Steve Brown Show Notes Page
Steve Brown was unsure where to go next in his career. Being given the advice to follow his passions and do the thing that he loves, Steve started his own company, Possibility and Purpose. Today, Steve is doing the things he is most passionate about helping businesses understand how the technologies of today can lead to a better tomorrow.
Steve Brown was born in the UK, where he lived until he was 30, spending time near Nottingham, Oxford, and in Manchester, where he went to university. In 1997, he moved to the states, and he became a US citizen in 2008. He has one younger sister, and his parents are still together (and living in self-isolation!) after 54 years of marriage.
His dad started his career as a physics professor and dedicated his life to higher education. In 2008, his dad was awarded a C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace in 2008 in recognition of his lifetime service to education. Back in the ’70s, when Steve was a kid, computers were a rarity. His dad, a university physics professor at the time, would bring computers home from work, and Steve quickly became fascinated with them. Even at a young age, he could imagine their future potential, and he decided to focus his career on the computing industry.
Steve earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Microelectronics System Engineering from the University of Manchester and embarked on a 30-year career with Intel Corporation. His eclectic Intel career spanned everything from engineering and manufacturing to marketing, communications, and management. His career goal was to develop as broad a set of skills as possible by taking on a wide range of roles.
Most of the jobs he took were forward-looking, and he spent half of his career in strategic planning roles of one kind or another. Steve rose to become Intel’s chief evangelist and one of Intel’s two futurists, responsible for helping to build Intel’s long-range strategic plans.
Now, as an independent futurist, Steve advises organizations around the world on how technology will reshape their businesses in the coming years. He works with a range of industries but specializes in the future of healthcare and manufacturing.
Inspired by his father’s career, Steve works with the business and education sectors to help them prepare for the future of work, a world of high automation and worker augmentation. Steve helps business leaders to understand the business value of key technologies like artificial intelligence, sensors, augmented reality, robotics, blockchain, 5G, and other new tech.
One of Steve’s proudest legacies is his best-selling book, The Innovation Ultimatum: How six strategic technologies will reshape every business in the 2020s, which he hopes will inspire businesses to innovate their way out of the current recession. Steve joins us today from Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Kristin. No kidlets. No dogs. No cats. No responsibility. :)
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
Listen to @BaldFuturist to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet
“Anytime you put stress on a system tends to lead to innovation.” – Click to Tweet
“Lots of good things come out of really difficult times.” – Click to Tweet
“With the technology of today, the challenge now is to figure out what you’re not going to do. And to make those decisions, you need to have crystal clear purpose.” – Click to Tweet
“As a frontline manager, it is your job to translate and make the vision real for the people that work for you.” – Click to Tweet
“When team members understand the purpose of their work, they show up with high levels of engagement, passion, and consistently execute against strategy.” – Click to Tweet
“As we go through this automation and augmentation transition, developing new products and services to stay ahead of your competition is going to be vital.” – Click to Tweet
“We’re moving to a world that’s more digital and less physical. We’re moving to a world that’s more distributed and less centralized.” – Click to Tweet
“We need to think about changes very soon so we can capitalize on it and make sure that our businesses are responsive to those changes in the marketplace.” – Click to Tweet
“The only way you get out of recession is not to save your way out of it. You need to invest and innovate.” – Click to Tweet
“If you want to be a true leader then you need to think about the medium and long-term, not just the short-term.” – Click to Tweet
“Get smart on the types of technologies that can help you imagine what the world will be like two to three years from now.” – Click to Tweet
“No company ever saves their way out of recession. You have to invest your way out of recession so that when the recession is over, you come out of it stronger than you went in.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Steve Brown was unsure where to go next in his career. Being given the advice to follow his passions and do the thing that he loves, Steve started his own company, Possibility and Purpose. Today, Steve is doing the things he is most passionate about helping businesses understand how the technologies of today can lead to a better tomorrow.
Advice for others
AI will eventually be the premium technology on the planet. It’s worth sticking with it.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Best Leadership Advice
Don’t be trapped by your own identity. See yourself as how other people would see you.
Secret to Success
Clarity of communication. Being able to take a complex topic or idea and convey it in a way that most people can understand. (A British accent wouldn’t hurt!)
Best tools in business or life
Good story-telling skills. The ability to say something in a way that people will remember and act upon.
Contacting Steve Brown
Show TranscriptClick to access edited transcript
Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to give us a really important perspective of the things that are actually going to enable us to be successful in what has now become the near future. Steve Brown was born in the UK where he lived until he was 13 spending time near Nottingham, Oxford and in Manchester where he went to university in 1997 he moved to the States and he became a U S citizen in 2008 he has one younger sister and his parents are still together and living in self isolation after 54 years of marriage. And for those of you who are aware of the time of this recording, we know we’re dealing with the coronavirus thing. Okay. So his dad started his career as a physics professor and dedicated his life to higher education. In 2008 his dad was awarded a CBE, which is a commander of the British empire at Buckingham palace in 2008 in recognition for his lifetime service to education.
Jim Rembach (01:04):
Back in the 1970s when Steve was a kid. Computers were a rarity and his dad, a university physics professor at the time would bring computers home from work and Steve quickly became fascinated with them. Even at a young age, he could imagine their future potential and he decided to focus his career on the computing industry. Steve earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and micro electronics systems engineering from the university of Manchester and embarked on a 30 year career with Intel corporation. His eclectic Intel career spanned everything from engineering and manufacturing to marketing, communications and management. His career goal was to develop a broad set of skills as possible by taking on a wide range of roles. Most of the jobs he took were forward looking and he spent half of his career in strategic planning roles of one kind or another. Steve Rose to become Intel’s chief evangelists and one of Intel’s two futurists responsible for helping to build Intel’s long range strategic strategic plans.
Jim Rembach (02:08):
Now as an independent futurist, Steve advises organizations around the world on how technology will reshape their business in the coming years, and he works with a range of industries but specializes in the future of healthcare and manufacturing. Inspired by his father’s career, Steve works with the business and education sectors to help them prepare for the future of work or world of high automation and worker augmentation. Steve helps business leaders to understand the business value of key technologies like artificial intelligence, sensors, augmented reality, robotics, blockchain, 5g, and other new tech. One of Steve’s proudest legacies is his bestselling book, the innovation ultimatum, how six strategic technologies will reshape every business in the 2020s which he hopes will inspire businesses to innovate their way out of the current recession.
Steve Brown (03:00):
And Steve joins us today from Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, Kristen. No kidlets, no dogs, no cats, no responsibility. Steve Brown. Are you ready to help us get over the hump? I will do my very best. I know you will know. I know you said no responsibilities, but I’m sure your wife has a major responsibility for you. She is delightful. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we get to know you even better? Um, I currently run professionally. My current passion is thinking about the future of healthcare. How would we redesign a healthcare system, um, using the technologies that we now have in front of us so that if a pandemic comes, let’s say again in the twenties and thirties, when much better prepared and that we are able to use that technology to help us get through it in a completely different way than we’re having to experience at this time.
Steve Brown (03:55):
So that’s, that’s County West front of mind for me. Um, and then privately, um, I’m just drinking a lot of wine to get through this. Well, definitely a lot of calming, uh, AIDS are necessary now. And you bring up a really interesting point, uh, when you say the next one, because there will be, right? I think we, yeah, we, it’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s also one of the side effects of having a more global, you know, world, right? As these things just move, like they’ve never had the opportunity to do before. But one of the things that we do also know is true is that in times like this, some of this futuristic look actually gets an accelerated, doesn’t it? Yeah. Anytime that you, you put stress on a system or you put constraint on things, it tends to lead to innovation. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
Steve Brown (04:46):
Um, I mean world war two was not a fun time to be around. Um, it was an extreme circumstances for millions of people, billions of people around the planet. But out of that stressful, horrible, difficult time came incredible levels of new innovation. So modern air travel came out of world war II, the development of the jet engine, pressurized cabins and radar, air traffic control, all of that came out of world war two. You know, those things matter happens anyway, but they were accelerated because of world war II. I’m also coming out of world war II. You had penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, but it wasn’t productized and created at scale until the Normans, the landings in 1944 and then of course, rockets. Um, the V two rocket, um, one of them unbridled didn’t come out until world war two, and that led to the space age.
Steve Brown (05:42):
Um, and satellites and GPS, there would be no Uber, uh, without vulnerable Brown. So, um, lots of good things come out to really difficult times. Um, and they can be long lasting things. So when the men were off to fight, the women came out of the homes and went into the offices and factories, and the idea at the time was, well, when the men come back, the women will go back into the homes. That didn’t happen, right? Women tended to like them and a patient and they wanted to keep working. And that added a huge economic boost, uh, and created a massive amount of wealth in the economy because now you had two people working, um, in, in many families. So, and that became a long lasting change that is here today. So when you get this sort of crucible of pressure, um, it can lead to massive innovation constraint does as well.
Steve Brown (06:37):
So if you think about the way that designers, engineers, artists sometimes operate when they need inspiration, they will constrain themselves. So you might say, well, how do I design this image, this poster with two colors, only two colors? How could I do that? Um, I mean, think about this thing, right? Um, Steve jobs thought, how could I design a phone with just one button and eventually it was no buttons, right? And that led to a complete breakthrough. Um, now it is how do I service my customers using digital channels? Because I co my constraint is I can’t touch them anymore. I can’t have them come to premises. So how can I build around that constraint? So during times of constraints and difficulty like this, we’re going to see incredible innovation flourish. And that’s something I’m very passionate about. Um, because the good news is we are in a decade of some difficulty here, but we’re at the beginning of a decade where six technologies are going to mature all at the same time. And they give innovators like a new canvas from which to paint, you know, incredible new designs, innovate product services, develop new channels, service customers in new ways. There was a lot of good news that will come out of this, um, despite it right now feeling like an incredibly dark and difficult time.
Jim Rembach (08:07):
Well, and I’d also like to add a couple of things to what you were saying is the context center industry was actually created out of world war II because the communications infrastructure for the U S military was based in Omaha, Nebraska and some of our first context centers were from and using that communications array. And that’s where the industry was started. Uh, so when we start looking at, you know, yet the next wave and the next change, all of what you’re referring to and all this digitization, uh, is really what’s core right now. And so contact centers at this current date are struggling in a couple of different ways. Some now have to really support the ability to have remote workers that they didn’t have to do before. And then you have a lot of organizations that may have had say for example, brick and mortar operations and now they have to, you know, increase, you know, what they had from uh, you know, customer service and context center perspective.
Jim Rembach (08:59):
And it’s not that they can just add more seats in their office, they have their make them a rope. So there’s a whole lot of influx happening. But when we start looking at all of this change and you know, and you and I talked about this off mic is there’s a whole lot of chaos that goes on. There’s a whole lot of, Oh my gosh, what do I do? And then it’s like, okay, now I need to get good, but I really need to scrap the model I’m in. Part of my thinking is the model that I had just not going to work going forward. And for a leadership group in order to really drive, as you say, drive that change, there’s five things that they need to really focus in on. Um, and I need to be crystal clear about them. And you say purpose, vision, mission, values, and then strategies of the company. Give us a little bit of your lens on those.
Steve Brown (09:51):
We’re moving into an era. My company, I had this little company that uh, I’ll probably skull possibility and purpose LLC. Uh, it’s just me just to company one, but the reason I called it that is that because of the technologies that are writes about in the book, uh, these six technologies, Oxford intelligence block chain, we’ll talk about them more later. Um, they are creating this incredible landscape of possibility. And the challenge now is to figure out what you’re not going to do because these technologies enable you to do lots and lots of different things. Um, and to enable you to plan your markets you didn’t plan before to create products in new ways to support your employees in different ways. I mean, there’s just so much possibility out there. The challenge now is to figure out what am I going to do? How do I focus, what’s my path forward and what am I not going to do?
Steve Brown (10:45):
And to make those decisions, you need to have crystal clear purpose. To know what your company is about, what’s the humanistic purpose that you serve for people. Know what that is. Communicate that clearly to all your employees and do it relentlessly because they won’t hear it often enough because as they’re making decisions, if they and your vision drops out of your purpose. So your vision is if you are successful in delivering against your purpose statement and your purpose could be, you know, for, um, for Coca-Cola it’s to refresh people, right? Um, to, uh, for um, uh, Holly Davidson is to provide the rebel experience, right? As a, as a purpose that they have. And everything they do is about that purpose. Companies by the way, that have a crystal clear, well articulated well-communicated purpose have better financial results than those that do not. And that has been demonstrated many, many times.
Steve Brown (11:46):
If you want the data on that was a great book called firms of in damage, which I recommend. Um, but companies a crystal clear purpose, allow them to cut through this huge landscape of possibility and decide what to do, um, to communicate that vision to employees really clearly. That’s if we’re successful. In our purpose, this is where it’s going to take us. This is what the world will look like if we are ultimately successful. Um, for Coca-Cola, one of their sort of unstated visions, not publicly stated, but the way they think about it is a Coca Cola within arms reach and every person on the planet that tells you that that company is about distribution. And the ultimately of that trying to reach that almost impossible goal, but it tells every employee in the company what they need to be doing. So it helps, um, decision making in the company by giving employees a North star that they can look at and say, I’m making this decision.
Steve Brown (12:43):
Does it help us get closer to our vision or not? Is this consistent with the purpose of the company? No. Okay, then let’s not do it. So it really gives you that strategic clarity. And then the mission also falls out of the purposes is what are we going to do every day? How do we show up? Um, and then values really define how you’re going to do that. What’s one of the things you’re going to do? How are you going to comport yourself? Um, how does your brand wants to be perceived? Uh, how will your behaviors match against that brand? Um, what are the values? Typically it’s the values of the founders of the company that are reflected in that. And really it’s, it’s two or three core things, things that you would not violate even if it would make you more money that that defines a true value and people having a customer orientation results, right?
Steve Brown (13:35):
There’s okay, you should all have that. What are the things that define you and make a difference? And then the final one, I mean, strategic clarity, um, really time spent spending the time to think about in order to execute our mission and fulfill now our vision. Um, what are the things we’re gonna do this yet? And make it really clear so you have all of those, put them together and communicate them passionately, clearly over and over and over again. It also important because as companies now go through what I think will be an accelerated phase of automation, now covert is going to accelerate. Automation happens for lots of reasons. We can get into as you automate, you need to be really clear on what your purposes because when you’re training AIS or training robots to take on tasks that were formally done by humans, all of your, um, your purpose, your mission, vision, values need to be encoded into the way that those machines behinds. Because now you’re working on a blended workforce of humans and machines working together in teams. Those machine teammates need to be as aligned with your purpose, mission, vision, mission, mission and values as well. That was a lot of stuff. That’s why I’m thinking about it.
Jim Rembach (14:57):
Well, and, and as you were talking about that I, I started thinking about something that you and I chatted before we got on, uh, the interview in is that we can easily make a mistake though of focusing on the whole aspiration elements of the questions that we must ask. And what I mean by that is, uh, your friend Brian, David Johnson said that we need to really ask when we’re there, we’re thinking about that the future is two questions. And I think you, you did a very good job of explaining what is the future and what do we want to build. But we also have to be very clear and you partially hit on this is, you know, what is the future that we want to avoid? So when we start talking about two things, focusing in on what we want to avoid and making sure that people don’t swirl around and waste time, you know, and us to not be aligned as an organization.
Jim Rembach (15:47):
You know, what w what do we need to be aware of on that? And then also one of the problems that has just been apparently an issue with most organizations is that the, the head of the organization could be doing all the things from this look, her crystal, crystal clear perspective that you’re referring to. But then being able to connect the feet, you know, is where the disconnection comes from. You know, and it’s, that’s a decapitation scenario. So if I’m a frontline leader, what do I need to do with all of these crystal clear things that I, that are coming from up above to be able to get my people who are getting the work done on the front line to connect with it,
Steve Brown (16:23):
no matter what your level in the organization. Um, it is important that you role model the, all of the messages coming from, uh, from above that you continue to translate those into what does it mean for us? What does it mean for our team this week? What does it mean for us today? And if you have any questions, teammates come to me, I will help clarify that for you. Um, I mean, you as a frontline manager, it is your job to translate and make it real for the people that work for you and to get them excited about it, right? How to be passionate about it. Um, explain to them why fulfilling the company’s mission is important. Why is it important for people, you know, you’re not just making widgets? Uh, when I was at Intel, one of my jobs was I had this role called chief ambassador, which was to help employees in our factories understand what the chips that they made did, what did they make possible in the world.
Steve Brown (17:21):
So I mean that for them, it’s just widgets on the manufacturing line right there in the bunny suits in the fabs, in the fabrication facilities making millions of chips when you explain to them, Oh, those chips are used in workstations to design the car that you drive. They are used by some of the most creative people in the planets at Dreamworks and Disney to create the movies that make your children or grandchildren being from Antia, right? When you make it real people, why is what we do worthwhile, right? Why, how are we creating meaning for people in their lives? If you connect those dots, people show up with high levels of engagement, passion, uh, and consistently, uh, executing against strategy.
Jim Rembach (18:08):
Well, thanks for sharing that. Um, and I, because of what you’re saying, I think it’s also important that we focus in on what you’re calling the six ways that future tech can be used to impact experiences. Because you talked about two things in that explanation. You are talking about a customer experience as well as an employee experience. And those six things that you mentioned, ours that we honor every customer as a unique individual. And I would dare to say customer means internal and external. You value everybody’s time by creating frictionless experiences. You understand ultimate intent and create memorable moments. You design highly responsive business operations that coordinate human and machine intelligence. Now you create innovative products, services, experiences, and transformations that solve problems for people. And then you elevate human work. So when you start looking at the six ways that this tech can be used to impact experiences, which one of these or to stand out to you, you’d be the most impacted
Steve Brown (19:09):
for the last one. Let’s hit that first. Um, elevating human work, right? Um, a lot of people when they’re looking at a lot of leaders, when they’re looking at automation athletes, uh, they look at it in a very short term manner, which is how do I reduce my labor costs? How do I improve efficiency, which are important metrics. Um, they have been historically important metrics. I can see why you would go there again. Um, and, and there may be some things that are worth automating and, um, probably at a top six that you’d want to automate because they’re gonna be much more efficient and you can do them more quickly, uh, and maybe reduce your exposure to, to labor. Um, but studies that have been done by researchers looking at automation efforts have revealed that that gives you some short term gains. Sure. But the medium to longterm gains are where you deploy technology as a way to lift up your employees, to support them and help them to do that jobs better.
Steve Brown (20:12):
Um, and there are many ways now that technology can be used to augment the talents and capabilities of humans. And that’s the bang for the buck to make, um, to take away the boring tasks. Uh, the repetitive tasks, the dangerous tasks, um, and elevate the, the humans, and I’m, when I’m talking about here is of course physical augmentations. So, uh, in factories and Ford, they’re using exoskeletons to help them when that reaching upwards to be able to, uh, have extra, extra strength. Um, but beyond that, using artificial intelligence to augment the design capabilities of designers and give you a number of examples on that. Um, using artificial intelligence to boost our intuition, there are real estate agents who are using ultrasound intelligence to help them guess pretty accurately who might be in the market to sell the house. So they know who to reach out to and say, Hey remember me.
Steve Brown (21:15):
Oh, we’ll have to sell our house. What? Perfect timing. Well yeah cause I helped with that. So AI is going to be able to boost the capabilities of employees and that research shutters is the biggest bang for the buck versus just purely automating away tasks. So that’s, that’s probably the most important of those. I think the second using technology to innovate your products and services, um, really, uh, using, um, tech to completely reimagine your product line, to turn products into services, services and to experiences, experiences into transformations cause you get paid incrementally more as you go up. Uh, that, uh, that ladder, um, Pricewaterhouse did a study about, um, about jobs in the UK and they estimate that 7 million jobs in the UK in the next 10, 15 years will be displaced by artificial intelligence. And that sounds like a pretty shocking number in a country of 55 million people. What they also say in that same report is that 7.2 million jobs will be created by AI and that same time frame and their argument for that is as a result of heavy innovation products and services using AI to innovate products and services to create a huge set of new demand. So that’s why I picked that as the second one because as we go through this automation and augmentation transition, developing new products and services to stay ahead of your competition is going to be flaky.
Jim Rembach (22:50):
Well and to be able to execute that. You talk about nine key strategic decisions that you must drive in order to determine what your next steps are. And as you were talking about that, one of them that you mentioned, which is critically important is a retraining strategy. And for me when you start talking about a retraining strategy, it’s not just in your organization, it’s even looking down into the whole education system. And in a book you talk about a lot of those as well. But other strategies that you need to focus in on is an automation strategy, a sensor strategy, augmentation strategy, employee engagement strategy, blockchain strategy, product and service innovation strategy, a data strategy and security strategy. Now I would dare to say when you start talking about all of these, of course those jobs of leadership and be crystal clear and have to all that has to be incorporated in a systematic approach. And so when I start looking at this
Steve Brown (23:46):
environment that we’re in now, I mean I have chaos. I just need to survive. I am, you know, really just having to see what, you know, how I can get to tomorrow. Um, how does that potentially affect or impact the need that, Hey, I need to do all of these things but I have to survive. Yeah. I think in the, in the short term, I mean, I, I’ve been thinking about the way we get through this current crisis in three steps. First step is do everything you can to make your employees safe and your customers as safe as possible. I think we were mostly through that phase. Now the second phase is how do I survive? Um, what do I need to do to triage the business? What, what plants do I need to close down or what new channels do I need to quickly develop?
Steve Brown (24:37):
If you’re a restaurant, for example, how do I do delivery? How do I suddenly build a relationship with grub hub? Um, what, what do I need to do, want government grants and the available? What employees can I keep on? How do I retain, you know, what’s my strategy to just get through the next few months while we’re in this lockdown phase? Once we’re through that second step, that second phase, um, then I think we can start to get into the Headspace on, okay, we may, we have a plan to get through. What’s the world going to be like on the other side? How will the world be different in a, let’s call it post COBIT era, right? Um, because we’re not going to go back to the way things were in December, 2019. That’s, that’s just not going to happen. There will be new normals the same way that they were new normals created after world war two.
Steve Brown (25:24):
What will those new normals be? You know, we’ve, we’ve just had a major shock event that has laid bare the Progenity of modern life and consumers are scared and they are feeling out of control. They are going to want to reassert control on the other side of this. So we’re, we’re moving to a world where consumers want to assert more control and have less trust. So what can brands, what can businesses do to re earn, regained trust with consumers? You’ve had that really shape. So it’s that sort of thing to think about, now we’re moving to a world which is probably more digital and less physical. What does that look like? What channels do you need to build? Um, we’re moving to a world which is perhaps more distributed and less centralized, and we may see that it’s smart to not have all your employees in one campus. Maybe they need to be more distributed and then you’ve got to find ways to communicate and link them all together. So there’s going to be lots of changes that we need to start thinking about pretty soon so that we can capitalize on those changes and make sure that our businesses are responsive to those changes in the marketplace. Okay. So we’re moving out of this, right? Uh, and
Jim Rembach (26:43):
you talk about that there’s a hierarchy of business goal for automation projects. Um, and, and we’re starting to make sense of this. We’re starting to move forward and you, and you talk about several different things. It’s, are you talking about five or six factors that we need to focus in on that CBOs, human factors, outcomes, business capabilities, business, uh, re, uh, results and resources. So how do I go about adjusting to my new normal, you know, being able to figure out this way forward, work on the stability piece, work on the trust gain for employees and, and customers with what you have here in this hierarchy.
Steve Brown (27:22):
Well, good question. Um, yeah, I mean this is a, this is a chew gum and walk at the same time thing, right? We’re going to have to take care of the short term. And the hierarchy I talk about is sort of more and more sophisticated levels of optimization for your business. So the low level, it’s optimizing resources. So think about it like a control loop. Um, where I’m, I’m making decision, do I do something or not? Um, so the simple example I give in the book is for a sprinkler. That’s a simple example. But you know, I’m going to decide when to turn the sprinkler on and water the grass. I can do that on a timer or I can put a moisture sensor in the soil and say, Hey, this the soil is already wet. I don’t need to turn the sprinkler on today.
Steve Brown (28:05):
Um, or I can get even more sophisticated and I can check the weather report. Okay, it’s going to rain in 10 minutes. So why turn the sprinkler on? Now what I’m doing is I’m optimizing a resource, which is water, right? And that’s a lot of optimizations and uh, internet of things. Um, technology implementations are built around managing regionals, but my contention is we can go higher and I think, and in this phase of, Oh my God, we’ve got to survive, we’re going to rightly focus on optimizing resources, whether it’s labor, water, electricity, and whatever, the resources that my business uses, because we’re going to be trying to control costs as we want to try and come out of recession because we were on our way into good recession here. The only way you get out of recession is not to save your way out of it.
Steve Brown (28:56):
So focusing on that lower level of resources and managing resources only gets you so far. At that point you, you know, the way you get yourself out of resection is you invest and innovate your way out of recession. To me, you’d have to go higher up the hierarchy. Then you need to look at the higher levels where you’re starting to optimize for business results and for impact and for customer optimizations. Now at the very highest level of that, uh, that hierarchy you’re talking about, which I go into the book and in quite some detail is happiness, creativity. How do I optimize for the creativity of my staff? How do I help demise for the happiness of my customers, right? If you’re Disney, that’s the thing you ultimately care about. How do you use technology to go from, you know, bottom line stuff to top line stuff? That’s what he wrote. It comes down and in this phase we’re going to start at the bottom and then the companies that can work their way up quicker are the ones that are going to sort of catapult themselves out of this recession sooner than others.
Jim Rembach (30:00):
Well in the, in the book, um, I, you know, really like how you laid all this out and it does help you really try to focus on the smaller elements that allows you to think, you know, think your way rationally through these chaotic times. But from your perspective, what are some of the thoughts and encouragement that you have for you say tomorrow’s leaders, but I say now it’s today’s leader.
Steve Brown (30:27):
Um, yeah, I mean we’re all being tested as leaders right now and uh, this is the time that we all get to step up. Um, you know, I, I lead a company of one, but it doesn’t matter how big your company is, what position you are in your company. If you choose to step up in this time, you are a leader and we all need to be doing that. You know, Simon Sineck defines lead as the Sunday lead doesn’t need any one thing. Follow us, right? So if you are in a position where you see scared people, you see people who are not sure what to do and you feel like you have something to say, stand up and be a leader. So I encourage everybody to be thinking now, not just about the short term. If you want to be a true leader, also stop thinking about the medium and loans are at the same time.
Steve Brown (31:21):
Um, know, get smart on the types of technologies that can be, you know, the, the tools at your disposal to help you imagine what the world will be like and what your business can be like a year from now, two years from now. And start planning towards that. You’ll also find if you can help to lift up your employees. I mean, right now that just, Oh my God, I’m gonna go to my God. How do you lift them up? Get them to see beyond that and say, okay, once this is all kind of pasta, how do we, um, how do we rebuild? How do we build something that’s, that we can all be proud of? And I would say rally around that. Now, um, and inspire other people, focus on inspiring other people and getting them excited about the world. That will be
Jim Rembach (32:08):
well goodness be, I mean, all this requires an inspiration on the show. We love to focus in on that by looking at some of the quotes that our guests really enjoy and help to drive them and help them give them focus on all that. Is there a quote or two that you’d like that you can share?
Steve Brown (32:24):
Uh, you know, it’s really the one that I have been focusing on lately is from my former colleague, uh, and CEO of Intel Craig Barrett. And he, he’s put it very simply, and this was back in, uh, the early two after the bomb, uh, period. Well, you know, Intel and other tech companies and having a hard time and he said, now, no company, have a saves the way out of recession. You have to invest you out of recession so that when the recession is either you come out of it stronger than you went in. And that’s the quote that has stuck with me most and given me the most confidence right now. To think that the companies that really have that genetic, um, code of being innovators, that passion and the passion for that customers, that’s where the reward and innovation comes from, is wanting to serve your customers better. The companies that have, that will Indue and come out of this stronger than ever. So that’s the one that’s been the most inspiring to me right now.
Jim Rembach (33:26):
Well, and for me, thinking about that eclectic career that you had at Intel and all those different paroles that you played, I mean, I’m sure there’s times where you also had to, had, you know, had to get over the hump to help you get through, you know, certain times of uncertain. Uh, is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?
Steve Brown (33:46):
That’s a good question. I think there was one time when I was unsure where I needed to take my career next and again, it comes down. It was Craig Barrett, um, former CEO of Intel. I was, I used to interview him, um, on the sort of company, uh, videos and we were chatting in the studio, in the TV studio before we went online. And I said, sir, I don’t think about what I want to do next in my career and I’ve got a few different directions, are not really sure where I should go. And he said, let’s just look to me and said, Steve, follow your passion. Do the thing for you that you’re passionate about. Don’t worry about the money. Don’t worry about accolades. Do the thing that makes you want to come into work everyday. And it was just me and him in a TV studio. Um, and that, that gave me the courage to follow a career path, which has been, and I haven’t looked back. It’s been fabulous, but it, you have to have that courage to say, I’m going to follow my passion, uh, and see where it takes me rather than thinking, well, what’s the smart thing to do? Because there’s nothing worse than being trapped in a career that you are not passionate about.
Steve Brown (35:06):
So that’s probably the, the moment where I had the biggest crisis of faith. Um, and to have someone say, you know, you can do whatever you want. You just do something that you’re passionate about. And if you do that, you’ll show up with all of you and you will be successful.
Jim Rembach (35:25):
When I and all of the fast leader Legion hopes that you can continue to follow that passion and we wish you the very best.
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Jim Rembach (35:54):
All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh, okay. Steve the hump day hoedown as the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. And I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust get record. Responses are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Steve Brown, are you ready to hoedown I’m going to give it my best shot. Alright. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? COBIT,
Steve Brown (36:24):
what is the best leadership advice you have ever received? Well, there’s so much good stuff. Um, don’t be trapped by your own identity, your own perception of identity. Um, allow yourself to see yourself as the way perhaps other people see you and then you can step up to be that true leader. And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success? Well, the British accent doesn’t hurt. Um, clarity of communication, being able to take a complex topic or idea and convey it in a way that most people can understand. And what do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or line good storytelling skills? The ability to say something in a way that people will remember and act upon. And to me, Ninja level storytelling skills are vital to that. And what would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion?
Jim Rembach (37:21):
It could be from any genre. Of course, we’re going to put a link to The Innovation Ultimatum, lately I’ve really enjoyed the master algorithm, uh, thinking about how AI can solve problems. That’s a really, really good one lately. Okay. Past literally, Jen, you can find links to that and other information and bonuses all from today’s show on and Steve shows paid, which we’ll be able to find at [inaudible] dot net slash the Brown. Okay, Steve, this is my last something. Hold on. Question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you could take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take them all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why? It would be the knowledge that AI will eventually be the premium technology on the planet back then. Uh, AI was something that we talked about and it was, it was an a period where innovation that had sold and people kind of gave up. Um, it would be lovely to know that it’s worth sticking with it, uh, because it is probably as profound a technology and in terms of the impact in people’s lives as electricity was an impact in our great, great grandparents lives. So I kind of wish I had known that then
Jim Rembach (38:36):
so I could become experts in that and stick with it. Um, but that would be the one that I would take back. I think it’s a big, big, big, big deal. Steve, I had been with you today. How can the fast leader Legion connect with you? You can find me on my website, a bold, bold futurists.com you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from me, Steve Brown, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.
Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.