance, Tesla has spent about $6 on advertising for every model it’s sold. How is that possible? The answer is that Tesla leads the way in changing the business model from build / market / sell to market / sell / build and market some more. Tesla does so by having a values-based purpose out ahead of the traditional value proposition, i.e., Tesla aims to rid the world of fossil fuels. That positioning earns Tesla free media and buyer loyalty. And Tesla goes further by inviting consumers to provide input on where its showrooms are located, how they want to configure their own cars based on guidance from an owner advisor, and a referral program with a $1,000 cash incentive to both the owner and the friend who purchases based on a referral. The result is that Tesla has 22% of the electric car market, Mercedes-Benz 5%.
Mathew Sweezey is the Director of Market Strategy for Salesforce. Mathew is the host of the award-winning podcast The Electronic Propaganda Society and an accomplished author, having written for The Economist, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, and AdAge.
In the book, The CEO Test, which executive “aced the exam”? I would vote for Jeff Lawson, the CEO of Twilio, a cloud communications platform company. Why? Lawson allows for very little daylight between Twilio’s espoused values and how the company actual operates. Here is how Lawson pulls off that feat:
First, the company’s values were formulated based on broad input from current employees, not just as an exercise controlled by the c-suite.
Second, those values are carried forward to future employees by being front and center during the hiring and onboarding processes. The “invention” question above is but one example, given the goal of ensuring every employee likewise has a “builder mentality,” which is one of Twilio’s core values.
Third, quarterly and annual employee awards, as well as all promotions, involve honoring employees who embody the company’s values. The converse is that violating those values is cause for the firing of even high-performing “culture felons.”
Adam Bryant is managing director of Merryck & Co, a leadership development and mentoring firm. Before that gig, Bryant was a journalist for 30 years, including at the New York Times where he authored the “Corner Office” column. In addition, he’s a frequent contributor on CNBC.
Like a three-car pile-up on a freeway, consider these statistics: two-thirds of all business mergers fail; under 30% of executives think their company manages its culture well; and only 10% of HR leaders would go that far. Walking the talk doesn’t work. Who needs to hear more about a company’s “values” or “mission statement”? Trying to instill behaviors based on high-minded rhetoric isn’t nearly enough. Instead, a company’s basic operating system requires change if progress is to be made. That move means changing the habits and routines—the practices—that both drive and reflect the company’s true culture. What is also needed? Executives must ditch overconfidence in favor of psychological flexibility, the competency Israeli thought leader Yuval Harari has called the single most important passport to success in the 21stcentury.
David G. White, Jr. is cognitive anthropologist working with organizations on culture, change, and leadership issues. He’s the co-founder of Ontos Global, a boutique consulting firm. David previously held leadership roles at Microsoft, Mercer, and IBM; and is also a professional jazz musician with 7 CDs.