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Nimble: A Proposal for Startup Speed & Agility in Fortune 100s

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This is a proposal to save Fortune 100 companies from themselves. Only the responsive will survive.

Published in: Leadership & Management

Nimble: A Proposal for Startup Speed & Agility in Fortune 100s

  1. 1. NIMBLE A PROPOSAL FOR SPEED & AGILITY IN FORTUNE 100 ORGANIZATIONS @amandakgordon 1
  2. 2. Are the Fortune 100 TOO BIG TO FAIL? 1955 Fortune 500 Companies @amandakgordon 2
  3. 3. 1955 Fortune 500 Companies 1955 Fortune 500 Companies who still exist today Are the Fortune 100 TOO BIG TO FAIL? 14% REMAIN NOPE. @amandakgordon 3
  4. 4. THEY’RE FAILING AT THE HANDS OF THOSE MORE NIMBLE, LIKE STARTUPS VALUE: $25BILLION 4 VALUE: $1BILLION VALUE: $1.2BILLION
  5. 5. start up st*art* up, n. DEFINITION: 1. A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Source: Neil Blumenthal @amandakgordon 5
  6. 6. start up st*art* up, n. DEFINITION: Uncertainty is the only certainty 1. A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Source: Neil Blumenthal @amandakgordon 6
  7. 7. THE CHALLENGE: How can a well-resourced Fortune 100 company adapt quickly to the changes in technology and society to make things its customers actually want? @amandakgordon 7
  8. 8. THE CHALLENGE: How can a well-resourced Fortune 100 company adapt quickly to the changes in technology and society to make things its customers actually want? Let’s draw inspiration from successful players who have weathered this uncertainty well. @amandakgordon 8
  9. 9. INSPIRATION: Navigators of Uncertainty 5 Leaders Who Have Weathered Uncertainty Well @amandakgordon 9
  10. 10. THE LEADER: Simon Sinek “People don’t buy what you do: They buy why you do it. Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left. All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.” THE TAKEAWAY: Unite diverse teams through shared purpose. INSPIRATION @amandakgordon 10
  11. 11. THE JOCKS: The NFL Imagine if the NFL had a ‘running back team’, ‘quarterback team’, and a ‘wide receiver team.’ Now imagine these people were only brought together when their specialization was needed to win a game. It wouldn’t work. Instead, the NFL hires people at the top of their respective skill sets and brings them together to win. At their simplest, NFL teams are highly-specialized individuals lead by a set of distinct communication rules; their diversity increases their chances of success. THE TAKEAWAY: Hire, develop, & cut talent smartly. Work in cross-functional teams. Focus on communication. INSPIRATION @amandakgordon 11
  12. 12. THE SWITCHERS: Netflix INSPIRATION “Most companies that are great at something — like AOL dial-up or Borders bookstores — do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.” - Netflix CEO Reed Hastings THE TAKEAWAY: Understand, and embody, agility. @amandakgordon 12
  13. 13. THE VENTURE CAPITALIST: Paul Graham “Most businesses that fail do it because they don't give customers what they want. Look at restaurants. A large percentage fail, about a quarter in the first year. But can you think of one restaurant that had really good food and went out of business?” THE TAKEAWAY: Focus (obsessively) on the customer. INSPIRATION @amandakgordon 13
  14. 14. THE FUTURIST: David Houle INSPIRATION “You need the quality of resilience: a lack of hierarchical structures. Structures become rigidified & resistant to change: that’s where bureaucracies come from. Instead, think of a net concept, so that your managers, and your employees are nodes of a larger net. A larger net of information. A larger net of knowledge. A larger net of nodal connectivity to the marketplace - so we are getting much more connected and holistic - not hierarchical.” THE TAKEAWAY: Don’t think hierarchy. Think net & nodal. @amandakgordon 14
  15. 15. A PLAYBOOK: New Ways of Working 5 Steps for Large Companies to Embrace Uncertainty 5 STEPS @amandakgordon 15
  16. 16. 5 STEPS 1. IDENTIFY PURPOSE 2. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES WITH AUTONOMY 3. DE-SILO & DIVERSIFY 4. GET OUT OF THE BUILDING 5. SHIP EARLY, SHIP OFTEN @amandakgordon 16
  17. 17. 1. IDENTIFY PURPOSE WHY THE CASE STUDY Purpose-driven focus > profit-driven focus REASON TO BELIEVE • Science shows us that humans have a deep desire to be challenged, achieve mastery, and make a contribution to society. • Purpose driven companies meet deep human needs, attract better talent, & experience category leadership in sales & profits. THE PLAY Articulate your purpose. Purpose is the difference you’re trying to make in the world. Mission is how you do it. Vision is how you see the world after you’ve you’ve achieved your purpose & mission. Southwest Airlines’ purpose is to “democratize the skies.” Purpose is their North Star and compass for guiding decisions. During a particular challenging economic time, Southwest’s consultants recommended charging for checked baggage, a move that would make over $350 million. Southwest refused to stray from their purpose and instead ran an ad campaign called “Bags fly free.” One year later Southwest had driven $1 billion in new revenue, taking additional share from their competitors. @amandakgordon 17 5 STEPS
  18. 18. 2. EMPOWER EMPLOYEES WITH AUTONOMY WHY THE CASE STUDY Freedom nourishes creativity, process cripples creativity REASON TO BELIEVE Self-determination theory (SDT) proposes that humans have an innate need to be autonomous, competent, and connected to one another, and that when that need is met, people achieve more and live richer lives. Atlassian, an Australian software company, holds a quarterly “ShipIt” day, where employees have 24 hours to work on whatever they choose, however they’d like, and with whoever they’d like. The only requirement is to present work to the entire company at the end of 24 hours. The result: hundreds of new product ideas and bug fixes for existing software. THE PLAY Give people freedom to choose: When they do it (time): results oriented, not time oriented How they do it (technique): provide guidance, not process What they do (task): freedom to solve problems @amandakgordon 18 5 STEPS
  19. 19. 5 STEPS 3. DE-SILO & DIVERSIFY WHY REASON TO BELIEVE THE CASE STUDY Problem-solving diversity > Groups of high ability problem solvers Chicago Loyola University Economist Lu Hong constructed a mathematical model to test whether diversity trumps ability. She found that diverse groups of problem solvers outperformed the groups of the best individuals at solving problems, who tended to think similarly & got stuck more frequently. THE PLAY Reorganize: into cross-functional teams. Ideate: in multiple teams. Compare findings. Recruit: individuals from unorthodox backgrounds. During WWII, the British assembled a diverse team of 12,000 code breakers at Bletchley Park to break the German Enigma code. Recruitment measures were unorthodox, ranging from personal networking to crossword competitions run in the Daily Telegraph, where winners were covertly approached about "a particular type of work as a contribution to the war effort.” The efforts at Bletchley Park led to the cracking of German ciphers sent via the Enigma machine. It’s estimated that the work done at Bletchley Park shortened WWII by two to four years, and that without it, the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. @amandakgordon 19
  20. 20. 4. GET OUT OF THE BUILDING WHY THE CASE STUDY Talking to real customers > Assuming you know the customer When the Segway was launched, inventor Dean Kamen claimed that the Segway would be “to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy.” Venture capitalists predicted sales could top $1 billion. Segway spent $100 million developing the product. What they didn’t do was price the product ($3,000 - $7,000) to draw a significant number of users, or indeed, fill a real need. Additionally, it was being classified as a road vehicle in some countries but illegal to use in others. Between 2001 to 2007, the company only sold 30,000 Segways, and in 2004 Kamen had to raise $31 million and mortgage the factory. THE PLAY Conduct: Interviews Focus groups Surveys Observation Prototype testing Idea crowdsourcing REASON TO BELIEVE • The problem you think you are solving may not be the problem that the customer is having • Customers will tell you what they want - just ask Starbucks. My Starbucks Idea birthed Braille Starbucks menus and gift cards, splash sticks (to minimize coffee splashes), & donations of unsold goods to local organizations @amandakgordon 20 5 STEPS
  21. 21. 5 STEPS 5. SHIP EARLY, SHIP OFTEN WHY THE CASE STUDY Nothing is certain until tested REASON TO BELIEVE • The biggest risk in developing something new is making something that no one wants. • The goal of the MVP is to test fundamental business hypothesis. Engineer Drew Houston was met with skepticism by investors when he pitched a file sharing system called Dropbox. Investors were concerned that the market was crowded with existing (unprofitable) products. Instead of wasting thousands of dollars building a product that people might not use, Drew made a demo video which demonstrated the product - a cheap way of demonstrating the seamless interface that the product became known for. Sign ups went from 5,000 people to 75,000, overnight, and over 10,000 Diggs - thanks to over a dozen hidden in-jokes in the video targeted at early adopters: a sign of knowing the customer. THE PLAY Build an MVP. Get feedback from real customers. TIP: Don’t let your want for perfection turn into procrastination. @amandakgordon 21
  22. 22. COMMUNICATION: THE THREAD THAT TIES IT ALL TOGETHER Building internal powerpoint decks and responding to long email exchanges is NOT a good use of time. Building a culture of communication allows people to spend their time learning & improving on the product. How is it built? TRANSPARENCY through knowledge sharing THE HOW: OPEN OFFICE ENVIRONMENTS HIPCHAT/YAMMER ACCOUNTABILITY through visible goals PRIORITIZATION through check ins @amandakgordon THE HOW: WHITEBOARDS BURNDOWN CHARTS PROGRESS VS OBJECTIVE THE HOW: ALL HAND MEETINGS SCRUMS PARLIAMENT STYLE ‘QUESTION TIME’ 22
  23. 23. WHAT YOU CAN MAKE TO MAKE THIS WHAT PEOPLE WANT YOU TO MAKE PRODUCTS & SERVICES THAT WORK 23 USE THESE STEPS IDENTIFY PURPOSE EMPOWER WITH AUTONOMY DE-SILO & DIVERSIFY GET OUT OF THE BUILDING SHIP EARLY, SHIP OFTEN @amandakgordon
  24. 24. Whoever gets closest to the customer wins. @amandakgordon 24
  25. 25. Amanda Gordon is a digital strategist. I’d love to tell you more about this. More thoughts like this on my blog: www.theblindstrategist.com @amandakgordon

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