“How come they don’t have a clear name for what you do?”
This business transformation is giving me a headache. A friend of a friend says he knows a guy who can help. He gave a pretty vague description of the help provided, and adds “don’t worry, you’ll find out when you call him.” Inhale. Exhale. Here we go…
Hi this is Tim Selders.
Hi Tim this is Jon. I got your number from a friend of Erics.
Ah Eric, yes we’ve worked together. These guys make such incredible yachts!
I hear they do, yes. And from what I heard, you’ve helped them with some innovation things.
That’s right. We rebuilt their construction process and opened it up so they’d be much more flexible to introduce new technologies into yachts they were already building.
Mmmh. I also heard that you claim to be able to work with any company.
Uhm I don’t think I’ve made that claim, but would you like to find out if I could help you?
Well we’re not in yachting or telecom.
Okay so what is it you do?
I’m CTO at Xco. Basically we’re a smaller version of Zco.
Ah. Zco published meagre numbers because their new line is overdue almost a year right? How are you doing?
Yeah that’s because Zco is an oil tanker that can’t be turned. Xco business is good, we work agile and a few of the people here actually get it. We’re in what some would call old economy. But I see an easy way out. If we commit to making a move into digitisation, we will grow 15% every year. Just like that.
Okay so business is good now. And you’re leading the …ABC department? Are you making that change happen?
Yes, CTO leading up ABC. 20 people on my team.
Sounds like quite the workforce for making a change!
Sounds like it, but we interface with pretty much all other departments at Xco and they’re very good at slow decision making. Or careful, as they call it. Sometimes I think we’d need to be 30 people to get everything fixed here, but the CMO would probably outhire and outcomplicate us anyways.
Oh that’s interesting. So about this way out… What if you’d widen the scope of that way out so that you don’t just do it for large business but also smaller ones?
Yeah as I said: we have one way out. And I just told you we have no people that could do that.
No, no, wait a second Jon. You’re not saying you have a people problem right? If you look at Zco, they have a people problem. I mean look at how other mainly traditional industries have re-invented themselves. Take agriculture. Some of the larger Dutch companies do incredible stuff. Also Eric’s company by the way.
Yeah I too read Harvard Business Review so I know the examples from other industries. Maybe I should copy that article 200 times and spread it around here at Xco.
Sure but have you guys captured this way out in any way? Is it a vision that leadership knows about? Have you presented it?
Well they wouldn’t g…
And you’d need to turn this into an easy system to explain this move to your peers first, and to your clients quickly after. And train your sales team to tell this story. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I hear you could still cover some ground before concluding the others don’t get it.
Oh I forgot, you’re a coach too…
Oh come on Jon, put the gloves down for a moment. Let me ask you another question: how are your processes geared up for this change you’re proposing?
Okay, okay that’s enough. I’m not saying you’re right, but you’re actually saying some interesting things. How come they don’t have a clear name for what you do?
Cheers! Well I’m somewhere on the crossroads of business, innovation and design, that’s for sure. I’ve tried to focus for a long time. But really I’m wired to solve problems, usually on a strategic level, and that’s just what I’m good at. So that’s what I do.
Hah makes sense. What’s the weirdest company you’ve worked for then?
I have a list of things I’ve worked on lately. I’m not sure if it’s weird, but maybe you’ll enjoy hearing that I helped a company on capturing their vision for the future of ski shoes?
Let’s be frank now Jon, working with me really comes down to taking the plunge. You want your people to make moves too, right?
I do. And f*ck it, let’s meet. On the condition this was the first and last time you’ve used my words against me.
Can’t promise anything. See ya!
See you soon.