IntroductionFollow That HunchFrom the age of 11,Tim McEnery worked his way up the food chain offood, first washing dishes in a local café, then waiting on every kind ofdiner in a variety of restaurants, and eventually managing an eatingestablishment owned by Aramark. He had never done anything else, andhe didn’t want to. Food was in his blood. He’d invested the thousands ofhours it took to know every perspective of the restaurant business inti-mately, from the back-of-the-house—washing and drying—to front andcenter—waiting on tables and understanding customers—to, now, thebird’s eye view—management. McEnery’s head was no longer so focused on serving a plate of food,or cleaning one that had just been cleared. Instead, his mind hadbecome full of ratios of food costs and facts about failure rates, and hisheart swept up in a dream-come-true inspired by a first date with hissoon-to-be wife. They had just enjoyed a wine tasting at a very uniquespot just outside Chicago—where McEnery ended up working a coupleof years later. He was still working at an Aramark-run restaurant as hismain job, and from time to time had fleeting thoughts of running hisown place one day. Sitting across from the woman of his dreams on whatwould become a historic night, his daydreams came into full focus. Hewanted winery experience, and suggested to the winery—as a way of xix
xx Introductiongetting in the door—a “wine maker dinner” that his restaurant wouldpay for. All the winery’s people had to do was show up with the wines.And so, they did. It was really nothing more than a crazy hunch. And began as a wayof getting the experience he needed to later start something of his own.He knew that running a restaurant was one of the toughest ways to makea living and that starting one could be a fast path to losing your shirt ifyou weren’t careful. But McEnery couldn’t get the idea out of his mind;he kept wondering if he could possibly recreate the magic of that specialdinner event with an entirely new format. It was risky and challenging,and revolutionary. Besides, he’d never run, or started, his own businessbefore. Still, he was ready. But, could he do it? What McEnery had in mind was a wine-infused eatery, and he wouldhave to pave the path from chain restaurants and boutique cafés tosomething completely different. And, eventually, he would have to builda community of wine enthusiasts who would become cult fans of hisconcept. He found himself at a crossroads. What McEnery saw in hismind didn’t exist, not yet. Because he wasn’t just imagining a restaurantthat made its own wine. McEnery’s vision was larger than that. What heenvisioned wasn’t just another eating establishment that would add tothe already growing and segmented genre, but something that woulddramatically shift the dining-out model, and he wondered if the newdynamics of community building through wine clubs couldn’t also beadded to the mix. And by pursuing this new concept, he was proposingto write an entirely new chapter in restaurateuring, in the flavor of date-night restaurants like P Chang’s and the Cheesecake Factory. It would .F.mean transitioning away from candlelight and white linen, and it mightalso require new rules, new venues, new décor, new expertise, new tech-nologies, and new job descriptions. Perhaps he wasn’t just proposingto add pages to the treatise on dining, but in fact penning a brandnew book. Danae Ringelmann was sitting on Wall Street as an analyst, and shewas comfortable there. But she didn’t spend all her days and nights
Introduction xxicrunching numbers. In her spare time, she volunteered in the world oftheatre, linking playwrights with producers and money. That’s when shebegan to notice a financial disconnect between artistic creation andartistic funding: theatre arts were paid for either by the bureaucracy ofgovernment support or the unpredictable donations of wealthy individ-uals. In other words, politicians and rich people ultimately decidedwhich plays ran and which plays never got off the ground. No othergroups were represented in the backstage of money. The theatre-goerswere a different story. The audience for independently-produced playsand films—passionate people who really cared—consisted of a muchmore diverse group with a much more varied strata of income. Theirdedication would have them waiting hours to meet the playwrights andscreenwriters, spending precious time they didn’t have learning aboutthe process of invention, and following the project from inception tostaging to blocking to opening night. They were more than just fans ofthe plays, films, and productions they entrenched themselves in and asa result, they did so much more than simply buy tickets and show up tofill seats. They were actual zealots when it came to supporting the voicesof the inventors of the oeuvres, and they could prove it. This disparity meant Ringelmann was smack dab in a second, real-lifeversion of “the long tail,” a phenomenon conceived by Chris Andersonin 2006 (Anderson, 2006) that originated when independently producedmusic began getting support directly from its listeners. No longer was it arequirement for a major producer to cut a CD; independent music groupscould now fund the production of new songs solely from their fan base.And that same thing could happen for performing arts. Ringelmann had ahunch that she could turn theatre upside down by changing the way it feditself. In pursuit of that idea, she enrolled in business school to find out ifshe could enact such a world-altering shift in the way things had alwaysbeen done. Nick Pudar had been with GM’s OnStar division—a department thatcreated a factory-installed safety, security, and navigation system in GMcars and trucks—off and on since its inception. Through his tenurethere, Pudar watched as the customer’s relationship with technology
xxii Introductionchanged over time, seeing much greater possibility for OnStar than sim-ple auto-directional advice. People were beginning to relate to personalmobile devices and technology in new and interesting ways, and OnStarsubscribers were no exception. They were no longer just “using” theservice, but depending on it, trusting it, connecting with it, and commit-ting to the human voice that led them through dark roads at night, “heldtheir hands” in the aftermath of a car accident or vehicular emergency,and could help them in case they locked themselves out. OnStar becamethe driver’s access to information and resources in every situation. AndPudar, a master strategist (and a deadly serious amateur magician), hadan epiphany. What would it take to bring the solace of OnStar to every-one who needed connectivity in any capacity? Not just drivers of a GMcar? Pudar saw his product—24/7/365 service—and the brand as havingmuch farther-reaching potential. Because it wasn’t just the communityof GM that needed OnStars connectivity, but anyone who got into a carand maybe even outside of it. Still, in a company the size of GM, it wouldtake more than a cool idea to grab the attention of management, and alot more than a hunch to capture the loyalty of the public. Pudar wasinspired. But where would Pudar construct the path that would get himfrom inspiration to execution? What McEnery, Ringelmann, and Pudar had in common was pas-sion, inspiration, and desire. And a hunch that things could go beyondwhere things had always been. Theirs was a feeling everyone in businesscould identify with: that experience, industry knowledge, and observa-tions of emerging trends could intersect to create a business opportunitythat transcended today’s boundaries. And they faced a challenge every-one in business could identify with, too: that the tools and skills they’dlearned and used weren’t sufficient for moving them toward what hadnever been done before. Their toolkit was tailored to what was, not whatcould be. McEnery, Ringelmann, and Pudar first tried all of the old methods—like the traditional SWOT analyses, forecasts, benchmarks, and predic-tive models—on their new ideas but found each method fell short.Simply improving on those past processes and traditional financial
Introduction xxiiianalysis measures couldn’t create future opportunities, either. Innova-tion tools informed their creative concepts, but they weren’t enoughto flesh out the chart of sustainable business growth. They neededsomething to enable them to see ahead to the future sooner and some-thing that would translate their ideas into new models that could gaintraction and thrive. More specifically, McEnery couldnt take the spreadsheets fromexisting restaurants and merge them with other potential “non-food”revenue sources to create a financial pro forma of what might come next.How could he anticipate the future potential for his concept by lookingat financial projections that applied to dining-only establishments? And likewise, Ringelmann couldn’t apply her Wall Street analystskills to a world of commerce that had only recently become a possibil-ity. It was a new, more democratic platform, one in which funding forartistic works could marry the freshly-minted dynamic of social media toallow for input and participation from the supporter of creative works. Pudar, too, couldn’t adhere strictly to an analysis of currentstrengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to fully capture thepower of what he and his team envisioned. So instead, Pudar and his col-leagues would have to develop their own process to take OnStar from itslongstanding version—a manufacturer-installed, in-car safety and secu-rity system—to something much broader in impact and potential—auniversal device that could be purchased at any electronics store andinstalled in any vehicle. And so they did. At the 2011 Consumer Electron-ics Show in Las Vegas, Pudar and the OnStar team introduced OnStarFMV (For My Vehicle). A remote rear-view mirror unit—compatible withmore than 90 million cars on U.S. roads, available at retail stores nation-wide, and offering OnStar’s award-winning safety, security, and connec-tivity. This new OnStar product fulfills the promise of connecting driversand their vehicles to a wide range of services. FMV is an example of theopportunity that can arise from a new way of thinking. All this boils down to one thing for sure, that adding up the elementsof the past doesn’t get you to the full impact you can have in the future.But what does? Something else, something different, something new,something flexible. McEnery, Pudar, and Ringelmann had to start over,
xxiv Introductionthey had to create new tools and processes, and they did, pioneeringbrand-new, tailored approaches that worked.A New Playbook, a Fresh LookThe new way of doing business that all three came to find is what thisbook is about. Find Your Next illustrates the new principles today’s lead-ing organizations must follow to survive in today’s competitive businessenvironment. Their real stories, along with hundreds of experiences I’vehad and dozens of interviews I’ve held in my career as a business strate-gist and consultant, demonstrate a new way to respond to the emergingrealities of business growth that all of us, as business leaders, now face.What each and every story or case study has in common is a set of simpletruths—business breakthroughs that combine the instinctive hunches ofwhat might be with revelatory insights into cross-industry trends in plainsight. With that new philosophy to guide them, companies can nowthrive and teach the rest of us how. They’ve created a powerful newdynamic for growth that hasn’t been systemized. Until now and Find YourNext. Find Your Next is a new playbook with new rules, based on the tradesecrets that successful business leaders like McEnery, Ringelmann, andPudar discovered to their great success. It’s a book for the millions ofbusiness leaders who want to turn their hunches about what might beinto what can be and what is. It offers a new perspective that integratestoday’s realities—a faster Web 2.0 Internet world, a transparent, globalmarketplace, and a post-Mad Men dynamic—and new tools to respondto them. In this see-through universe of commerce, customers, con-sumers, clients, colleagues, suppliers, and competitors have all turnedup the volume on their voices and challenged us to listen. Find Your Next demystifies the magic behind blockbusters likeMcEnery’s Cooper’s Hawk, Restaurant News’ 2010 Hot Concept, Pudar’sOnStar, Edmunds.com top ten car technology trend last year, and Ringel-mann’s IndieGoGo, recently marking her as one of Fast Company’s mostinfluential women in technology, not to mention hundreds of other organ-izations like Jiffy Lube, P Chang’s, ScoreBig, Vook, Allstate Financial, .F.
Introduction xxvJP Morgan Chase, Victors & Spoils, CareFusion, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts,Sharp HealthCare, G.E.ecomagination, and EMC Corporation.The Structure That Organizes the ChaosThis book taps into new patterns that have been proven to drive busi-ness growth, founded on the elements of the “genomic” approach. Ingenomics, scientists are able to identify, map, and learn from patterns ofan organism’s DNA. In business, we can do the same thing by breakingdown the core “DNA” of a company into several basic elements. Withthat insight, we can see how all our companies are the same, and whatpatterns they fall into, regardless of industry. The core DNA, or six key genomic elements, are central to everybusiness’s success. By focusing on them, and looking for connectionsfrom industry to industry, we can breathe a little life into our companiesand our bottom line. The Six Elements of the Business Genome With the business genome classifications, companies can organize their “dashboards” around categories, or core DNA, that reveals new opportunities for growth: 1. Product and service innovation—the invention of offerings that resonate. 2. Customer impact—a sustainable community of support. 3. Process design—alignment of the “how” of a business with the evolving “what” that customers need. 4. Talent and leadership—the culture that will move a business forward. 5. Secret sauce—the recipe of differentiation and competitive advantage in a new world of unprecedented transparency. 6. Trendability—the foresight to see the future more quickly and adapt more rapidly to shifts in the landscape.These six elements can function as a strategic lever to move a companyfrom a stagnating today to a more dynamic future. By focusing on thebasic elements of a company’s “genome” (a concept we’ll explain in
xxvi Introductiongreater detail later in the book), companies can get in touch with evolv-ing customer preferences and opportunities on the horizon that theycan learn to respond to more nimbly. And that means mapping yourcompany’s genome against innovations of proven success, a processtranslated into four simple steps in this book.The Find Your Next Steps: A Process That WillCatch You Up with the Speed of ChangeThe Find Your Next approach is a process of four steps, based on a newperspective of a future that is foreseeable by scanning innovation acrossindustries and adding them together to create inventive possibilities.The steps combine the art of instinct with the science of experience. 1. Sort through the options for your company and assess your hunches. 2. Match your genome to successful businesses that have already steered themselves in the direction you want to explore. 3. Hybridize your company by grafting the ideas that work in other companies onto your own. Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. 4. Adapt and thrive by breaking out of old habits and fostering new traditions in your business that will enable you to take advantage of a rapidly-evolving business environment.Crossroads of a New InfrastructureCrossroads are everywhere. Sometimes they result from a crisis, whenthe world changes overnight. (Like when Napster shocked the music
Introduction xxviiindustry, illustrating to record companies their vulnerability in the newage of online digital music distribution[Levy, 2000]. As a result of thatrevolutionary crisis, the term “Napster moment” has been added to ourbusiness vocabularies, and describes a phenomenon the publishingworld is now in the center of.) Other crossroads can emerge outside of acalamitous event, when we find ourselves in a shifting industry. (Think,for a second, about food, and when grocery stores started offering moreand better prepared foods, and customers made the gradual cross-fadefrom eating in restaurants to taking chef-made meals home.) And, stillother times, crossroads simply appear as a gut feeling to a pioneer witha vision. This book is for any business leaders who somehow ended up at acrossroads for whatever reason. Find Your Next is the parable of everyfork in the road and the inherent lesson within. It’s the story of com-merce and customers and leaders and culture. The characters are uni-versal and local, the venues global and domestic, and the wares standardand high-tech. What might seem like an abrupt urgency for a new view of businessisn’t what it seems. It has actually been sneaking into boardrooms andbreak rooms in virtually every corporation, onto the whiteboards ofevery start-up, and into the dreams and imaginations of every aspiringentrepreneur for at least a decade. This set of realities isn’t new, per se,but it is the first time someone’s writing it down. The point is this: The ability to see the future more quickly andrespond more nimbly is the new “killer app,” the skill that will enablesome companies to thrive and force others to go extinct. Find Your Next doesn’t dwell on the path to extinction, throughrecent high-profile bankruptcies that have shaken the world. It doesn’tfocus on the companies that couldn’t predict the future or the industriesthat were here yesterday and gone today. Instead of focusing on those stories, it teaches from them. It shedslight on dinosaurs by telling the actualities that made them prehistoric.It explains how every past relic acts as a symbol of a powerful and uni-versal lesson learned. It has woven such insights into new business fun-damentals and tangible steps that we can all embrace to avoid uncertaindeath and catch up to the future today.
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