I once worked on a team that agreed on several foundational principles: they collectively valued transparency, trust, and speed. With shared values like that you would assume that we were high-performing team, right?
Even though XPLANE likes to wear our Great Place to Work badge with pride and love to brag about our consistent 4.25+ out of 5 employee satisfaction rating, we still face a lot of the same challenges that our clients in organizations of all stripes face as the landscape evolves. When departments are stuck working in silos, employees are feeling anxious, and the overall company culture is in a slump, how do we turn our organization around?
There are a lot of jokes about consultants, and in the last 20 years I think I’ve probably heard them all. The crux of most of these jokes is that consultants have their heads in the clouds. They are impractical; they're good at thinking but not so good at doing. A good strategy is, after all, only half the battle. The rest is execution.
This reminds me of the story about the mice who held a meeting to figure out what they should do about the cat. Have you heard it? The mice get together and after much discussion, they decide that the solution to their cat problem is to put a bell on the cat. That way all the mice will be able to hear when the cat is nearby, and the cat will no longer be able to sneak up on them. All the mice agree that this is a perfect solution, and they are about to adjourn the meeting when an old mouse speaks up:
“But who,” he asks, “will put the bell on the cat?”
Many traditional organizations are now driving away both potential employees and new business by not putting their users (employees, customers, and partners) first. They’re caught in a web of outdated processes and old technologies. They favor the traditional way of working instead of following the lead of their customers. They just can’t keep up.
Big businesses need to rethink the way they work if they want to avoid extinction. Now, winning companies are ones that can quickly respond to market changes, adapt to business fluctuations, and ensure that the entire org is all moving toward the same goals. To provide companies with these skills, our partners at Rackspace are proud to announce their newest venture: Global Solutions and Services.
As Rackspace’s Vice President of Global Solutions and Services, Rachel Cassidy says it, “IT transformation is critical for companies that want to stay ahead of disruptions while accelerating growth and innovation, but it’s not easy. Rackspace is here to help as little or as much as our customers need at any point along their cloud journey, including up-front planning, assessment, design, migration, management, and continuous optimization.” Many companies don’t currently have the skills available to dedicate to this type of transformation, the experience and lessons learned from doing these types of transformations every day, or the tools and methodologies to help streamline processes and provide best practice support for this type of transformation. Rackspace’s new professional service package helps businesses begin their transformation.
An Interview with Innovation Junkie Saul Kaplan
Over the past year I’ve been learning more and more about business model innovation through the masters, Business Innovation Factory (BIF). It has changed the way I see business innovation, differentiation, and competitive advantage. In hopes of sharing this view with our community, I interviewed BIF’s Founder and Chief Catalyst, Saul Kaplan.
This month, XPLANE founder Dave Gray was interviewed on the Fjord Fika podcast with Andy Polaine discussing the corporate push toward innovation. How do large companies create a culture of innovation and successfully make it stick? The innovation lab trend of Silicon Valley might be a good start, but most of the time it doesn’t address the real barrier to innovation: the mindset of your people.
Here are my four takeaways from Dave and Andy’s discussion to get your team on the right path and in the mindset of corporate innovation.
A lot of problems in business could be solved if we could align the interests of employees and managers with owners. Is there a way to get everyone to act like owners? The answer is yes, but not without changing the structure of your company in ways that might make you a bit uncomfortable.
XPLANE has been a values-based and purpose-led organization since our founding in 1993, and I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve just become a Certified B Corporation as well. We have joined over 1,900 other businesses in over 40 nations that believe business can serve society, as well as shareholders.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with B-Corporations, we are a community that believes business can be a force for good and deliver “triple bottom line” results—delivering profits while also making positive impacts for our environment and our society. To earn the credential, XPLANE was certified by the non-profit B Lab for meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We were evaluated on how our practices impact our employees, our community, the environment, and our customers.
Did you know that if Wal-Mart were a country, its GDP would be larger than 157 of our world’s nations? Dozens of Fortune 500 companies are larger than the GDP of many nations, and the Global 2000 accounts for over $38 Trillion in annual revenue, nearly half of the Gross World Product. Do you want to change the world? Well, changing the world of business is clearly the place to start. Business, as a force of change around the globe, is more concentrated, and more impactful, than at any time before us in history.