With that we're gonna move into Q&A. And so any questions from the group?
What happens when we see these things like when Cisco bought Flip cam and then killed it. You know this happens over and over again. What's that about ? Dump millions into it and just kill it.
I think what happens, some companies do this while some don't, I think on and off again GE has done a good job. So GE is actually a very non innovative company. Last time I checked, they haven't launched That's Thomas Edison's company right, they haven't launched one of their own patterns in like 15 years. But what they did do is their operator, great operators. So what they did do is they acquired innovative companies and then made them great operating companies and if they time it right, after the idea and innovation step is over then that worked. We have a great idea, it's fully vetted, we've done some research, now let's operate the hell out of it, that worked. If however, and I don't know this specific example ...
but if however you acquire a company and they haven't fully baked the idea and now you got an operator mindset in there. They're gonna tear it back and till it down and de-risk it and they've suddenly taken an idea and killed it. And that's the risk. What is that timing for an operating company to acquire an innovation kind of company. But it can work quite well and that's a perfectly great business model, I think, is if you're an operator, double-down on your strengths right. Wait till you've got a great idea, buy it and fix it and make it work, but if you fix the idea before it's fully baked, good chance you're gonna pare it back and ruin it.
Got it, thanks.
Yeah. Yes, sir.
I'm going back to something that I remember reading years back, Future Shock. Toffler, he predicted that technology and everything is going to be so great because it's going to free up all this time. We're gonna have so much time on our hands and everything's gonna be more relaxed and so forth what.. He totally missed that and so many great ideas he had.
100% wrong right.
Because what it's done is it's sped everything up, everybody is moving faster now. And one of the things I think culturally we're having a problem with is that people don't want to meet sometimes. Clients they say, "Oh no, I don't want to meet. "Just let's do a conference call, let's do this." the one-on-one is so important, I think for meetings and to get things accomplished but time has become an issue because of all this technology these great innovations that we're able to move fast and we're able to get things done and (mumbles) I don't know I'm just throwing that out as a...
You're dead on I mean, I'm old enough to remember the first BlackBerry and it was awesome because I thought like okay so I'll kill a bunch of emails while waiting for the elevator and then I'll have more time in my day. And if we had only made a rule back then of search and destroy only, no send. Remove the send button. It might have worked. We might have gotten time back. But then people started sending them from their devices. And suddenly you're getting emails at all times of the day, from all of the locations and our inboxes escalated and filled up and we've created this thing that you've named, the right name for me is time poverty. If time is our most valuable currency, and we don't have any anymore that means we're actually incredibly poor.
What about vacations, vacation time? Most people, they expect you to be responsive 24/7. You go on vacation, you're supposed to disengage, relax. No, you're expected to have your cellphone, so I think that's a cultural change we have to make.
For sure, for sure. It's pretty dangerous, I think. Cause the stress levels people are in, never goes away. They never get out of cortisol flush, and as we know that will kill you, eventually, all said.
What can you do to get fear out of middle management because sometimes the leaders, they want to innovate, but then the middle management is afraid of actually failing, right?
Absolutely. Middle management has it by far the toughest. I think it's the toughest role in any company is middle management because they've got top pressure from above to do two seemingly opposite things. Be efficient, be effective, do more with less, get more done with less resources, cut headcount, cut budget and oh by the way, you need to be innovative and invest in new ideas. It feels completely counter to what they've been trained up to this day for, which is getting things done and being efficient and really I've heard some god language back from a company in the USA that I like to use it's being a good steward of the business. If you're going to be a good steward of the business, yes you have to be efficient, you have to do more with less, you have to use new technology , to be more effective in producing whatever the stats quo set of goods and services are and you need to use that surplus to invest in the future and to look at new ideas and then think about possibility and to try stuff and fail. That's a super hard dance to do and without a senior leader who is supportive and says, "I understand that you'll probably fail "at some of these new attempts and I'm okay with that. "Please invest the time and energy to do this new stuff." then they're not gonna do it, they just won't do it. And so many managers in the world over are too risk averse to try something new cause they know they're just gonna get punished if it fails. They know they won't get punished if they get the job done but ultimately the company itself is gonna be at risk if they're not trying new things and innovating in new ways. So, it's a really hard dance, that's for senior leadership. Really has to make it clear that the expectation is to operate well but also to invest in the future through risk taking and creativity. Great question. Yes, Todd.
Something from your book I took, there was someone you were working with and they came in the meeting and said by the way, "Cause I'm new, you're gonna hate me, I'm an asshole. "I speak my mind." But to get that out of the way, you understand who you're dealing with and to, what you speak about is knowing your strengths and knowing the people on the team and to have mutual respect for their strengths and their weaknesses, your strengths and weaknesses. And how knowing that is how you can accomplish something. If you're in a situation where you're guarded and you're feeling competitive and unsure of who you're dealing with and lack that respect and then nothing is gonna get done.
Yeah, well said. I think one of the malaise that's in a lot of companies is people that are operators feel like they should also be creative and everybody has some ability to be creative but some frankly are better than others and so they want to play that role. They pretend but they also kinda know they're not that good at it, so they feel insecure. And ten you've got the creative visionaries that feel like they should also follow through and be operators and pretend that they're good at all those things. You got two pretenders on both sides, nobody doubling down on what they're best at and frankly if you got them in a room and said, "Listen I'm probably not that good on follow through "but I'm gonna give you a lot of ideas, Mr. Operator." and Mr. Operator says, "I'm not that good " at actually generating ideas but I'm happy "to take yours and do stuff with them." Suddenly you've got a much better working environment. People are too scared to share their strengths and weaknesses, most often. But the day you finally let go and you're like, "Hey "by the way boss, I'm actually not that good at x, y and z." It's like a 200 pound sand bag off your shoulders, right. It's incredibly enabling so yeah thanks for that.