Ian & JP have hit the realisation that this is the last "full" episode of the season and are joined by Scott Robertson from SQWYZ consulting to talk about how strategy and transformation are two sides of the same coin. JP has caught up with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universal) by watching Black Widow and discuss why a Disney+ podcast deal hasn't been made yet, Ian has finally gets his gates up by sacrificing his trip to Wimbledon and Scott is planning to go on a UK holiday in the South West whilst avoiding the chaos that is the M5. The trio jump into the conversation around aligning leadership and some of the "wasp nests" that can create, discuss how strategy & transformation are ultimately interwoven and round off talking around examples of offensive and defensive disruption strategies.
Ian Kingstone 0:00
Well, what you having then Jonathan?
Jonathan Parnaby 0:05
a pint please mate
Ian Kingstone 0:06
two points please landlord.
Jonathan Parnaby 0:08
So Ian, where's our audience sitting
Ian Kingstone 0:10
there over there sat at that table over there?
Jonathan Parnaby 0:13
Oh, yeah, I can see them. Okay, well, before we go over there, what we're going to tell them,
Ian Kingstone 0:18
we're just gonna tell them it's a relaxed environment where we can discuss, you know, all stuff around business transformation.
Jonathan Parnaby 0:23
Okay, cool. So who's actually over there who have we got
Ian Kingstone 0:27
some executives, some professionals, a few consultants.
Jonathan Parnaby 0:33
Cool, fantastic. Well, let's crack on lets get over there
Ian Kingstone 0:35
Welcome to the Beer & Butterfly
Jonathan Parnaby 0:37
A podcast where we talk transformation.
Ian Kingstone 1:03
I'm Ian Kingstone.
Jonathan Parnaby 1:05
and I'm Jonathan Parnaby.
Ian Kingstone 1:06
And we're your hosts.
Jonathan Parnaby 1:08
In today's episode, we talk about strategic leadership.
Jonathan Parnaby 1:11
It's the final episode of season two in we've pretty much made the the finish line and we are joined with Scott Robertson from SQWYZ consulting. So welcome Scott, to the episode.
Scott Robertson 1:23
Thanks, JP, hi Ian how are you?
Ian Kingstone 1:26
Fine. Thank you. Well, I kind of had a busy old day, but recovering quickly.
Jonathan Parnaby 1:33
Yeah, so I think before we kind of launch into anything, Scott, you want to just give our listeners a bit of an introduction on who you are., what SQWYZ consulting is and yeah, yeah.
Scott Robertson 1:45
So Scott Robertson. So I've been doing sort of big projects, programmes and transformations for 20 plus years. A lot of that in the sort of retail sphere. But more recently, doing a couple of years worth of contracting and currently working with the UK is largest builders merchant on a on a nice transformation piece.
Jonathan Parnaby 2:09
Brilliant. It's great to have you on the show. And yeah, we we've kind of formally met mean & you didn't we last year, during the, I'll say the COVID years, we're still in the COVID years, but But during that whole kind of heightened part of the pandemic, and he has been great to, to network with you. Over over that time, I think definitely helped me out in that kind of lull period that most of were facing in contracting and, and yeah, it's just great to get you on the show. So yeah, thanks for your time.
Scott Robertson 2:42
Great to be here
Jonathan Parnaby 2:43
Good stuff. So that's first what we always do, Scott, is that we were running a pop quiz. It's hopefully famous now. It's kind of sort of famous. But yeah, we we've been running a pop quiz for the whole of season two. So last week's question was a cocktail related question. So I'm going to pitch your knowledge here. And what are the two main ingredients of a dark and stormy cocktail?
Scott Robertson 3:10
Oh do you know what that's my absolute favourite cocktail.
Jonathan Parnaby 3:13
Oh, really? Is it? Yeah.
Scott Robertson 3:16
It's a rum and lime. Basically. It's a very specific run as well as it's all what is the label number six or something but its basis, its Rum and lime.
Jonathan Parnaby 3:31
I've got dark rum and ginger beer. But then that is from wikipedia
Scott Robertson 3:35
Yeah, you're right. there is a lot of lime in there as well, I don't worry about the ginger beer. I just go dark run and lime. No, you're right. It's ginger beer. But I think it's something like four measures of rum, three measures of ginger beer and one measure of lime or something like that.
Jonathan Parnaby 3:53
That sounds refreshing.
Scott Robertson 3:57
Jonathan Parnaby 3:58
It's dark and stormy I reckon
Scott Robertson 4:00
Yeah. I can't believe I forgot ginger beer.
Jonathan Parnaby 4:05
I've thought I've got to correct him. But then I'm now trusting my my sources, this general knowledge quiz website. Which, you know, is it a credible source for this or not? Who knows? But they get that what are the odds are the odds thats a cocktail you drink because I couldn't think what it was?
Ian Kingstone 4:21
Well, the odds you'd pick that question for this particular episode.
Jonathan Parnaby 4:25
I was like it was planned, but honestly, it really wasn't
Scott Robertson 4:29
It's my favourite one. And I forget to include ginger beer in the ingrediants say two or three. But trust me, there's a lot of lime in it. Yeah.
Jonathan Parnaby 4:39
It's very limey. So good stuff. There we go. So what we've been up to. I think for me, I'll kick off but not a lot. Since the last episode, I had a pretty chilled weekend. I managed to watch the new Marvel film Black Widow with the kids and we sat down and watched that on Sunday, which was good fun, Scott we will probably bore you if you hate like Marvel films or any action kind of films like that. We're always talking about them so I apologise if you do but we yeah we pretty much enjoyed it as good fun. And then yes catching upon on the usual TV still watching Loki Ian.
Ian Kingstone 5:22
I haven't. I've missed I've missed last couple actually cuz I've been I'll tell you what I've been doing in a minute but but um yeah, and I've missed the Black Widow so that's on my list now I've just written it down.
Jonathan Parnaby 5:35
Well, it's out on Disney+ Premiere Access so you got to pay for it but obviously cinema resume that's probably why I haven't watched
Scott Robertson 5:43
Do you get paid for plugging that? Disney+ Premier Access
Jonathan Parnaby 5:50
I wish I wish we had sponsorship. But no, it's it's neat
Ian Kingstone 5:55
Disney if you're listening please
Jonathan Parnaby 5:58
we'd love one more plug all your your product we do anyway.
Ian Kingstone 6:02
Yeah. They don't need to sponsors they get the plug naturally.
Jonathan Parnaby 6:07
That's true. Like you know when you think about it, now you take the kids to cinema or you take your whole family to the cinema it's not cheap as time to go raiding the sweets and popcorn you know, it's probably like 50 odd quid I haven't changed that.
Scott Robertson 6:22
Thats just the sweets.
Jonathan Parnaby 6:24
It's Yeah, that's sweet. And then you got the tickets on top of that and so you know, so we just did the old Disney+thing a lot cheaper and go watch it as many times as you like so there we go. That's me. I've got nothing else to add that's inherently exciting. So apologies about you Ian.
Ian Kingstone 6:43
Well, I've got my gates up got me adamantium gates up. It took me way longer than I thought it would take. Aditya ended up that was supposed to go to Wimbledon for a day and with the recall back one episode. Yes, I've got some Wimbledon tickets. And I didn't get to Wimbledon. I put my gates up and sent my daughter to Wimbledon with my wife. So she didn't go on her own. But But yeah, I just I've been to him before so I I decided right. I've got a day off booked. So I'm gonna get further on my gates. And guess what? I had to take another get day off to get them done. So yeah, boring story, really. But my adamantium gates her up. Which was a major thing for me because I've never worked with metal in that way. So major DIY. And I started watching Iron Fist. Marvel.
Jonathan Parnaby 7:35
Oh, God, it says Marvel again.
Ian Kingstone 7:38
So I've started watching that quite enjoying that. And the only other thing I've got to mention, which I've got to deal with tonight, actually, is I've been dealing with wasps nest around my house. So as soon as I get off this call, I've got to go and try and I've got this destroyer foam. Gonna go and destroy wasps nest with an I'm gonna put coat on and gloves. Yeah, and like some kind of monster in the back garden. And it's not too hot, but it is hot. hotter than it has been. So yeah.
Scott Robertson 8:16
Did you say this is this is the last episode of the season, isn't it?
Ian Kingstone 8:19
Yeah, you'll never knowuntil next season, baby and I'm not here. So
Jonathan Parnaby 8:27
Whether the wasps nest have won, wasps nest 1 Ian 0
Ian Kingstone 8:31
not working. But Scott, I'm sure you must have something more interesting than films wasps nest scape.
Scott Robertson 8:39
As you're talking before about Marvel i'm not i'm not a massive Marvel fan. But recently I've been watching. Just started watching Doom patrol, which I know is not marvel with the police. That's DC that's been quite good. I'm not I'm not a big superhero fan I find the the Marvel stuff has gone a little bit samey over the last couple of years. I like the Iron Man and Spider Man when it first came out back in the day. Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm just gonna basically put you off me now.
Jonathan Parnaby 9:10
Eject him from the call
Scott Robertson 9:11
Yeah, but I just find the more recent ones adopting not being particularly great. They're a bit samey looking forward to backward Oh, that should be quite good. But we are going on holiday that weekend. Going down to Dorset. So we were my wife wanted to go to Devon and Cornwall but I was like, with lockdown coming out, you know, first few weeks of the school summer holidays trying to go down to Devon and Cornwall on a Saturday is just completely out of the question. So I've chosen Dorset as as a happy kind of medium. So yeah, that's that's the plans. So last couple of days of work, tidy things up and then a week hopefully in the sun, but you know what the British weather is like?
Jonathan Parnaby 9:55
Yeah, my we were in for a pretty cracker this weekend aren't we, well I say we are the forecasts were in for a cracker for let's fingers crossed
Ian Kingstone 10:05
it so I did my lead at the wrong time. So I did them for a rainy weekend and where I could get bloody nothing done and trying to get power tools out and because it's raining, not good idea. And then the following weekend is going to be a cracker asked good because I got nothing to do this weekend except for get on the bike. So thats good
Jonathan Parnaby 10:25
the high 20s because we do a every year it's my daughter's birthday. Obviously, it's my daughter's birthday every year. But every year we go to Woolacombe, it's like a kind of traditional thing that we've been doing I've got forever. So there's only one year absolutely rained it down. But every every year, that's been the year has been brilliant
Ian Kingstone 10:46
You going to surf again Jonathan
Jonathan Parnaby 10:49
probably not taking the board, just because I've got a like a little mini barbecues down and every day, we parked right at the top of the kind of cliffy sand dune bit. And just the walk down from the car park to to the bit stretch of beach, which is kind of you know, a good walk away from that the centre of Woolacombe where there's just no one you literally have the whole beach to yourself, it's just a bit of a faff getting things back and from the car. So I
Ian Kingstone 11:17
I'll probably get a look at the sea and think ooh
Jonathan Parnaby 11:20
Got again in that. Yeah, no, but it'd be good. You know, it's been a while since we've done a day at the beach. So yeah, I'm looking forward to that. Should we get on with it?
Ian Kingstone 11:29
Jonathan Parnaby 11:30
let's do it. Good. So let's get on to the meat of the episode then as we've said it's really all around strategic leadership in relation to business transformation. So I thought what we could do is just have a general conversation around different topics of our strategy and how that aligns to transformation. And obviously, we've your experience got to be good to kind of get your opinions and thoughts on a few of these as well as we'll just chip in. So I think the first kind of topic that I had was around the importance of aligning leadership, when we when businesses organisations are doing transformation. So I suppose what do you think is important when aligning leadership and transformation? It's an open question.
Scott Robertson 11:37
It's a bit of a wasps nest if i'm honest aligning leadership, it's is a bit like herding cats. This is definitely more wasps nest, because trying to get leadership to align, you know, leadership can hurt you professionally, if you don't do it, right. Because obviously, they hold a lot of power. So I think aligning leadership is really, really tricky. You know, my experiences, you kind of got, if you don't have that top down strategy, you know, you'll end up with leaders who will try to do their own thing. And they'll have their own motivations. So you know, you look at sales, people that are targeted on sales, you look at logistics people, they'll be targeted on cost and different KPIs. So for me, the key one is how do you actually incentivize leadership to align to the same objectives? So that's, that's really difficult. And unless you got somebody right at the very top, who saying, actually, transformation is part of our strategy. And these are our transformational strategic outcomes, and you align what people are targeted to do to those. If you don't do that you won't get get the desired outcome. So that that'd be the key one. For me. It's just that how do you how do you understand what motivates people? How do you incentivize them? And how do you get that aligned across across the leadership team?
Ian Kingstone 13:49
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think it's the one of the most important things as well, is to get that alignment, because I think that's where I've seen things go wrong. One thing I will just just just bring out there that you mentioned that, you know, probably won't help your career if you don't get them aligned. But I've seen in lots of transformations, a lot of leadership careers been ruined by not being aligned, and not being, you know, because they, they, they didn't get it or didn't get involved with something that was really important. And because of that something's failed. And therefore, everybody looks at the leadership on why it's failed. So So, you know, I've seen that a bit which is, which is should be a good enough incentive in itself, but it doesn't work that way often, and I agree, do you need do you need to kind of, I think there's, I think there's several elements you need to do to try to do to get leadership alignment in place. I think, you know, you need to get them on the same page. You need to get them to agree. You need to try and get their mindsets into why it's good for the stakeholders and them the stakeholders as well. And what those transformations I agree with the strategy piece, totally, if you can align transformation with the strategy, and it's coming from the top of the organisation, or the board of the organisation, the owners of the organisation, then then that's, that's, that's brilliant, and that that should help a lot. But I think there's continuous work that needs to go from any transformation, initiative, group programme, whatever you want to call it, to keep engaging with that leadership in a way that keeps them aligned, as well as they should be engaging with that transformation initiative to make sure it's successful.
Jonathan Parnaby 15:35
And not just been there the beginning to kick it off and working out, you know, this is the value of it, we should be doing this transformation, rah rah rah, but also in that continuous capacity, then Ian as it's motion, as it's carrying on, because that's what I find is, you think you are getting them aligned, sometimes at the beginning, he did get the thing launched. But, you know, as these transformation programmes Go on, sometimes, you know, they're quite lengthy programmes of work that happen, and and also things change at the top. There's, you know, people, people switch out some people switch in, it's not always the same set of leadership that you had, when you start, it's that some of the challenges I think you can face, right?
Scott Robertson 16:18
Yeah, I think I think that's, you know, that's to do partly with the length of time it takes as well, because projects, typically, you know, there might be anywhere between three and 12 months, for example, a big transformation is over a number of years. So, you're right, the leadership will change over that time. Yeah, the context within which the transformation is going on changes. Yeah. competitors are doing things? consumers do different things, things like COVID? Come in. So I think there's that constant revisiting the strategy in tweaking it as well, and making sure people are continually aligned. And actually, if it's not working, how do you change it?
Jonathan Parnaby 16:53
Ian Kingstone 16:55
So it comes down to building that right strategy, it comes around to engaging with the leadership and, and in the way in which it's in leadership, engage in that transformation, where it's coming from, who the sponsor is, how you keep that engagement, how you keep reviewing that strategy, how you keep moving that forward? I think, and I've certainly seen, and I think both both of you guys have as well, you know, when leadership changed, for various reasons, you know, it's like, it's like that team thing, isn't it where different people come into the team, you've kind of got to rebuild it, that storming and norming, or whatever they call it, you know, that kind of, you've got to kind of reshape that motivation, that alignment has probably got to be reshaped, and it might change. But that's okay. If you if we, if a mechanism can be put in place then to review that strategy. And it was reshaped and people are clear on on the direction to travel, I guess.
Jonathan Parnaby 17:51
Yeah, I've been on the other end of the well, that the page or thought or whatever, when I was the Change Manager once, and we were putting in a large ERP solution, and we had what was thought, an aligned, you know, lead leadership across, so the exec and it got to the point where some new blood had come in and switched out some of the old and I remember going up to the Midlands, driving all the way up there with a couple of members of the team and, you know, kind of head and the Executive of that line of business was kind of like, I don't want this in my business. I don't want this ERP in and not having it. And he was like, you can talk all you want, but it's not happening. And it's one of them really awful situations where driven up and "great". The strategy or the alignments just been adapted. And it's completely
Ian Kingstone 18:46
that's where the sponsor comes in. Right? I mean, in my mind, if you've got the right senior sponsor, ideally, the CEO or whatever it depending on what it is, but um, or your steering, or however, you've got that governance process, you've got to use that then you've got a stakeholder that's not in the right place, or you've got somebody doesn't want it for whatever reasons, and might have really valid reasons as well. Yeah. So So you've got to work that that group, and that's what leadership should be doing is helping align stakeholders stakeholder management, really?
Scott Robertson 19:22
Yeah. And I think that's the thing that the big transformations, if you don't incentivize people to complete the transformation, they will just do what they do to hit their numbers, whatever their numbers are, because typically a transformation because it is over multiple years. It makes it difficult to realise the benefits and the value within a single year. So yeah, what I found is typically, the strategy and the transformation tend to be two separate things. So you'll get all the sort of senior leadership within a company to come up with a strategy come up with a budget, if you like in terms of the numbers for next year. The growth targets for next year. The next thing is in how are we going to achieve that and people started to talk about what's the transformation that's involved. And the two are done as two separate exercises, the numbers have been agreed before the transformation has been agreed. And what you end up with then is people say, okay, go do this transformation. And when they learn about what the cost is, what you know how difficult it's going to be, it becomes almost impossible to deliver the numbers. People don't want to take ownership of the transformation. Or if they, if they do start to do the transformation, then they realise that the numbers won't work, they'll put the transformation to one side and just focus on the numbers, because that's what they're targeted on. So you've almost got to do the two things hand in hand. Yeah,
Ian Kingstone 20:38
yeah, I totally agree. And I've done tried to do that as well. And, you know, if you can bake the transformation numbers and KPIs into then the way of working into the budgets into the way forward into the way people are getting measured, if you want, great, because that's the way to do it. And they should be baking them in as the owner of those those things anyway, because they're the ones that can achieve them if they're getting measured on them. If that makes any sense. So so. And I've, I've done that a lot of taking benefits case, baked into budgets, but you still have those challenges. Typical one is the sales team. It's really simple. One example to use is cross sell upsell sales team, you know, they were going to cross sell and upsell anyway, potentially, they could the salesman can cross sell, and upsell without a CRM system, for example, so CRM systems, part of the transformation or something. But it's not as it is, the process is not just the system and, and you can kind of get into this whole piece about well, here, but we were going to make those, you put a numbers up on sales. But we were going to make those numbers anyway. And it's well, it doesn't matter. If you've done the transformation, you're following the things that it's the numbers go up, you hit your targets, we're all happy, right? We've, but you get that. And you get that. And then you get since certainly in large global organisations, situations where I call it double dipping, people don't like that, but that we're double counting is is, you know, happens on value. And because people have put target numbers out, and then this transformation comes in and says, we're going to improve it by this, well, actually, you're not necessarily you've double counted it, because they were looking for the shift in their numbers anyway, in their budgets. For whatever reason,
Scott Robertson 22:33
it's really hard with transformations to apportion specific elements of the transformation or specific benefits to specific transformations, because transformations are so far reaching, so long term, you know, saying this is going to add 10% of my sales, there are so many other factors that impacts the ability to deliver 10% of sales, you know, some of those at the end internal some of those will be external, you know, it becomes I, it's a bit of a folly, sometimes you've got to be able to track the benefits. But yeah, yeah, it's really difficult to be precise about the causes of benefits sometimes, especially when you've got multiple initiatives trying to impact the same metric.
Jonathan Parnaby 23:16
Yeah it becomes a cottage industry
Ian Kingstone 23:19
No, it does. It does. And it can cause a lot of, you know, a lot of challenges, but at the same time, if you're not measuring, yeah, something, how do you know you got there? Yeah, how do you know, yeah, achieved the transformation, if you've got nothing to measure? Do you see what I mean? So So at the end of the day, I'm not just talking about revenue, or sales or whatever, but but anything, you know, you've got to have some form of, of, of how do you know you've achieved something, and it could be as simple as the customer is a lot happier. Because, or they're buying more, or there's, it's easier for them to, you know, some kind of survey or whatever it is. But but but you've got to have something that you can quantify that you've got to where you wanted to be or what you were trying to transform to, to to save achieved it. Otherwise, how do you know when you're not making it? Had you improved? In that you had you realise that actually what you're doing isn't working?
Scott Robertson 24:13
Yeah. And actually, I think this is a really important part of aligning leadership, because a lot of those things are dependent on cross functional changes. So for example, it might be the sourcing, people have to do something, the logistics, people have to do something, you know, the, the retail teams have to do something. And the econ teams have to do something here in a sort of retail world. And you almost need to build in those leading indicators as well, because it's not just sales at the end is what are those things along that value chain that indicate that they are all contributing towards that end metric as well? Because then you can work out actually, I know that the logistics director has to do this thing, and that he's proving he's done that thing that it's on to the next person to prove they can do their thing. So I think I think that's important when we're talking about aligning leadership is how do you make sure that the KPIs and the transformation is joined up across the board? Because then you can pinpoint those areas where that transformation isn't happening, whether that's, you know, putting in a new system, or whether it's actually driving those operational improvements and those changes to process that actually add the value.
Ian Kingstone 25:20
Yeah, yeah, no, I agree. I agree. So cool, there's a lot to do.
Jonathan Parnaby 25:27
It's a big area isn't it
Ian Kingstone 25:29
it is snowing, it is so important. And it's the mindset thing, actually, the whole conversation we've just had, it's that mindset thing of organisations to run an organisation are built around some pretty well been built around management structures, and, you know, accounting principle and things that were there to be able to measure and control and, and do things. And when you're transforming, you need a different set of skills to because you're, you're not running, you're changing, you're transforming, you're taking people out of that comfort management structure into a new one, if you want. And, and, and I think that's the other thing. And again, leadership needs to play a role in that it needs to understand that and have the right mindset. And especially if you're doing something that, you know, you might need to fail a couple of times before you get the end result you're really looking for. And it can be it can be Yeah, it can be a challenge, different mindset for leadership to have, you know, if they came into their leadership role from a very structured management type approach. It's transformational leadership, I think is probably slightly different than just running a company, if that makes sense.
Scott Robertson 26:41
I think Yeah, no, I think you're absolutely right. It's a bit like when you look at projects, often, what will happen is someone who's good at their job, is going to be good at being a project manager so they can get, they can just go and do manage a project. They're good at managing stuff, or they basically are good at doing the numbers. So therefore, they'll be good to go and run a project. And yeah, often those types of projects that are quite difficult, because the project management isn't necessarily the hardest thing in the world. But there is a very specific set of skills that you need to do it sound like Liam Neeson now don't I?
Jonathan Parnaby 27:21
Can you do the accent now
Scott Robertson 27:24
No absolutely not, but but I think it's funny, right? transformational leadership is very different from that kind of operational day to day, yeah, ship, as well. So it's not necessarily about they're not saying the right people to do it, but you got to give them the support to be able to do it, well, you got to help guide them through the process is not something that you just pick up on it, you know, it won't, won't come naturally. And typically, because they're higher up in the organisation, the stakes are much higher as well. And I think I think that's why often, people don't want to do it. Now. JP, your example of a, you know, head of business unit doesn't want to do ERP there is an element of fear of failure that
Ian Kingstone 28:01
just yeah, I totally agree with you on that. I know a lot of people don't a lot of, you know, they've done very well to get to where they are in their career and are quite happy. And then somebody drops transformation programme on their lap. And it's like, a nightmare.
Jonathan Parnaby 28:14
I don't I don't want that to tarnish my career thanks
Ian Kingstone 28:16
yeah, I do you see that though? That's very true. I've I've seen it.
Scott Robertson 28:21
I just want to deliver my 3% increase in sales this year. And I get my bonus. And you know, I can just keep ticking over. I'm used to this, I've done this before. That's how I've got where I am comfortable that, you know, there's there's no fear there
Ian Kingstone 28:34
but I mean, I don't want to jump too far ahead. And hopefully we'll talk about disruption later on. But but they're going to get disrupted. In this day and age, there's very few industries that can sit comfortable, and just just deliver that next day. Next number. So you know, those people will end up doing a defensive disruption strategy because they're being disrupted before, then they've got to do something about it. Do you see what I mean? Whereas, you know, other companies might deal with a disruption a different way. We can jump into that if you want.
Jonathan Parnaby 29:10
Yeah freeform, let's just go where the conversation takes us. So what is what is a defensive disruption strategy and an offensive one, by for our listeners that might not understand that what, what is it
Ian Kingstone 29:22
I don't know whether I'm the encyclopaedia on it, but but I will give it a go. I mean, from my point of view, my preference would be that an organisation is offensive, i.e. it's disrupting rather than being disrupted. It's, it's looking, it's looking for innovation, not just in products, but in the market in how it goes to market or, you know, looking for new value, not just old value, if you want for its customers is helping its customers find new value in in what they need and that type of thing. So I put offensive in that Innovation, constantly hunting new value for all its stakeholders, not just itself, but for its customers, its employees, and so on and so forth. So starting, it's more disruptive. It's it's an offensive strategy to disruption in my mind is, is an organisation that's really innovating and leading the field and or trying to and thinking about how it changes things before somebody else does, so to speak on the offence, whereas disrupt defensive is the opposite of that, in my mind is somebody who's come along and started taking the market share or whatever, and doing things differently. And, and now you got to defend against that. And this way, you can buy them out for a start if you're big enough and rich enough, but But did you not I mean, it's just, that's a different strategy, I think. Whereas I think if offensive strategy, you've got to be quite agile, you've got to be innovative, you've got to be creative, you've got to be constantly thinking ahead, you've got to be trying things and impossibly failing things sometimes and not worrying about it. Whereas defensive is, in my mind, you know, what's coming at you. So now you're defending against it, you're pushing back against it with whatever controls you have in that marketplace. I think, personally defensive is a quick way to the bottom. But that's just my view.
Scott Robertson 31:27
I think I think it is, but I think it depends where you are at the moment. Yeah, so some, I think sometimes you look at a lot of organisations, and they've potentially been overly offensive. So the way I think about if you want to be offensive, you got to be really good at what you do at your core, you know, you generally speaking, you got to be pretty good at what you do at your core, because you've got a strong central position, and you can start to build out that's so you look at companies like Amazon, see, they they've just gradually built out their core and gone on the offensive and, you know, got into more and more areas, they they bought companies, they've learned about like customers, they know how to go out and do things better than their competitors do. But sometimes they bring their competitors in to sell on there platform. And then they basically just pillaged those customers, because they learn all about them and bring out competitive products. I think being defensive, I think you're right, I think sometimes if you've been overly offensive, you lose sight of what you're good at. And you end up being disrupted, and you almost have to take a defensive position. And for a lot of companies, you know, they've got an a merges and acquisitions process. Yeah, they've worked actually I've not, I've not delivered the synergies I expected to not delivered cost savings and efficiencies, I've forgotten what, you know, I, you know, who my core customer is, and they end up being disruptive, and then they have to start shrinking against that's, that's almost that defensive strategy is, you know, I then start to sell off those businesses that I you know, are not are not part of the core, either they're not, they're not part of the customer that I or they're not they don't appeal to the customer that sits at my core, or they're not as profitable as they could be. So yeah, I think it's about there's almost a I need to take a defence, get my ship back in order and then I can take a more offensive position. You're right, you're right, Ian it's, it's often it's a way, but I look at Burberry, as somebody who took a very defensive strategy, whenever it was 15 years ago, where, you know, you and I was, you know, Burberry was like in terms of brand position, whereas this, you know, chav central, you know, they basically calf a load of their distributors, who were basically selling the products to people who they didn't want the products to go to, they shrunk it. And then they came back really strong in a really offensive position. So really then built out to appeal to their core customers. So I think Burberry have kind of gone through that successful process of being defensive and then going back on the offense
Scott Robertson 34:08
It's interesting, you say that you sometimes need a mixed bag, you probably sometimes need a mix, but actually what you've said there, which I think is absolutely spot on is is it's timings, it's it's about it's about strategically thinking about which way to go about it and when and what to do in that respect. Which comes back strategy comes back to transformation strategy, it's kind of a nice loop round, but but
Scott Robertson 34:36
Can you can you imagine the conversations in the Burberry team, when they're saying we're going to cut off all of this distribution and the sales directors kind of saying, Well, how am I going to hit my numbers? So the imagine the alignment is going to be needed in a company like Burberry to actually do that kind of defensive strategy. More so alignment? Yeah, probably more so alignment required on a defensive strategy than an offer. strategy?
Jonathan Parnaby 35:00
Yeah, we're going against what we've been doing for a long time, like, Why Why are we shrinking when we should be growing? But actually, like you right is to go back to the core
Scott Robertson 35:10
Can you imagine the shareholders, the shareholders saying, shrink by, you know, whatever 20,30 & 40% over the next few years
Ian Kingstone 35:19
comes down to, again, comes back to strong leadership, isn't it at the top, comes back to real strong transformational leadership, you know, and the ability to deliver on that. And yeah, I don't know how that played out, they obviously did it very well, but they probably went through a couple of leaders to do it, maybe, I don't know,
Jonathan Parnaby 35:40
I think the point I was like, if you're going to take an offensive or defensive strategies, that there's a level of maturity that needs to exist in the organisation to know that they need to do an offensive or defensive i.e, they know what the markets doing, they they've got the finger on the pulse, they, they know that disruption is coming down the track of you know, x, y, z or whatever. Because it's the companies that don't know, that it'scoming down the tracks, right?
Ian Kingstone 36:06
That's insight, research, knowledge, maybe a bit of gut instinct, that probably more more about looking at the way things are going, you know, having knowledge having insight, understanding markets, you know, it's a bigger, bigger gameplay than just looking internally, isn't it? You know, it's really understanding who your customers are, what is your core, and understanding what your core is, a lot of organisations I've worked for, didn't always know what their core was, you know, and then moving from one thing to the next, and not really grasping on to, to, and, And to me, that's defensive, that's moving with what what other people are doing, rather than maybe, maybe is getting tripping back to something that, you know, will come back later on.
Scott Robertson 36:51
Yeah, but I think as well, I don't think defensive is just reacting to what's happening now. Because sometimes, you know, you can look at the slightly longer term trends to see, you know, you look five years out, and, you know, five is out is a long time in modern business. But you can see if the stuff that you're doing now is going to be impacted by by what's happening, and therefore, you almost, you know, whether you don't take a defensive or an offensive strategy is up to you. But you can see if there is disruption coming in your industry, then you need to do something about it now, yeah, that's offensive or defensive, will, will completely dependent on on where you are. So you know, it depends on how much cash you've got, you know, if you if, if the organisation that you're in is kind of stagnant already, it's very difficult to muster up lots of cash to try and go on an offensive strategy. But a defensive strategy is normally a cost saving process. So therefore, you can take money out of the bits that are not generating as much profit and put it into the bits that are generating more profit. So yeah, I think you can still look long term and still take a defensive position. It's kind of you know, preparing for winter, almost, yeah, rather than, rather than us, there's a sudden blizzard, and you don't know what to do. So I think I think it's just knowing, you know, and you do have to look external, you do have to have people who kind of understand long term trends, you do need people who can think a little bit outside of the box in a bit, I suppose disconnected from the day to day, and the current thinking, which again, comes back to a lot of leaders, they're very much in the operations. So that's why you see a lot of organisations now have transformation, Chief Transformation Officers or Chief Strategy Officers to try and think a bit further out.
Ian Kingstone 38:44
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And some of these roles were around, they weren't called transformation, but they were, you know, strategic. In large corporates. For many years, there's been, you know, strategy elements of the organisation, people who are there just looking forward, looking at markets, looking at products, looking at innovations, and all of those types of things.
Scott Robertson 39:06
But I would counter that, because I think a lot of them were actually just looking at how do I take what I'm doing into a into a new geography? Or how do I just create a new port? So that's more that's not necessarily transformational? So I think
Jonathan Parnaby 39:22
Scaling isn't it?
Scott Robertson 39:22
Yeah, I think yeah, I think you're right. I think it's more around scaling. So strategy was often around.
Ian Kingstone 39:27
Scott Robertson 39:29
I think now it's a bit more disruptive. So therefore, you need people who can kind of think slightly differently,
Ian Kingstone 39:35
yet howl at the moon, and all that kind of stuff.
Jonathan Parnaby 39:41
Thing is we've all seen it. We've all got these tangible examples. Now. You know, the Netflix's the the Ubers. This, obviously, are the obvious ones. But yeah, I think it's everyone kind of asked that question is like, what was the next, you know, Uber in my industry, or what's the next thing that's gonna happen here? But yeah, it's I think it's in the forefront of a lot more people's minds than ever has been.
Ian Kingstone 40:04
Yeah. And sometimes I think about, you know, how do these things come about? And how do people drive that. And it's quite often the market that's driving or the consumer that's driving it. But But technology is a major one major disrupter in this day and age, certainly right now. And it's happening so quickly, as well. So you know, where we say it can take two or three years to transform something, technology is moving at a quicker pace than that. So you can't by the time you've set your strategy out, it's all changed by the time you delivered it. So you have to have a much quicker mechanism in which to, to start, you know, your, your whole transformational kind of strategy is running at a much quicker speed than it was 10 years or 15 years ago.
Scott Robertson 40:48
Yeah. And this is I go back to the original point on, you know, people that you leadership teams who do strategy, then they'll do a transformation plan that the same thing these days
Ian Kingstone 40:58
Scott Robertson 40:58
And, and it's not a once a year activity, or in some businesses, it might be once every three years, you know, I set my strategy out. And then we often do something
Ian Kingstone 41:06
Or a five years, how many times have we seen the five year strategy?
Scott Robertson 41:12
I actually think it's okay to have a five year strategy, having an operational plan is much, you know, how am I going to deliver that you got you? So, the moment I'm, you know, I'll be looking at a sort of four year plan of what we want to do I know that's going to change, probably six months in, it's going to change priorities are going to change. But it's how do you make sure you understand where you're going, but you're equally you are reviewing it, at least every three months, you know, you got a finger on the pulse. You kind of adjusting things like okay, this thing is no longer relevant. My customer doesn't care about it. Or actually there's there's this other thing that is coming from left field, how are we going to react to that? What are the things that we need to do? So I think it's making sure that it's a it's a frequency, cyclical process can join between strategy and transformation rather than as a strategy. And then we do some projects to try and deliver it. And then at the end of it
Jonathan Parnaby 42:05
Did it work ha ha
Ian Kingstone 42:07
Yeah, I should say that the three month thing, because I remember back 20 odd years ago, and I was working for a large American company, and we used to have quarterly reviews. And so every three months have a review. The quarterly review then was was about reviewing where you are not reviewing strategy or anything, it was about reviewing the numbers and just checking things. And then you think about how that's changed in the last 20 years, where you should have the numbers at your fingertips, you can see them every you don't have to do a heap of work ready for quarterly review to understand the numbers, you should know them all the time, the eerything is real time should be and so on so forth. Technologies kind of seem to that. So I think, but but what what's going through my mind, then when you were just talking is we need that Quarterly Review back, but it's different type of review, is the strategic planning, kind of transformational kind of planning quarterly review process that, that that and that just falls straight into the more agile way of working and that type more kind of lean, agile type of approach to, to how you deliver transformation.
Scott Robertson 43:10
Yeah, I was gonna I was gonna say it ties into things like OKR's really well, because OKR's, you know, I set a three month timeline of what I want to achieve in terms of those objectives and key results. And then at the end of it, I've either done it, or I haven't, and I don't, I don't necessarily know what the next set of OKR's are going to be. I've got it, I've got a good idea. So I might say I want to increase sales by 20%, this quarter, then another 10%, the quarter after that, but if we get to the end of the first quarter ends is not quite right, I might decide to change it. So it's kind of understanding where you're going but constantly changing, you know, course correcting along the way.
Jonathan Parnaby 43:45
Not being rigid
Scott Robertson 43:46
Yeah, and you know, to your point earlier, you got to make sure you are measuring stuff, but sometimes use it as an indicator rather than the be all and end all. Yeah,
Ian Kingstone 43:57
yeah. And continuous transformation. Therefore, you should be continually transforming. Which comes back to another point that I raise a lot lately in my kind advisory and consulting kind of role is that, you know, you need to build the capabilities, those transformation capabilities, we talked a bit about it earlier, like having leaders leadership that have got those types of qualities and what what they are, but right the way across your organisation, those capabilities actually needs to become the norm. Because it's going to be continuous. It's not something you put on for three years. And then they it's not, it isn't, even though you might deal with some of these elements in programmes or portfolios or projects or whatever. And so they're kind of set pieces so to speak. And they some of the capabilities in your organisation need to always be there. They might move from initiatives or whatever but but they should. Those capabilities need to be built into, you know, that's what we should be teaching in universities. Hopefully we are but do you know what I mean, it's that kind of thing, isn't it? It's Yes.
Scott Robertson 45:05
And I think as well it's it's not just at the top of the organisation, it's all the way down is a surefire way to kill a strategy is just to have this big number at the top where just the director of that area is responsible for delivering it. And they control all the all of the moving parts underneath. So what you end up with is, is you don't give the people at the coalface the accountability to deliver their bit, define their bit their contribution to the overall strategy. Yeah, how do you make sure other people you know, know, the business, they're the people who know the things that are gonna make the difference? Not necessarily a transformational level, but those kind of continuous improvement levels? And it's how'd you how'd you get that blend of setting the big picture at the top, but also pushing that accountability down the chain so that they can make changes as well? to drive those benefits
Jonathan Parnaby 45:58
to the transformation. In the end, they're the people that are going to, you know, I say, drive it forward, aren't they? And they're the people you need to get on board to do that. So very, very important.
Ian Kingstone 46:08
But that XLR8 that yes, the last book that John Kotter, well I presume it's his last book unless he has written another one, I've missed it. But it was all about that. And I think that spot on to what you were just saying there about building that capabilities, from top to bottom of the organisation that that an ability to transform across cross cross that peace and, and a pace really, as well, but but building in steady league into the organisation, maturing of the organisation in that way.
Scott Robertson 46:40
Yeah. And as well, I think it is, it's like communication, constant communication of what the strategy is, what we're doing, what how we're doing against it, what's changing, because again, you get to that point where people are used to being told what the strategy is involved in it, told what the strategy is once a year, and then it all goes quiet. Tumble weed moment
Ian Kingstone 47:01
it's understanding why it's changed as well as in it because I can sit there and maybe this would be the wrong way to react is not very good mindset that I could could sit there and say, Oh, well, another strategies come out, I was changed, again, is understanding why it's changing and to get behind it. It's it's, it's showing the value to all its is giving value. And it's letting people understand the why the right the way across the organisation as well. Just so they so they can be part of making it happen. In my mind. And and and, you know, hopefully it's got some value in for them as well, to see what I mean, because I think some of the best transformations is where you've got quite a lot of value across a wide set of stakeholder groups.
Jonathan Parnaby 47:51
And it's meaningful for them and not like you say, Yeah,
Ian Kingstone 47:53
Jonathan Parnaby 47:55
That's what we're doing to get behind it, guys. Now, we're doing
Ian Kingstone 48:00
now next week, we change that. So nobody's got the motivation, there's got to be a why they've got to understand what the need for the change is and why it's changing. Why is it change on change? If that makes sense?
Scott Robertson 48:12
Yeah. And it's involving people through I guess, defining what the change is, and defining those solutions. You know, it's that classic that the earlier you get people involved in the process, the more input you give them, then the more they'll take ownership for landing the change. mindset. Yeah, fairly straightforward. And again, you know, a lot the problem with strategy, it's done in a boardroom. And then it's just pushed down. Whereas actually, there needs to be kind of a bottom up and then a top down approach to strategy. So bottom up, let's get all the ideas together, why aren't things working? What can we do to change things? How do we assimilate that into an overall strategy and transformation plan? And then how do we communicate that back down and let people know how they can then contribute towards that based on the information he given you?
Ian Kingstone 48:57
Yeah, yeah, I agree. Cool. Cool. we've, we've flogged that one.
Jonathan Parnaby 49:02
Yeah. We kicked the tyres on that a little bit, didn't we? So just looking at the time, what is where's the time gone. I've generally enjoyed that. I think I've learned a few things along the way as well, which is good. But I suppose if we're going to summarise then, you know, our season theme is raising the bar. So how do we raise the bar in setting strategies for transformation? If we're going to summarise it? What's the quick tidbit that we can take away from this episode?
Scott Robertson 49:30
I reckon they are two halves of the same thing. Yeah. I think if you look at strategy without transformation and transformation, without strategy, you're doomed to failure. So consider them together, constantly review them.
Ian Kingstone 49:46
Yeah, I agree. And good leadership to make sure that that happens. right the way across the organisation.
Jonathan Parnaby 49:52
Perfect. Right. Well, thank you for that, Scott. Thanks. That's just Yeah, really good to talk to that strategic level, i dont' think we have done an episode that focused on that area. So it's just really good to explore that. So yeah, thank you very much.
Jonathan Parnaby 50:08
So I believe Scott, you have a pub quiz question for us that you
Scott Robertson 50:13
Jonathan Parnaby 50:13
throw into our legendary pub quiz, but we have no idea the hell the question is.
Ian Kingstone 50:18
So you come on to the the first time we have you on and you kind of know the answer. And Jonathan and I have not got one right the whole season. The whole season.
Jonathan Parnaby 50:32
When you're ready,
Scott Robertson 50:33
Here comes question. So what country has the highest density of tornadoes?
Ian Kingstone 50:40
Oh, now i'd straightaway go to America, USA. Yeah, that's straight way where I'd go cuz that's where you see the pictures of damage.
Jonathan Parnaby 50:49
And, and we've seen Twister.
Ian Kingstone 50:52
Yeah, we've seen we've watched the movies, Hollywood movies I might add. And then that makes me think that is a trick question.
Scott Robertson 51:05
Would I give you a trick question.
Ian Kingstone 51:07
Oh, I don't know. That would be the first thing that comes to my mind. And I've never, I don't know of now. I don't know. I've not heard of big tornadoes anywhere else. That's not to say that I'm sure they happen all over the world. But that yeah, that. Yeah, I'm gonna stick with
Jonathan Parnaby 51:28
us where my head went straightaway, but we'll find out next time. That's gonna bug me
Ian Kingstone 51:35
Jonathan Parnaby 51:37
Okay. Thank you very much. So, yeah, I think we're, we're gonna wrap up now. So, again, Scott, thank you for your time. It's been good to catch up with you in our virtual pub, in the Beer & Butterfly And yeah, really appreciate time joining us
Ian Kingstone 51:52
yeah, thank you for your time Scott
Scott Robertson 51:54
Thanks for having me. And have a great, great week next week.
Jonathan Parnaby 51:58
Scott Robertson 52:00
Praying for the British weather to hold out for 10 more days.
Jonathan Parnaby 52:06
Hopefully it's better than my camping weekend, but yeah. Thank you very much, Scott. To Scott. Thank you.
Ian Kingstone 52:20
So Jonathan's question time again, yet again. Yeah, we seem to get here quite quickly. These days. So well, we got another question, or did we do another poll?
Jonathan Parnaby 52:30
Yeah, yeah. We did a follow up poll, actually. Yeah, I thought we did. Yeah. So for the for those kind of listened last week, we talked about what are people's favourite part change management. And we we had I would say a close, AB kind of result out of that, where change execution was the one that kind of won out. So what we've done on our second poll is kind of explore, explored the change execution bit a bit further and kind of asked what elements of off chain execution do people find most important. And broke. We broke that down again into four. Thanks, LinkedIn.
Ian Kingstone 53:10
Yeah, we still don't know whether we do more than four
Jonathan Parnaby 53:12
Yeah, we still don't, we still didn't get the information where we can. So that was broken down into awareness and engagement, education and training, business readiness and business adoption. And this one was a flat out win business adoption, literally took a percentage 100%. Now 67%. So yes, it's still high. But again, I think it's one of them things it's a depends on what people have interpreted business adoption. So having revisited this poll recently, and I'm thinking that are people thinking business adoption, as in well, if you don't have business adoption, then where you got anything, which I get the point and the thing, if people have listened to our season one, and we've actually did an episode on each of these topics. Yeah. Yeah. The last thing is the last four, isn't it before the retro business adoption? In my eyes, we're kind of part of the change execution which follows your transition or go live. And therefore what activities are you're doing, or are doing to help realise value and adoption in the business of that change? So if that's what people thought, when they click that button, great, or whatever, they just thought in general terms what business adoption is really important. I don't know we'll never know we'll because it's just, it's just a bloody poll.
Ian Kingstone 53:14
I like these polls. So I think we should actually think we should do more of them. Alongside questions, but but I think they're quite useful because it's getting more engagement, which is something that I really think I'd like like more off makes me think. You know, we've had quite good engagement this season with guests and quests. from, from people and things, and then we need more, and we always want more, and we want to keep wanting more. But what it does is it makes this conversation for me ready? opens it up into areas that maybe I hadn't thought about. Yeah, because I'm not I'm not kicking it off. So it's kind of quite good to think around and maybe think about what we could do at the polls on. And then, you know, hopefully be surprised by some of the answers.
Jonathan Parnaby 55:27
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we just call bats change management on these these couple. But I agree, I think they're a great way of kind of engaging with them. And you know, there's always a way of getting more than four options is to use the emojis, which I might do.
Ian Kingstone 55:42
Yeah, yeah, I saw that done, actually on today. Actually, I did that. And it took me a minute to get to get my head around it. But then it was easy. Once I kind of have
Jonathan Parnaby 55:53
Yeah, people do it for engagement. That's why they do it. But anyway, yeah. It's like, well, I've clicked on the love heart. Whoo. But no, no, it's Yeah, we'll do some more. So I think again, we always pleeing and begging. First questions. Our our question barrel is always empty
Ian Kingstone 56:12
Well, yeah. And maybe turn that around, or would welcome anybody who's done a poll that they found quite interesting. record their answer to that poll. Yeah. And then Jonathan, I will have a chat about it. Yeah, bout that answer. Yeah, if you if anybody's done that, and fancy sending that in, we'd love to do that. Just you know, that the same quarter, record your questions, send them in, or just send them in if you don't want to record them? And we'll, we'll answer them for you.
Jonathan Parnaby 56:38
Yeah. And like earlier in the season, if you know, if you've got a question, sometimes we might do an episode on it.
Ian Kingstone 56:44
Yeah. No, that's brilliant. That was really? Yeah, it was really good. Such a good question it warranted an episode
Jonathan Parnaby 56:52
it was a debate. Wasn't it alive? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. wasn't a question. He she was a debate. And it's something that I don't even now thinking about it. To AS IS or not to AS IS, it's going back to it. Yeah, it's, it's such a good debate. So we'd like more of those, please.
Ian Kingstone 57:09
I know where I sit, and you do as well. But I still still don't know whether I'm right.
Jonathan Parnaby 57:14
Or not. I mean, I think about being right or wrong. That's the that's the beauty of a debate.
Ian Kingstone 57:18
It's about I agree. But when you've got when you've got a plan in a programme, you have to make a decision.
Jonathan Parnaby 57:24
And say, Well, one way or the other, or you form into a hive that has to do something. Anyway, we're getting back into that episode.
Ian Kingstone 57:32
Shows the quality of that question.
Jonathan Parnaby 57:33
Let's say that we will leave that on but no, business adoption wins out, right. I get I get why people pick that one. And yeah, it's important, right? And I think if we take in the context of change, and not finish at go live, then what people meant when they clicked it, and that gives me great comfort that 67% of people do find that an important part because it's all about embedding and sustaining. Yay. Yeah. Cool. Cool. All right. Well, we'll see on the next one.
Jonathan Parnaby 58:09
if you want to record a question for next time, just, you know, just record that questions. And it's a email@example.com because we love to get people's voices on this podcast, right? Yeah.
Ian Kingstone 58:21
Yeah, no, it's great. Sounds good.
Jonathan Parnaby 58:22
Great see you next time
Jonathan Parnaby 58:25
It's last orders at the bar. So thank you for listening to the Beer and Butterfly. As always, we want to encourage participation.
Ian Kingstone 58:32
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Jonathan Parnaby 58:45
You can get in touch with the show by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org, send us your questions written or recorded or come and join us at the table as a guest.
Ian Kingstone 58:56
Also, check out our LinkedIn page, Beer and Butterfly Podcast and on Twitter @butterfly_beer, where you can engage with the show directly and get involved.
Jonathan Parnaby 59:09
Yeah, and we look forward to seeing you at the table next time.