fbpx
Jim Hemerling Co-Author of Beyond Great on Nine Business Strategies for Thriving in an Era of Social Tension, Economic Nationalism, and Technological Revolution

Jim Hemerling Co-Author of Beyond Great on Nine Business Strategies for Thriving in an Era of Social Tension, Economic Nationalism, and Technological Revolution | Ep. 136 | Business Podcast

Jim Hemerling Co-Author of Beyond Great on Nine Business Strategies for Thriving in an Era of Social Tension, Economic Nationalism, and Technological Revolution | Ep. 136 | Business Podcast

Jim Hemerling Co-Author of Beyond Great on Nine Business Strategies for Thriving in an Era of Social Tension, Economic Nationalism, and Technological Revolution
Jim Hemerling Co-Author of Beyond Great on Nine Business Strategies for Thriving in an Era of Social Tension, Economic Nationalism, and Technological Revolution

Summary

Jim Hemerling is a leader in Boston Consulting Group’s (BSG) People & Organization and Transformation practices, as well as the firm’s behavior and culture topic.  

With over 25 years of experience as a senior advisor, Jim has widespread experience leading large-scale transformation programs and cultivating high performing cultures. His work goes beyond short-term results to bring holistic, sustainable performance to organizations. Jim’s approach to transformation—putting people first—focuses on energizing and empowering employees while enabling leaders to be both directive and inclusive. 

In the new book he’s co-authored with Arindam Bhattacharya and Nikolaus Lang titled Beyond Great, they explain how businesses must do more in this volatile, bewildering time than just be great. You have to go beyond great, building sustainable business advantage benefiting all stakeholders, not just shareholders. How?

Business leaders have to adopt a radical new playbook—one that helps their companies become resilient in the face of even the most volatile situations.

Jim and I talk about a few of the nine strategies in the book, go over case studies how companies have used these strategies and talk about how you can apply them to your business. 

You can purchase Beyond Great here >>>

Please support our sponsors that make this podcast possible…

The Build a Business Success Secrets Monthly Print Newsletter

Are you the type of person who wants to get 100% out of your time, talent, and ideas?

If you are you’ll also love our print newsletter…

Build a Business Success Secrets is a monthly playbook on the inner workings of building a company. It’s written specifically for entrepreneurs, founders, and business owners to make them smarter, happier and richer.

Check out the special offer for listeners today >>>

One last note….we’re going the extra mile for you…

This episode is enhanced with Dolby Sound processing to give you a smooth, easy listening experience. Why are we investing the extra money to do this?

Because you’re worth it as one of our listeners!

More Information on Build a Business Success Secrets

Brandon: 

Hello Friends. Welcome to the show. Today we’ve got an exciting episode with Jim Hemmerling, who is the managing director at boston consulting group and he has co authored a new book called Beyond great Nine strategies for thriving in an area of social tension, economic nationalism and technological revolution. 

And their premise is that you can’t just be good. 

In fact, you can’t just be great. 

You need to be beyond great in the new business world that we’re living in. And through these nine strategies, they explain how you can make that happen. Jim and I have a really great conversation around business and go through a few of these nine strategies with examples of companies who have implemented them and what they’ve done and your takeaway is how you can take some of these principles and strategies and apply them to your business to compete and be great in the new business world we’re living in. 

Here we go. Welcome to build a business success secrets. The only podcast that provides straight talk for entrepreneurs whether you’re an entrepreneur starting with an idea or growing your business. This show is for you. We’ll teach you how to build a strong mindset, powerful body and profitable business so you can achieve success. 

And here’s your host, Brandon. See White

Hey jim, welcome to the show. 

Jim: 

Brandon thanks so much for having me and we were just talking before we jumped on here. 

Jim: 

It sounds like you’re up in Tahoe, enjoying some good weather and getting away from I guess san Francisco june gloom. 

Brandon: 

Well, we were avoiding the san Francisco june gloom and also the incredible heat wave that’s hitting the pacific northwest, so it seems to be the perfect place to be right now. 

Jim: 

Yeah, here in Half Moon Bay, we’re lucky that we’ve had very cool days I think on the other side of the hill, it’s been in the seventies and eighties and maybe nineties. 

Brandon: 

And here We’re lucky if we get to 60 one. 

Jim: 

It’s a, it’s a little carve out in the, in the bay area, but I’m excited to talk to you today. 

Jim: 

You got this new book out beyond great Nine strategies for thriving in an era of social tension, economic nationalism and technology revolution. 

Jim: 

And you co authored it with two other people, is that right? 

Brandon: 

That’s correct. 

Jim: 

To two other BCG senior partners who are longstanding friends of mine, a random Bhattacharya and Nicholas Lang. 

Jim: 

Well, I appreciate you pronouncing that. 

Jim: 

And I did that on purpose because I was like, I cannot get their names wrong today. 

Brandon: 

Um, and you know, one of the things I wanted to start off by asking you is one of the things that at least in the, not necessarily, I think, well maybe in the mature company world, but in smaller companies, I always encourage people to not let great get in the way of good and like good, get out there. 

Jim: 

And now I read this book that basically says that great isn’t even good enough, you’re going to have to go beyond great. 

Brandon: 

So what was the whole premise of, of you writing this book? 

Jim: 

Well, Brandon, glad you went straight there. 

Jim: 

You know, if you think, if you think back, let’s say 20 years ago, um, and over the, over the past few decades, there really has been a pretty standard playbook for companies. 

Jim: 

And the playbook was all predicated on a situation in the world that was relatively stable. 

Brandon: 

And you can think of the playbook as focus on shareholders only. That was that was the raison d tre for corporations and build great products and try to leverage some form of economies of scale. 

Brandon: 

And that was really the playbook. 

Brandon: 

And then along came a set of disruptive forces and look there are many, but we boiled it down to these three social tension and by the way, we’ve embedded climate change in that we’ve embedded all the racial tension, all of the social inequality all into that bundle. There’s also economic nationalism. And so, You know, I was based in China from 2000 to 2007, and at that time, globalization was universally viewed as a good thing. 

Brandon: 

The more of it the better. 

Brandon: 

And now we live in a world where even the term globalist in many circles is viewed negatively. And then layering on top of that, we’ve got the technological revolution and of course that has been with us for for decades. But as we’ve seen during the pandemic, it really has been pulled forward. Um some are saying even by 5 to 10 years, so that old world in which the old playbook was developed has really been totally disrupted. And so we just thought that, you know, given in a new era, what would be a new playbook for this new era? 

Brandon: 

And that’s why our opening chapter of the book says, great is no longer good enough before we dive into a few of the strategies and unpack them. 

Brandon: 

How, I mean, you work with big companies that are complicated and there image is vitally important to their future and navigating today’s world. 

Brandon: 

I tend to listen to a lot of comedians. 

Jim: 

Um, I listen to comedian, my wife and I every night before we go to bed because I think you need to, to go to bed in today’s world with a little bit less um wait and more levity or whatever the lightness is the right word. 

Jim: 

But even comics are navigating this crazy world where everybody’s offended for whatever reason they you know I want to use the word entitlement at least that’s what it feels like. 

Jim: 

And companies have to navigate this space because they risk turning off a portion. 

Jim: 

And I guess my question to you is is how do you see cos navigating that? 

Jim: 

And is it really Is it really the majority out there? 

Jim: 

I read this article the other day that um from an academic that was talking about that it really only takes 3% or something very small the population to make the noise and create change. 

Brandon: 

And is that good for society or is that good for companies? 

Jim: 

So how do you think companies navigate this in today’s climate? 

Jim: 

Yeah. 

Jim: 

So I said the old playbook has has run its course and in a nutshell, and I think this is this might be helpful in terms of answering this specific question, the new playbook at 60,000 ft. 

Jim: 

It starts by saying it’s no longer just about the shareholder, shareholders, of course are still critically important, but it really is about embracing all stakeholders, so your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and of course, the impact on society and the planet more broadly. 

Jim: 

So if you, if you as a business leader, start with the mindset to positively impact society more broadly, then I think that’s a good starting point for how to address that concern you raised. 

Jim: 

The second one is is then to think about, it’s actually not just great products, but think about from your, from your customer’s perspective, what are the outcomes they’re looking for? 

Jim: 

What are the solutions they need, what are the experiences they want to have? 

Jim: 

Um and how do you make those as positive and affirming as possible? 

Jim: 

And then the third part is it’s still important to be cost competitive, but it’s not only that you also want to build in um the ability to be resilient, and we’ve certainly seen the importance of that during the pandemic. 

Jim: 

It’s also about being agile. 

Brandon: 

So so part of it is, yes, there are going to be many shifts in the environment, but are you agile and able to adapt to those quickly? 

Brandon: 

Um And so I think that what we’re seeing is the new playbook actually goes some distance, I think, to addressing that issue about, you know, different stakeholder groups, if you will being offended at any point in time, if you at least start with a view that our goal is to try to address their concerns. 

Brandon: 

I have to ask this question, do you think that the old playbook was fundamentally broken? 

Brandon: 

Because why would companies decide? 

Brandon: 

I mean, this is a real question. 

Brandon: 

Of course, I understand why they would want to focus on shareholders, but shouldn’t they have been focusing on customers all along anyway? 

Jim: 

Well, brian, it’s, it’s fun. 

Jim: 

I I’m in a book club with a few guys and a few of them are ex ceos and uh they give me a bit of a hard time, you know, as if I’m saying something new by the way, they were good enough to read, to read beyond great and and and give me their feedback as good friends would, and, you know, they would say, of course, the best companies have been thinking about all stakeholders for a long time. 

Jim: 

But the reality, the reality is, is many companies unfortunately viewed, viewed the other stakeholders, non non non shareholder stakeholders as a means to an end. 

Jim: 

And the end was to deliver, you know, as much profitability and total shareholder return for the shareholders. 

Brandon: 

I think the shift that’s been happening over a few decades, but it’s also accelerated is to elevate the relative importance of the other stakeholders. 

Brandon: 

And I I used this metaphor sometimes, I think, you know, you might think as a ceo that you actually run something, but the reality is it’s much more like you are in a multifaceted democracy, you’ve got customers who have a vote, you have employees who increasingly have a vote, you have government officials who have a vote, and of course you have shareholders. 

Brandon: 

You have a vote. 

Brandon: 

So your job is really more to see if you can get as many votes from the constituency that you think is most important for you. 

Brandon: 

That’s kind of your job. 

Brandon: 

The I want to ask this as far as I’m listening to you. 

Brandon: 

Do you think this is really just rhetoric and and here’s why because the system didn’t change. 

Brandon: 

Wall Street still wants quarterly results, Right. 

Brandon: 

Ceos are still incentivized by market cap and grow quote unquote growth growth at, at all costs. 

Jim: 

I’m not saying it’s bad. 

Jim: 

I’m at the, at the heart of it, a capitalist. 

Jim: 

I’m just trying to understand if we don’t change the actual, it’s always about incentives. 

Jim: 

So while there, while companies, all of us are incentivized to say these things, the system itself is not fundamentally changed because every quarter you jump on, whether you’re a private or public company, you’re still getting on a meeting with your board members who and you’re all have fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and you’re all figuring out if you grow or not. 

Jim: 

And if you didn’t grow, there is still this, well, what are we going to do to grow? 

Jim: 

Because having a company that doesn’t grow really doesn’t fit the model. 

Jim: 

You know, I think it’s much more than just rhetoric and I’ll even take very one very specific aspect of this you talk about, you know, even if you believe that it all comes back to shareholders. 

Jim: 

Well, the reality is is shareholders today, many of them are actually putting significant weight on E. 

Jim: 

S. 

Jim: 

G. 

Jim: 

Scores, so your environmental, social and governance score. 

Jim: 

And so if you think about companies need to access pools of capital. 

Jim: 

Well, if increasingly you’ve got a set of filters applied by investors using S. 

Brandon: 

G scores as that determines whether or not they will invest in your company. 

Brandon: 

What happens is the lower you perform against those e S. 

Brandon: 

G scores, the smaller the pool of capital you have access to and therefore markets would dictate that the higher therefore is the cost of that capital. 

Brandon: 

And so even if you were just motivated by returns to shareholders, you still would want to care about E. 

Brandon: 

S. 

Brandon: 

G. 

Brandon: 

But I think it goes further than that. 

Brandon: 

I think that actually the leaders and certainly many of the leaders that we write about in beyond great. 

Brandon: 

I think they’re motivated not just by you know, doing what’s right for for you know serving shareholders. I think there isn’t an awakening that has happened. I think that that leaders really are seeing We’ve got to be good to our customers. 

Brandon: 

Look employees, employees, they are voting and we’ve seen this you know the the huge what is it? People are saying 40% of people in the workforce today are notionally quitting their jobs or thinking of quitting, and then looking at which companies are they going to join? 

Brandon: 

And we know from our research that one of the number one factors that they look for is the purpose of the company. Is the company actually doing something that’s good for society and the planet more broadly. So, again, even if you were doing this purely from self interest, you would want to be thinking about customers that are voting based on your social impact, record employees that are voting suppliers, choosing who they will work with and so on. 

Brandon: 

But I I again, I want to make this point that I actually think that the best leaders are doing it, not just for, you know, getting improvements that they will benefit the shareholders. 

Brandon: 

I think they’re doing it because it is the right thing to do. And that’s why our first strategy is do good, grow beyond do good grow beyond by doing good, you will actually attract more customers, employees, suppliers, who will work with you and you will thereby have opportunities to grow beyond other companies that don’t that’s why you’re smarter than I am, because I think that’s why I love talking to guys like you and women, because that is true. 

Brandon: 

I didn’t actually go that deep to think about it, but I I think you’re right. 

Brandon: 

Why do you think that what do you think happened that made us as a society really turned this corner? 

Brandon: 

What was the pivotal moment or that made it happen? 

Jim: 

Do you think? 

Jim: 

Well, I think that, um, and it’s been it’s been coming for quite a while. 

Jim: 

You know, these these these disruptive forces that we talk about, you know, social tension. 

Jim: 

So just to take that one, you know, the rising concern around inequality that if you look back over the last 20 years, globalization and Autumn Ization automation, sorry, um those have both been a massive benefits to shareholders, but of course other stakeholder and by the way, in many cases, customers as well, I mean, you think at all all of the low cost products that people are able to access because they are manufactured in countries that have a lower labor costs. 

Jim: 

So customers have also benefited. 

Jim: 

But look at employees or citizens of different societies, you know, many of them have not benefited equally. 

Brandon: 

And so I think what we’re starting to see is that other voices or if you say other stakeholders, they’re starting to exercise their voice in a way that we didn’t see before. 

Brandon: 

Also, of course, we’ve seen the rising concern around climate change, which has become a huge factor in the equation. 

Brandon: 

And then even during, let’s say, the pandemic, people suddenly realize just how fragile supply chains are. 

Brandon: 

And so where you might have said, Yeah, of course, I’m I’m all for globalization, ah except when I can’t get an N 95 mask or I can’t get my my my my vaccine. 

Brandon: 

Suddenly then economic nationalism doesn’t look so evil. 

Brandon: 

So I think there have just been a number of factors in the environment that have contributed to this sea change from state shareholders only to all stakeholders. 

Brandon: 

Do you think that there’s a movement? 

Brandon: 

I was listening to podcast the other day and one of the I forget who it was was saying, you know, they can’t even go on and talk about the the wealth that they’ve been able to accumulate. 

Jim: 

And they they started from from nothing. 

Jim: 

Do you think that there’s a movement now that there is a limit to how much money people believe our capitalist system should allow people to make? 

Jim: 

Well, I think we are seeing some pretty strong voice is now around that theme. 

Jim: 

I mean, I mean, of course, progressive taxes have been with us for a long time, And I think the number is, you know, the top 1%, Uh, no, I’ll get it wrong, but anyway, the top 1% pay, you know, the majority of taxes by some margin. 

Jim: 

And, um, so obviously there’s been progressive taxes for a long time, but we’re seeing very strong voices that you’ve got to go further. 

Jim: 

Gotta go further, gotta go further. 

Jim: 

And now, of course, you know, the latest plan, um, whether it happens or not, no one knows, but to actually dramatically increase capital gains tax in the US. 

Jim: 

So there’s definitely a very strong voices advocating for, you know, taking more wealth from extremely wealthy people, but also there’s just I think there are concerns about the disproportionate returns that go to capital versus labour, and um you know, obviously unions played a very strong role in in the past less so more recently, although that’s not the case in in europe, um where unions still have a very strong seat at the table um in influencing decisions made by by companies. 

Jim: 

So, look, I think uh I think there is some sentiment around this, I think there’s also sentiment against, you know, conspicuous consumption and you see, and it sounds like you you watch a number of podcasts, um but even just a casual reader of the news would see celebrities that get in trouble for, you know, showing some of the conspicuous consumption that they have been used to, you know, bragging about for years. 

Jim: 

So I agree with you. 

Brandon: 

There is somewhat of a backlash against that and that’s part of the social tension. 

Brandon: 

I think that is driving this change. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I’m I’ll be I’m conflicted because I’m a capitalist at heart. 

Brandon: 

I think you should make as much money as you can and I don’t think you should be penalized or looked down upon um, for for doing that. 

Brandon: 

And by the same token, I think we do. 

Brandon: 

I always have this little spiky voice from my wife over here saying, hey, you know, we need money for these social programs and you don’t want to go like I won’t name a country, but when we travel and you go to another country and you see all these people that are just homeless and and really not supported. 

Brandon: 

You know, by the same token, there’s this balance and I think in companies in the at least the United States, there’s this pressure to say, are you making too much? 

Brandon: 

And I find it, uh, I don’t have the right answer, but I tend to, my capitalists have to say, you know, making too much. 

Brandon: 

I mean that that’s the goal. 

Brandon: 

If we if we change that, we change capitalism. 

Brandon: 

And I actually read some, there was a gentleman, I think from the ford foundation who said we we need to revamp capitalism and I don’t, I don’t know that we should revamp capitalism. 

Brandon: 

But um, I think your book, one of the, I want to read a quote because when I was reading it, this one really, I think is for all ceoS founders, leaders out there and you said to build an enduring business advantage leaders of the 21st century enterprise must adapt by crafting a whole new growth strategy, rethinking their operations and designing new organizational structures, which is really what you’ve summarized so far Um in talking about this and you and your co authors put together nine fundamental things. 

Brandon: 

Can we talk about three of your favorite? 

Brandon: 

And then we will leave the other six to listeners to buy the book, which I encourage you to do because I think the game has changed. 

Jim: 

Um you know, I’m disappointed that I can’t say just get let good get out there because now you’ve got to be great and beyond which, which takes a lot of work. 

Jim: 

Um What would be one of your favorite of the 9? 

Jim: 

Yeah, well, we um let me let me just structure the layout, the structure of the book for folks. 

Jim: 

So we have an introduction which is great, is no longer good enough then, if that’s true, then how do you actually, then, you know, go beyond great. 

Jim: 

And so we structured the book around three parts. 

Jim: 

It’s growing beyond operating beyond and organizing beyond. 

Jim: 

And then there’s three strategies within each of those. 

Jim: 

So if I just take growing beyond growing beyond, we do start with the strategy around do good, grow beyond. 

Jim: 

And so we spent quite a bit of time on this discussion already talking about needing to be purpose driven and thinking about all all shareholders. 

Jim: 

But a second strategy, there is one that we call stream. 

Jim: 

It don’t ship it and stream it don’t ship it was our way of saying that, you know, the days of just providing a physical product are are gone, customers are really looking for solutions, experiences, outcomes. 

Jim: 

And so what we talk about is uh, the need to be thinking about how do you deliver new solutions for customers leveraging digital technologies, that’s essentially what that is about. 

Jim: 

And also thinking about how do you personalize these offerings? 

Jim: 

And so to create a more intimate relationship um and to be giving you know exactly the offering or the experience customers want, you know for them as as individuals. 

Jim: 

So you think about a company like Starbucks is a company that we talk about in the book as an exemplar of this idea of stream but don’t ship it. 

Jim: 

So of course they actually and I love the company and have followed them for years. 

Brandon: 

Um and I love the book that Howard Schultz authored many years ago, pour your for your heart into it. 

Brandon: 

Um and right from the, from from the genesis um Starbucks was an experienced brand. 

Brandon: 

You actually came into a Starbucks and had an experience and so fast forward to a few years ago they saw that, you know, the opportunity but also the need to go beyond just the physical experience. 

Brandon: 

So they went through a major process of how do we become the most personalized brand on the planet? 

Brandon: 

That was the big, hairy, audacious goal. 

Brandon: 

So what they’ve done is they’ve worked through a process of thinking about how do we take all the customer data that we have to create an integrated data platform? 

Brandon: 

How do we leverage agile ways of working to be developing new value added loyalty programs and personalized offers for customers, including of course the ability to pre order your drink so that we you show up, it’s waiting there for you and you just leave all of that and also even, you know, building in Gamification. 

Brandon: 

So if you have that extra latte you benefit from that. 

Brandon: 

They’ve created this incredibly personalized experience leveraging digital technologies. 

Brandon: 

So that’s one good example of a company that is embracing, you know, stream it, don’t ship it. 

Brandon: 

I think that’s a great example of uh sometimes you hear people who say, well I have a physical product, I can’t do that. 

Brandon: 

Well that’s not true that it really isn’t about the coffee. 

Brandon: 

I mean the coffee is the end result, but it’s really not about that coffee. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, absolutely. 

Brandon: 

And look, you can look across every industry and that is by the way, one of the biggest themes we after we had written the book, we did one of those computer simple algorithm. 

Brandon: 

We generated a word Cloud and two of the words that stand out more than any other words in the entire book, digital and data. 

Brandon: 

And those are massive themes in companies that are going beyond great and it’s it’s obviously leveraging the power of of digital and and data together. 

Brandon: 

And I think that at all levels of business, every company out there now has the ability to do this. 

Brandon: 

I mean if you were just dumbing it down to saying we’re gonna do facebook ads, you still are going to get a ton of data that you can measure and then use that data and then talk to that data even in your messaging, in your marketing, beyond the crazy customization, it’s just even driving your messaging. 

Brandon: 

I think anybody out there who’s not doing that is it is crazy. 

Jim: 

I did think about something that um the delivering and I like what you said because when I when I first started reading and it was delivered digitally, it was I was thinking well can you deliver your product digitally versus in person or physically. 

Jim: 

And I think some people can do that and some people can’t. 

Brandon: 

I still think there’s value as we talk about a book. 

Brandon: 

I think the Kindle version is interesting, but I think the hard cover is more interesting than that could maybe old could make me all jim I’m open to that, but I I like taking notes there. 

Brandon: 

So I think there’s a distinguishing peace there. 

Brandon: 

What about on the operational side? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

So operating beyond is another, that’s that’s the middle by the way, just wasn’t common. 

Jim: 

I would make Um Noteworthy I think is we do dedicate 1/3 of the book to the topic of growth and growth is the lifeblood of any company. 

Jim: 

And so that’s why we put such an emphasis on those themes of growing beyond. 

Jim: 

But in terms of operating just one of the themes there that is very powerful is what we call engineer and ecosystem. 

Jim: 

So in in addition to conventional supply chains, where it’s basically a bilateral relationship between the supplier and the company. 

Jim: 

What we’re seeing is many companies are farming digital ecosystems as as value added networks to create and deliver solutions, outcomes and experiences that customers are craving at an accelerated pace. 

Jim: 

And so let’s just take one example here again. 

Jim: 

Uh and by the way, the book, we were very deliberate about this. 

Jim: 

This is not a set of consultants sitting around dreaming up frameworks and concepts. 

Jim: 

What we did is we we wanted to make this book all about real companies that are in the arena wrestling with with how do you actually go beyond? 

Brandon: 

So one of those companies is Volkswagen. 

Jim: 

So, uh you know, in in uh a few years ago they developed a strategy they called together 2025 and what they put is the big, hairy, audacious goal was that they would shift from being just a manufacturing of cars to being a digital mobility company. 

Jim: 

Um, and they call that we connect. 

Brandon: 

So what are the elements of that? 

Brandon: 

It’s also everything you think about, about, about the world of mobility. 

Brandon: 

It’s around security, advanced navigation, preventative service and maintenance, even the ability, of course, to control cars remotely as we move into, um, to, uh, to the new generation of electric automatic vehicles. 

Brandon: 

So what they did is they said, okay, let’s define what would that look like if we were the mobility platform for customers? 

Brandon: 

And then what they said is, okay, what are all the capabilities we need to deliver that? 

Brandon: 

And what they concluded is we could build all of those capabilities, but it would take us decades. 

Brandon: 

So instead what they did is they have assembled one of the most impressive ecosystems of partners At as of the writing of the book 58 Partners With 11 different countries and six different industries. 

Brandon: 

So it’s software capabilities, It’s around digitizing the drive train, it’s around the internet of things and cloud services all coming together to enable them to deliver on that big, hairy, audacious goal of being the mobility company. 

Brandon: 

So that to me is, is one of the themes we’re seeing and how companies are shifting how they operate. 

Brandon: 

It’s no longer just bilateral relationships with suppliers, but it’s this very powerful concept of ecosystems that got me to thinking. 

Brandon: 

And I was reading about Volkswagen and it sounds like they put in a huge initiative and they’re going to, and you probably know more about this because you work with them, they’re going to have to do that to keep up. 

Brandon: 

And I just, and I’m a big VW guy, But I just bought a Tesla and what I realized with Tesla and I gotta believe Elon musk is doing this as a strategy is he owns the entire ecosystem, He owns the solar, which I actually have solar and batteries so that I’m off the grid. 

Brandon: 

I power my car with the solar and then I don’t know if you caught this the other day, they filed for a copyright that Tesla would be or trademark would cover effectively the modern gas station. 

Brandon: 

And now he’s going to own, well, he has some lounges in some of these places. 

Brandon: 

I’ve learned uh, driving uproot five from L. 

Brandon: 

A. 

Brandon: 

But when you think about it, he’s going to Tesla will own the entire ecosystem which you didn’t touch on. 

Brandon: 

But I, I’d like to hear a thought that’s a moat that almost no one will be able to touch. 

Brandon: 

Now Volkswagen is gonna end ford. 

Brandon: 

And everybody else out there if they want to compete and catch up are going to have to create these ecosystems. 

Brandon: 

So it may not it may be a necessity for every single company out there because once the leader if you will in a category gets a hold of that ecosystem in that sense isn’t it really hard to break into that. 

Brandon: 

Absolutely. 

Brandon: 

And I love that you’re still using the language of moz. 

Brandon: 

Um But to take that metaphor you know we’ve we’ve taken the moat around a relatively narrow castle and now we significantly expanded that. 

Jim: 

And uh you know charging stations are just the classic example of of you know you you having charging stations that creates a maybe not unassailable but certainly a huge advantage. 

Jim: 

And then take that further into battery technology and your ability to have you no control over some of the incredible I. 

Jim: 

P. 

Jim: 

And the advances there and really across multiple aspects of of a vehicle. 

Jim: 

Um So yes all of those things are are you know critical elements of this idea of of engineer and ecosystem and that’s exactly exactly what he has done. 

Jim: 

And now of course the traditional automotive companies are are running hard to take to catch up on well and go ahead go ahead. 

Jim: 

No no I’m just going to say the ecosystem is one of the three powerful concepts that we talk about and I I’ll respect what you said about. 

Jim: 

Talk about 11 strategy. 

Jim: 

Well you can talk about as many as you want. 

Jim: 

I just didn’t want you to give them all up for the readers however many you want. 

Jim: 

Jim we can talk about all nine today. 

Jim: 

No I think just one other one that I would just touch on quickly and it ties back to something I was just saying about you know the importance of, of data and leveraging data and uh and so you know we have a strategy, we call let the data run through it and what the simple thing we use to build on the vehicle analogy here is that a lot of companies have thought about data as if it were exhaust kind of admitted by emitted by their operations and they would use it after the fact to measure and improve. 

Jim: 

But what we’re seeing now is companies are completely flipping that and it’s really data is the fuel um that not only predict future performance or consumer behavior but it’s also really driving operations deeply. 

Jim: 

And so you know we talk about you know many different companies that are doing this, a lot of them interestingly are big industrial companies that you think of as very traditional companies, you know, companies like Zimmerman’s or Schneider Electric out of, out of France or john Deere, john Deere interestingly enough, uh a company that you know, you think about, wow, what a, what a traditional company, agriculture is one of the oldest of all human industries. 

Jim: 

Many people think of it also is being, you know, a relatively simple business, but actually it’s one of the most complex because you think about all of the variables, the vagaries of weather and soil conditions and all of the operational decisions that you have to make as a farmer, what to plant, in what sequence and with which you know, fertilizers and so on. 

Jim: 

So anyway, back in 2012, um under there, then C I O who is now jOHn May their, their Ceo um they launch something they call my john Deere and think of it this way, I like to say that they had the vision to become the Tesla of the, the farm equipment sector because they basically said we’re going to flip from selling iron to information. 

Jim: 

And so what they’ve done is they have put in place this incredible data platform that allows them to take the very rich set of data. 

Jim: 

And by the way, they augmented that by putting sensors, a huge number of sensors on all of their equipment so they can get real time information. 

Brandon: 

So as you’re, you know, literally driving that tractor through the field, it can be helping you think about and automatically adjust the amount of fertilizer or other other, you know, things you need to do to, to optimize the performance of, you know, the yield of that particular farm acre um, and so they’ve completely flipped from being basically competing on low cost iron two competing on the power of information and solutions for, for their customers. 

Brandon: 

And we’re seeing this across just a huge number of industrial companies in the, you know, the spirit of the internet of things. 

Brandon: 

I just coming back to that one point I made, I think it’s noteworthy that, you know, john May, who was their chief information or technology officer, is now their Ceo. 

Brandon: 

And we see that also, by the way, an example of Nike where you’ve got john Donahoe who is a, you know, a career Silicon Valley tech Ceo, he was on the board of, uh, of Nike and is now the Ceo, as Nike has been on their own journey to become a truly digital data powered company. 

Brandon: 

I, I was thinking, as you, I had read about john Deere and what they were doing and actually bought the stock because I think that people thought or think that it’s this old school company but they are going to on the industrial, industrial level or on the large farming level, going to dominate that industry from at least all accounts that case studies that can be read another company on a lower level. 

Brandon: 

To break it down and build on what you said in the residential equipment is. 

Jim: 

Toro and Toro is doing the exact same thing. 

Brandon: 

Toro is going to automate, mowing your lawn no different than this little vacuum that we finally got. 

Jim: 

What is that thing that it went around all last night and vacuumed our place. 

Brandon: 

It it scans uh oh God, name will come to me. 

Brandon: 

But it you know these these companies are revolutionizing that and I think people who are leading these companies have to think how are they going to do this isn’t and maybe you can help me. 

Brandon: 

I’m trying to remember there was a case study I thought I read on walmart and they may be one of the most advanced retailers in the sense that they’re monitoring the weather, they’re monitoring all this stuff and it ties into their supply chain and they’re moving that ineffectively real time. 

Brandon: 

Right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, totally. 

Brandon: 

No, this is this is that. 

Brandon: 

And that’s why I say the beyond great playbook embedded deeply is the power of digital and, and data. 

Brandon: 

Um, as as, I mean, it’s it’s honest, but it’s also the next frontier. 

Brandon: 

So the third, the third part of the book, which we haven’t yet gotten to is the idea of organizing beyond. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know, Brandon if you want to go there or not, I’d love to, I’m really grateful that you’re sharing a few more of these. 

Brandon: 

I always like to leave a few because I don’t want listeners get the whole thing and then have the cliff notes. 

Brandon: 

So if you’re listening, you definitely need to get the book and thank jim for sharing this, but its share as many as you want in the organization and beyond. 

Brandon: 

I know that you have some case studies on Microsoft I think in that section in the book. 

Brandon: 

Well, we do actually and I could go there. 

Brandon: 

Um, and there are, there are there are three strategies in the organizing beyond chapter one of them is get focused fast and flat. 

Brandon: 

The next is thrive with talent And then the 3rd 1 is embraced always on transformation. 

Brandon: 

And I got to say each one of them I think has a lot of really interesting stories and very important messages for companies because there’s just absolutely no way that you’re going to be able to go beyond great if you don’t reimagine how you’re thinking about how you organize, how you attract, inspire and up skill talent and also embracing this idea of always on transformation. 

Jim: 

But maybe I just go to that one for the moment because you put Microsoft and play. 

Jim: 

So the idea here and by the way, a few years ago I had the opportunity to give a ted talk And the TED Talk is called five ways. 

Jim: 

Um, oh gosh, how could I forget that? 

Jim: 

Five ways to lead in an era of constant change? 

Jim: 

So there. 

Jim: 

Um, and uh, in that, what I talked about is how many companies thought about transformation as being a one off event, usually in uh, when they were facing some kind of a deterioration in performance or maybe worse a crisis companies, leaderships would say, okay, we’ve got to do something a bit more dramatic. 

Jim: 

So they would set up a set of teams with some Specific goals. 

Jim: 

They would drive hard for maybe 12-18 months and then go back to this wonderful state of business as usual. 

Jim: 

Well that world is gone, there is no more business as usual. 

Jim: 

We are in an era of constant change and so into that environment. 

Jim: 

What I say is it’s a little bit like the metaphor. 

Jim: 

If you think about the old way, the one off way of being a sprint, the new way is more like a triathlon and where you swim and then you know, sooner swim, you know, finished the swim and you got to jump on your bike, then you’ve got to start running and by the way it doesn’t even end there. 

Jim: 

But in an environment like that, if you think about that, that can be exhausting really, we have to constantly be transforming. 

Jim: 

But in fact in the ted talk I say I when I mentioned that I came up with that idea of always on transformation, I mentioned my wife and she said that sounds exhausting. 

Jim: 

That’s exactly right. 

Brandon: 

That’s why it requires that you re imagine the approach that you take to transformation. 

Brandon: 

And to be honest Brandon over the years, far too many companies have treated people as a means to an end or worse as collateral damage and that’s why transformation in most companies has a pretty bad rap. 

Brandon: 

You know, if you if you say our company is about to start a transformation, most people view that more negatively than positively. 

Brandon: 

So then you think about, okay, so how do you re imagine that and this is the story of Microsoft is so powerful, which is that you go back to february 2014, satya Nadella, the new ceo, you know, exciting day and there’s an iconic picture, he’s standing there with Bill Gates and steve bomber. 

Brandon: 

Um but interestingly enough, Bloomberg ran a piece around the same time, titled world’s worst job. 

Brandon: 

Well, you know, how could the ceo of Microsoft, the world’s worst job? 

Jim: 

Well, it was because of all the challenges that he was facing, not the least of which was the fact that out of nowhere, this little online bookseller, also based in Seattle had risen up to become, at the time the undisputed leader in cloud services with AWS. 

Jim: 

And so what’s very interesting in the story is Microsoft had had tried, but it missed out on mobile had missed out on search, had missed out on social and now they were really at risk of missing out on cloud and so it was, it was a must win battle for them. 

Brandon: 

Um also as if that wasn’t bad enough, they also were facing what had become a very toxic culture. 

Brandon: 

There’s a famous meme of the top six technology company cultures from about 10 years ago and the picture of Microsoft is everyone facing inward shooting at each other with guns and anyone working in Microsoft a decade ago, I would have said that’s exactly our culture. 

Brandon: 

So look, he was facing all these challenges. 

Brandon: 

So he launched then a very um holistic but also human centric transformation. 

Brandon: 

And we’ve ended up coining a phrase around the way that they’ve taken the journey and many other companies that we’ve worked with and we call it the head heart and hands of transformation, so that the head do you think about that is the thinking part, which is to envision a digitally enabled, growth oriented future and then to focus the organization on that vision and to get alignment and communicate a compelling case for change. 

Brandon: 

The hands is not just about executing, but it’s how do you execute and innovate because in a world of constant change, you’ve got to be constantly innovating. 

Brandon: 

And so there we talk about the importance of leveraging, agile ways of working while building the capabilities of your people. 

Brandon: 

But what really distinguishes Microsoft is not just what they’ve done in the head and the hands, but the heart. 

Brandon: 

And think of the heart like the physical, you know, metaphor of the heart. 

Brandon: 

On the one hand, it’s the seat of emotions, you know, as in pour your heart into it. 

Brandon: 

But but the heart is also an organ that pumps blood to the rest of the body. 

Brandon: 

And if you’re any kind of an athlete, you learn pretty quickly whether your heart is in in good shape or not, and so at the heart, what we do is we we talk about and what Microsoft massively emphasised first of all, was the importance of purpose. 

Brandon: 

And so even though he was under a lot of pressure, he spent the time to articulate and activate a new purpose to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more and and said everything, we do, every product we build, every technology we incubate has to be driven by that sense of purpose. 

Brandon: 

Also on the culture. 

Brandon: 

You know, as I said, that starting point of that inwardly focused, toxic competitive culture, he put a huge effort to articulate, activate and embed a new culture in the organization. 

Brandon: 

And people that are have been in Microsoft, whether as employees or partners or customers talk about the dramatic change in the culture, also caring for the well being of employees whose lives are being disrupted, which of course has become incredibly important. 

Brandon: 

And then the last thing I would just point to is is the role of leaders. 

Brandon: 

And Microsoft has taken to heart this idea of the head heart and hands of leadership and have embedded a new leadership model that they call create clarity. 

Brandon: 

The head generate energy, the heart deliver success, the hands. 

Brandon: 

So you can see in how they’ve taken the journey. 

Brandon: 

It truly is a holistic Human centric approach to transformation and the results well, on the one hand, a market cap from 300 billion and I hope you bought it now two trillion. 

Brandon: 

But as sata would say, what he’s even more proud about is what they’ve done for society more broadly and how they really have embraced the idea of living out that purpose. 

Brandon: 

And, and even things like, you know, if we really believe um to empower every person, then we have to make sure that even people that have different disabilities are able to fully leverage technology or people that don’t have access to the internet are able to get internet access through their air band initiative and so on and so forth. 

Brandon: 

So to me it’s it’s really the ultimate example and we’re so proud to include them as a beyond great exemplar. 

Brandon: 

I have a I know we’re running against the clock now, but could we, could you just comment real quick on how sata did this? 

Brandon: 

Was this training with leaders? 

Brandon: 

Was this a new handbook? 

Brandon: 

And I’m dumbing it down, But how does it actually, how could someone listening think about just generally making that happen? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

You know Brandon, honestly and I’ve I’ve this is this is what I do for a living. 

Brandon: 

You know, I work at the intersection of our people and organization and transformation practices and that’s I come alongside companies that are going through some sort of large scale change. 

Brandon: 

That’s what I do day in day out. 

Brandon: 

And honestly, honestly the best that that I’ve been able to come up with as a way of articulating what you do is in this this frame of the head heart and hands of transformation to think about, you do need to get the vision right and to get the leadership aligned around it and focus on the priorities. 

Brandon: 

You do need to think about executing and and innovating to the hands and make sure that you’re using the right ways of working, you know, and in our case, you know, we talk a lot about agile but also up skilling and developing the capabilities of those hands. 

Brandon: 

But but right at the center is the is the heart that bundle around purpose culture, well being and and the role played by leaders and how leaders lead that to me is the closest that I could say to a a formula for what leaders should do. 

Brandon: 

Well, thanks for sharing that. 

Brandon: 

Jim. 

Brandon: 

The book is beyond great Nine strategies for thriving in an era of social tension. 

Brandon: 

Economic nationalism and technology. 

Brandon: 

All technology, technological technological revolution. 

Brandon: 

Thank you. 

Brandon: 

Jim Where is the best place for listeners to buy your book? 

Brandon: 

Well, you know like it is for many things. 

Brandon: 

I mean click on amazon or any of your any of your online providers or of course, you know, stores are now carrying it now that we’re getting back into the physical world as well. 

Brandon: 

But I think just go online and search and there it is. 

Brandon: 

Well. 

Brandon: 

Perfect. 

Brandon: 

We’ll put everything in the show notes. 

Brandon: 

Jim. 

Brandon: 

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us and sharing a bunch of the nine strategies. 

Brandon: 

This is a great book, I recommend it to everybody. 

Brandon: 

Thanks again. 

Brandon: 

Thank you so much. 

Brandon: 

Brandon hugely appreciate this opportunity. 

Brandon: 

Thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of build a business success secrets. 

Brandon: 

Before we go, Let me ask you a quick question. 

Brandon: 

Are you the type of person who wants to get 100% out of your time? 

Brandon: 

Talent and ideas? 

Brandon: 

If so, You’ll love our monthly built a business success secrets newsletter. 

Brandon: 

It’s a monthly playbook about the inner game of building a successful business. 

Brandon: 

Recent issues have shown how to avoid losing money on Facebook and Instagram paid ads with this science-backed strategy, how to build a pitch deck to raise money in 13 simple slides three tips. 

Brandon: 

The monks used to improve concentration and get more done in less time, a five step process to survive and thrive when things get tough, how to optimize your sales team to grow your revenue in tons of other actionable, high percentage mind, body and business building tips and tricks. 

Brandon: 

As a fellow entrepreneur who’s aiming for nothing short of success, you owe it to yourself to subscribe, check out the special offer with bonuses for you at be Success Secrets dot com. 

Brandon: 

That’s B as in business Success Secrets dot com. 

Brandon: 

And until the next episode, remember you are just one business plan away. 

Brandon: 

I’m rooting for your success

Subscribe to the Build a Business with Brandon Podcast on your podcast player below👇