Top Customer Experience Experts
Top Customer Experience Experts

300: Ty Montague – Reinventing Capitalism

Ty Montague shares how to infuse your higher purpose throughout the entire organization

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Ty Montague Show Notes Page

Ty Montague had a career in advertising before getting into the business transformation business. He was doing very well in that job and was finding great success, except for the fact that he hated it. For Ty, the day-to-day activities was not satisfying and it seemed like he was just adding more problems to t0he world. He was able to get over the hump when Ty faced his fears of leaving the company and starting his own business and making positive change for other people.

Ty was born in Carrollton, Georgia and raised primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His dad was a university professor and his mom was a community organizer. Ty has two siblings, a brother, Tim, and a sister, Jessica. Ty was a self-described nerd and a bookworm growing up. He loved reading about a wide array of topics, anything about nature and the natural world, anything science and technology, especially science fiction/fantasy, anything about trouble makers or renegades — as he got older Ty really got into the writing of Hunter S Thompson and Edward Abbey. But he had no clue what he wanted to do with his life. He did a wide variety of jobs in high school and during the years he should have been in college (fun fact: Ty dropped out of both high school and college!). He worked in an ice factory and in construction. He worked as a raft guide and a mechanic. He learned to make and occasionally race kayaks. Ty would be the first to acknowledge that by most measures it was a fairly inauspicious start. But things took a turn.

On a whim Ty moved to New York in his early 20’s, where he worked as a bartender. One fateful day, Ty met someone sitting across from him at the bar who told him he should consider looking for a job in advertising. From that chance encounter Ty discovered one of his life’s passions: the business of molding culture with ideas. In advertising Ty’s job was to have ideas and to figure out how to make those ideas into films and experiences that were funny or moving or smart… things that changed the way people looked at their world. And he met a pile of passionate weirdos that were just like him.

Ty was lucky enough to work at some of the legendary ad agencies under legendary creative leaders. Ty was lucky enough to work on some of the world’s biggest brands and businesses. And for about 15 years it was the most fun he could imagine having.

In his career in the advertising business, Ty was an agent of positive change. As Co-President & Chief Creative Officer of J Walter Thompson North America, Ty and his business partner, Rosemarie Ryan, helped lead a 5-year transformation of that company. This effort culminated in JWT being named Adweek magazine’s 2009 Global Agency of the Year – the first award of its kind for JWT and its parent company, WPP. Before that, Ty launched and helped build the New York office of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, ran the New York office of Wieden + Kennedy, and worked at the New York office of Chiat Day. Over a 15-year period, Ty was fortunate to work with a blue-chip roster of companies including Nike, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, JetBlue, DIAGEO, Unilever and ESPN to name a few.

On the surface, Ty’s career was going great, but there was something important stirring beneath that surface… as his ad career boomed, Ty began to notice that there was a dark side to all of it as well. He began to see some of the negative effects the ad business was having on culture and the world (obsession with overconsumption, disconnection from the earth’s natural systems, and from each other, depression, anxiety, etc…). Ty also began to notice that it was pretty easy for a company to tell one story and do a very different story. In other words Ty started to notice that companies’ words did not always align with their deeds. He decided he had to try to do something about that. So he dropped out again… only this time he left the ad business and started his own company dedicated to solving this problem.

Ty and his partners Rosemarie Ryan and Neil Parker founded co:collective in 2010. co:collective is a creative and strategic transformation partner for purpose-led businesses. Co: works with leadership teams to help them to define and align on their higher purpose and to bring that purpose to life through innovation in the customer experience. They call this process StoryDoing. Some of the best and most successful businesses in the world today are StoryDoers, including Patagonia, Tesla, Method, AirBnB and others. Through the Harvard Business Press, Ty published a book about StoryDoing in 2013 called True Story, and since that time the co: team has been fortunate to work with some of the most inspiring and progressive organizations and business leaders in the world, including Google, YouTube, LinkedIN, IBM, MetLife, PUMA, Microsoft, the ACLU, MOMA, Infiniti, Capital One, and Under Armour.

Ty believes that capitalism as we know it must change and is in fact changing around us, transforming from a system dedicated to enriching shareholders to a system that provides for the needs of a much wider group of stakeholders. Ty constantly strives to help his clients make a more positive impact on the world by helping them to lead their own successful transformations.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @tmontague get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShowClick to Tweet

“The customer experience is all a company has in terms of creating a brand.” – Click to Tweet

“Employees that are in line with the higher purpose are happier, stay longer, give better customer service.” – Click to Tweet

“There is nothing more important throughout the organization than the story that the organization has.” – Click to Tweet

“Your quest – the mission, the higher purpose that you serve in the world – has got to infuse the entire organization.” – Click to Tweet

“What is the higher purpose that you serve as a business?” – Click to Tweet

“What do you celebrate and reward internally as a result of your quest?”- Click to Tweet

“You have to start with action.” – Click to Tweet

“The most progressive and successful companies create a good environment, make sure everybody is aligned, measure everybody in a fair and transparent way, and make sure that people have a say.” – Click to Tweet

“It is the people, not the metrics, that will determine outcome far more than anything else inside the company.” – Click to Tweet

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Hump to Get Over

Ty Montague had a career in advertising before getting into the business transformation business. He was doing very well in that job and was finding great success, except for the fact that he hated it. For Ty, the day-to-day activities was not satisfying and it seemed like he was just adding more problems to the world. He was able to get over the hump when Ty faced his fears of leaving the company and starting his own business and making positive change for other people.

Advice for others

Learn public speaking.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

My passion.

Best Leadership Advice

Be curious and spend less time talking, more time listening.

Secret to Success

Introversion.

Best tools in business or life

Pain tolerance. I’m willing to do things that most people are not willing to do.

Recommended Reading

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Links and Resources

Ty’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tmontague/

Ty’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tmontague

Ty’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tymontague/

Ty’s website: http://www.tymontague.com/

Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Unedited Transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):

Okay, fast leader Legion today. I think we’re going to have an incredible discussion to talk about how the entire customer experience from that very front end, all the way to hopefully the perpetual experience that is positive can actually be made. Ty Montague was born in Carrollton, Georgia, and raised primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His dad was a university professor and his mom was a community organizer. Ty has two siblings, a brother, Tim and a sister. Jessica Ty was a self described nerd and a bookworm growing up. He loved reading about a wide variety of topics, especially science fiction, fantasy, anything about troublemakers and renegades, but he had no clue what he wanted to do with his life. He did a wide variety of jobs in high school. And during the those years, um, he would have been found not in college because he actually dropped out of high school and college.

Jim Rembach (00:56):

Uh, he worked in an ice factory and in construction, he worked as a raft guide and a mechanic. He learned to make an occasionally race kayaks. Ty would be the first to acknowledge that by most measures, it was a very fairly in auspicious start, but things took a turn on a whim time, moved to New York in his early twenties, where he worked as a bartender. One fateful day, Ty met someone sitting across from him at the bar who told him he should consider looking for a job in advertising from that chance encounter. Ty discovered one of his life’s passions, the business of molding culture and ideas and advertising Ty’s job was to have ideas and figure out how to make those ideas into films and experiences that were funny or moving or smart things that changed the way people look at their world. Ty was lucky enough to work at some of the legendary ad agencies under legendary creative leaders.

Jim Rembach (01:55):

Ty was lucky enough to work on some of the world’s biggest brands and businesses on the surface Ty’s career was going great, but there was something important stirring beneath that surface and his as his ad career boomed, Ty began to notice that there was a dark side to it all. He began to see some of the negative effects the ad business was having on culture and the world’s obsessions with over-consumption disconnection from the earth natural systems and from each other depression, anxiety, et cetera. Thai also began to notice that it was pretty easy for a company to tell one story and do a very different story. He decided he had to try to do something about that. So he dropped out again, only this time he left the ad business and started his own company dedicated to solving the problem tie in his partners, Rosemary Ryan and Neil Parker founded co collective in 2010, co collective is a creative and strategic transformation partner for purpose led businesses co works with leadership teams to help them to define and align on their higher and to bring that purpose to life through innovation in the customer experience, the co-team has been fortunate to work with some of the most inspiring and progressive organizations and business leaders in the world, including Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, IBM, MetLife, Puma, Microsoft, the HCLU MoMA, infinity capital one, and under Armour Thai currently lives in New York city.

Jim Rembach (03:21):

I actually still live in New York city and he’s here to help us all get over the hump. Are you ready to help us do that tie?

Ty Montague (03:27):

I am Jen, thank you for that kind introduction. It’s really great to be here.

Jim Rembach (03:30):

Well, I’m glad to have you now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better

Ty Montague (03:38):

Or, um, my current passion, uh, is reinventing capitalism as we know it. And, uh, that sounds probably pretty high falutin, um, to your audience. And so I owe you a little bit of detail on that. If you’ll indulge me, I I’ve, I want to start out by saying I am a capitalist at heart, I believe in the capitalist, uh, system. Um, and all of the good things that have flowed from it. You know, capitalism as a system has been up, it’s been a beacon that has attracted more creativity. Um, it has unleashed more innovation. Um, it has created more upward mobility than any system in the history of the world. The one small problem is that if carried to its ultimate extreme, at least as it’s currently conceived of it leaves the earth, uh, a smoking and uninhabitable cinder. And, uh, if we were to blame somebody for this, you know, this version of capitalism, it’s a man named Milton Friedman who in the 1970s said the purpose of a corporation is to maximize profits.

Ty Montague (04:50):

Um, and this was a new idea in the 1970s. Uh, previously corporations had thought more about stakeholders and community and their responsibility to the world. Overall, Milton Friedman said, no, uh, it’s all about profitability. This became religion at the big business schools. And it is now the way we think about the purpose of a corporation. This means a lot of bad behavior though, on the part of corporations, they have a tendency to externalize costs. Uh, right. So if there’s pollution in that they’re putting into the environment, they don’t want to have to have to pay for that. Um, it causes them to create policies that are not positive for employees, for people who work inside companies. Cause that’s not really part of making the most profitable enterprise you can, and they tend to ignore their responsibilities around community. And obviously I’m painting with a broad brush here.

Ty Montague (05:47):

This is not all companies, but this is the average company. And, you know, just looking around the world today, we face a rising tide of problems. We have climate change, we have income inequality. We have, you know, culture Wars going on between areas, factions in, in the country, um, growing mistrust of institutions. And if you believe Milton Friedman, um, he kind of gave corporations a pass on all of those problems. He basically said, none of that is your problem. Um, you just have to produce profits. Um, fortunately though, uh, this has begun to change lately. Um, I don’t know if you are familiar with the business round table, but it’s basically an organization that is the 200 CEOs of the top 200 corporations in the world. From a size standpoint, our members, they recently produced a letter, an open letter that they published in the newspaper saying that the poor purpose of a corporation needed to change.

Ty Montague (06:48):

The corporations needed to begin to take responsibility for not only shareholders, but also stakeholders. And then another big, uh, influence here has been the CEO of a, of an organization called BlackRock, a man named Larry Fink and BlackRock is a purely capitalist organization. You know, they, they manage trillions of dollars worth of, of investor money. And they came out recently and said they would not invest in a company unless it’s able to articulate its it’s broader societal purpose. It’s either environmental or the positive and or environmental or social change that they’re trying to make. And this is a sea change in the way that companies think about themselves. And, you know, I saw this starting to happen about 10 years ago when I was in the advertising business. And it is, is what led me to actually leave that business and put my shoulder to the wheel, uh, using the company that I started called co co collective to put my shoulder against this wheel and to try to move, move, uh, capitalism in a more positive, inclusive direction. And so, um, um, yeah, uh, that was, uh, that was a huge change for me in my life. Um, and it’s, it’s, um, I couldn’t be happier that I made it, but it was a tough decision.

Jim Rembach (08:15):

Well, as you know, as you were talking, I start pulling out some of the things that I have been part of for the past couple of decades working within, you know, organizations in the, in the customer service area, the customer experience area. And for me, as you’re talking, I’m like, well, that’s who we are. I mean, we are the people that, you know, want to have a purpose that care for others that want to solve people’s problems and often find a disconnect, you know, when we are trying to do those things. And then we have an organization that is, you know, saying, or having metrics in place that are preventing us from doing that, you know, or, and I still remember this conversation I had with an executive VP of an where they were talking about reallocating the responsibilities for different parts of the business for their, their company. And he said, none of the senior executives wanted the contact center customer service to be under their area of responsibility and quote, quote. He said, because those people are weird

Ty Montague (09:17):

That has bananas. I mean, that is bananas. Um, yeah. Um, I think, you know, this is this, this is one of the unforeseen outcomes of, of Milton Friedman’s thinking is that, is that executives often forget where the rubber meets the road and that ultimately customer, that customer experience is all a company has in terms of creating a brand on a longterm business and lavishing more attention on it. Not less is the key to the key to success. Um, one of the things that we’ve done at Ko is we’ve done a study actually of, of companies that we characterize in the old way. We call them story tellers and companies that are, are actually acting in this new way. They have a purpose that transcends creating shareholder value and they put that service into action throughout their entire customer experience. And we looked at 50 different publicly traded companies in seven different commercial categories.

Ty Montague (10:22):

You know, all of the big ones, airlines, automotive, media and entertainment, retail, et cetera. And we rank the storytelling companies on the story doing companies. And it turns out there are tremendous business, uh, advantages to being a purpose led business. Uh, you know, the companies are growing faster story doing company’s purpose, led businesses are growing faster. They’re more than twice as likely to be perceived by consumers as being innovative and future forward, you know, thinking about the future. Um, they, um, uh, they, they care more about their customers and employees or at least their customers and employees say that they feel more cared about. And that’s, you know, that’s kind of what you’re talking about is once you get w if, if a company has a really clear purpose and they get it authentically enacted throughout their entire business. In other words, the frontline employees, the people in the customer service centers feel like the metrics that they are are being asked to hit are in line with that higher purpose. Those employees are happier and they stay longer and they give better customer service. It’s not brain surgery, but, um, it’s surprising how few companies actually really understand this.

Jim Rembach (11:44):

Okay. So what if let’s just, just say they, they start understanding it because as you, as you just very clearly was to state that the data proves it to be true, right. But we still have a problem with execution. And that’s where a lot of organizations, all shorts where they stumble. It’s my intent, you know, versus, you know, getting down to the point to where it’s my outcome, you know, is in that alignment. And it’s, you know, hopefully surprising, but ultimately what I expect, meaning that it’s positive. Uh, so you talk about story telling versus story doing could take us off over the bridge. How do I get from telling to doing

Ty Montague (12:28):

Well? So, um, you know, this is, this is the essence of, of our work at co um, you know, as I said, I used to be in the advertising business and in the advertising business, the word story was often thought of as a, a word that was not a real business term. It was a fluffy term that lived in the marketing department and no one else in the business really cared about it. And our thesis as a business at COE is that there is nothing more important throughout the organization than the story that the organization has your quest. What is the mission that the higher purpose that you serve in the world has got to infuse the entire organization? And so we lavish attention on getting the entire leadership team up to and including the CEO whenever possible, engaged in creating, uh, and defining and aligning on what we call the quest.

Ty Montague (13:25):

Like, what is this, what is the higher purpose that you serve as a business? And then our second thesis is a business, is your quest. Once you have it, isn’t something like you’re not done. It’s not something that you take and put in a desk drawer somewhere, or, or carve on low on the wall in your lobby. It becomes a tool that you put to work inside your business, using it, to actually define, um, your, your internal policies. What do you celebrate and reward internally as a result of your quest? What do you give promotions on the basis that ties to your quest and then externally, what other aspects of your customer experience would you change now that this is your quest? So your quest should inform the products that you make. In some cases, the services that you provide, in some cases, your business model, it should certainly inform the way that you think about and enact customer service.

Ty Montague (14:23):

And then ultimately it might also impact communication. We’re not anti communication or anti advertising at Ko. We just don’t believe in starting there. You have to start with action and everyone inside the company needs to feel like they understand the purpose and that they’re an owner of it. In other words, that they can enact it in their, in their area of the company. And, you know, I’ve just been through some of the business advantages of operating that way. Um, there are a couple of others once you begin to get it right, you know, um, and this is the carrot, uh, for executives, um, story doing companies, uh, have a higher percentage of people who would recommend the company to a friend. They get many more mentions in social media, uh, than, than traditional storytelling companies and remarkably, they achieve all of these, these advantages, these business metrics, despite spending much less money in paid media. So they don’t actually have to advertise as much. And that’s because they’ve created a level of loyalty because they’re on a quest, they’re trying to do something positive. They’ve, they’ve created a level of engagement and loyalty among employees and customers that causes their customers to actually, and employees to become evangelists. And that, that allows them to reduce their ad spend so that all that money can just drop right to the bottom line.

Jim Rembach (15:53):

Oh, but even as you’re talking, and one of the talking about the whole execution piece and the, you know, the feeling, the connection, the emotion, I mean, all of those things that are associated with, with what we’re talking about, uh, I start thinking about all of those layers in between. And so even though I may have this intent and this intention and this purpose and this directive and this quest, you know, that has been, you know, part of what we’ve created, I have to go through a bunch of different managers. And when you start looking at that whole employee engagement component, one of the largest contributors of whether or not those employees are engaged is their direct supervisor, their direct boss, the person who, that they are, who they’re reporting to. I mean, the numbers are shocking. It’s like 80%. So how can I ensure that all of this work that we’re doing is not getting blocked by that person who is responsible for overseeing those that have to actually execute all of this? Well,

Ty Montague (16:52):

You have to, you have to set metrics for that poss, um, you know, you have to, you have to make sure that, um, the, the metrics that you’ve set for people, for managers, as well as, you know, frontline employees are, um, are in line with one another. In other words, if the manager has been tasked with nothing more than, um, you know, let’s, let’s say, and now I’m outside of my area of personal expertise, but, uh, and into yours. So, correct me if I’m wrong. If, if, if your manager has said your job is to get everybody off the phone within two minutes. Um, but, but the company’s stated public purpose is to, um, provide excellence in customer service, no matter what, there’s a dissonance there that employees feel, they feel they’re being told one thing and measured in another way. And so those two things in line, figuring out what are the KPIs around the quest?

Ty Montague (17:55):

You know, what are we going to measure beyond profitability or efficiency? What, what are the softer measures that we’re going for? Um, you know, are, are vitally important. And, you know, just at the, at the level of making sure that everybody’s being honest, instituting 360 degree reviews is a good way to, um, to, to kind of fair it out. The people who are true believers and, and, and really, you know, celebrate them and find the, the, the people who are not true believers, who are, who are not really enacting, um, you know, the behavior that you’re hoping for inside the organization and, you know, ultimately showing them the door, you know, because nothing will, will, um, you know, degrade someone’s trust or engagement in a, in, in an enterprise faster than this inauthenticity or this misalignment of word and deed.

Jim Rembach (18:50):

Well, and as you’re talking, I think that’s one of the things that often I find a big struggle and disconnect with is the development of that frontline supervisor. You know, so we can’t just give them a KPI that they’re now accountable for, that they have to essentially hit. We have to develop their abilities and skills to be able to deliver upon that person from a leadership perspective. And when you start thinking about leadership development, a lot of organizations they’ll spend it at the very top thinking that it’s going to have a trickle down effect that doesn’t just not happen. Um, I even had a conversation with somebody the other, the other week about this whole developing of their frontline leaders. Cause I have a, a leadership Academy called call center coach, so virtual Academy, and he goes to me, he goes, how am I going to be able to sell it to my CFO, that we need to be able to invest in that when I am hitting my KPIs. And I’m like, how do you answer that?

Ty Montague (19:47):

Well, I mean, I would, I would, if, if you know, I were engaged with that company, I would make sure that the, the CFO had signed off on, on those KPIs and had agreed that they were, um, they were not nice to haves. They were must haves. In other words, you have to believe ultimately that you’re creating a more sustainable, uh, durable and profitable organization. If you’re creating an environment that is going to keep your frontline employees feeling engaged and happy. And if you don’t believe that, I guess this is, this is back to my belief at co collective. If you don’t believe the logic train that I just laid out, you’re going to get left behind as a company, because the most progressive and successful companies today follow that logic train, create a good environment, make sure that everybody is aligned, measure everybody in a fair and way. And to make sure that the people who are being managed have as much of a say in the, in the review of, of a manager as that manager’s boss does. In other words, make sure that you’re getting, um, voices heard throughout the business and the best run businesses today, do that. And you know, there are companies who are, who are not doing that, who I believe are not going to be around for very much longer. I really honestly believe that this is a sea change.

Jim Rembach (21:17):

I, I, I see that myself. Uh, now you, I really liked the way that you’re talking about the logic train. I mean, that makes sense to me. One of the things though I have to ask you about is, and because this is part of the dialogue and discussion that I’ll often have, uh, especially when it comes to metrics. So, uh, for those that may not have been aware, I worked for an academic and we measured the customer experience, and I did that for 15 years. And so I roomed into the analytics and all that in the understanding of analytics. And I used to, and I still do say, if you think something is a soft metric, I said, the reason is because you don’t know how to measure it. That’s the problem because every metric can be turned into something that is extremely tangible. So a lot of times the whole people elements from a KPI perspective, and you even said it something about soft measures, but really, I mean, are they really soft because to me, when you start talking about the action or the story tellers versus the story doers, some may perceive all, that’s all the soft metric stuff.

Jim Rembach (22:20):

No, you just made them tangible and very hard.

Ty Montague (22:23):

No, I, I, I totally agree with that. And thank you for calling me out for that. I think that’s awesome. I did use that term and I don’t mean that term. I don’t like that term. I don’t like the term soft metrics because of that. There are all these things that, you know, so-called business people think of as fluffy story is one of them, you know, employee engagement is another one. You know, they, they, they kind of think of these things as, as, as being nice to haves, but not must haves, you know, in a really grownup and serious capitalist, uh, endeavor and nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the people stuff that will determine outcome far more than any, anything else inside the company. And I think people are beginning to wake up to that. I think young, you know, young job seekers are also really beginning to drive change here. Like if, you know, if, and I’m speaking now to the, to the leadership of companies, if you think you are gonna win the war for the next generation of talent, doing things in the old way, you are fooling yourself, your competitors who have a more enlightened and progressive attitude toward the environment that they create for the employees that they have are going to beat you most. So I

Jim Rembach (23:46):

Would dare to say it the whole concepts and what I would call in that vein corporate arrogance, uh, will be your demise.

Ty Montague (23:55):

I totally agree. I completely agree.

Jim Rembach (23:58):

Well, I mean, we know that a lot of what we’ve been, we’ve been talking about talking about the story of the action, uh, you know, the impact, the loyalty. I mean, it’s just loaded with emotion. And one of the things that we do to help us keep us pointed in the right direction on the fast leader show is points of quotes that inspire us. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

Ty Montague (24:17):

Sure. Um, one of the, one of my favorite quotes, um, is one from Winston Churchill, who said the secret to success is moving from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm. And, um, the reason that I love that quote, uh, is that I think that that is, um, that is the definition of, of, you know, if you can enact that in your organization. And I mean, really enacted as opposed to just say it, if you can create an organization that, um, values, uh, enthusiastic engagement, even when things go wrong, you will create a very, uh, durable and formidable organization. It’s organizations where, uh, if, you know, when things go wrong that, um, you know, people get down and feel defeated or get told to feel down, get told that they’ve failed, get told that they have to have to fix things. Um, that’s that, that, that, uh, is a short lived strategy. Like that’s a strategy for failure, not success, I think.

Jim Rembach (25:29):

Well, any of years you’re saying that I start, I mean, I’m starting to think about times where we do, you know, essentially fall off that, you know, that horse that, that, um, you know, train logic train, you know, because we do get sidetracked and their humps, you know, humps that we have to get over times where we were like, Oh, I, you know, I wish that wouldn’t have happened, but it did. And now I’ve learned from it. Um, the next thing with hopefully some enthusiasm, uh, is there a time where you’ve gotten over a hump like that, that you can share?

Ty Montague (25:57):

Sure. Yeah. I mean, um, I, you know, as you, in your, in your, uh, excellent introduction, uh, pointed out that I spent, um, I had a whole career in advertising before I got into, um, you know, getting into the more, what we would characterize as business transformation business. And, um, you know, in the advertising business side, I had some success, you know, I spent 15 years in it and my last job and it was running the North American operations of an advertising agency called J Walter Thompson. And I did that job for about five years and we were having a great time. We had turned the company around, we were winning awards. We were getting recognition in our industry. And during this time I was beginning realize that everything was great, except I hated it. And I just, I couldn’t, I, I found, you know, the, the, the, the day to day activities of just trying to push the ball forward for businesses and get people to consume more stuff, um, was just not satisfying.

Ty Montague (27:04):

And it just seemed to me to be adding to the problems in the world, as opposed to trying to solve some of the problems in the world. And so, even though I was having a, you know, a great run, uh, it became obvious that I was either going to have to push those voices in my head down, or I was going to have to listen to them. And ultimately, you know, and this was my kind of epiphany around this was as I thought about it. Um, the only, you know, the only thing scarier to me than failing if I was going to jump out and start my own business, the only thing scarier to me than that was the thought of spending the rest of my life, being unhappy as a quote success. And that, you know, that epiphany for me was when I knew I had to make the leap and, and leave a business that I, I had a great time and some of my best friends are still in it, but try something new and try to try to make some positive change in the lives of everyone who either works at a company or, or as a customer of a company.

Ty Montague (28:17):

You know,

Jim Rembach (28:18):

Even as you’re saying that, I’m starting to think about that person who is, you know, in an organization, you know, and they are that, you know, see of change and they, and they w they don’t feel like they’re in alignment with the organization, kind of like that executive VP who said, well, they’re all weird, you know? Well, it’s, Hey, all those weird ones, you know, that, you know, part of the reason that we stay at a particular job is because of the people we work with. Right? Yes. How do I actually say, Hey, I don’t necessarily want to leave, you know, I want to help be part of this transformation to something that is more meaningful, impactful. What would you say to that person?

Ty Montague (28:54):

Well, I would say to that person, um, you know, you have to, you have to honestly assess your ability to affect change around you inside the organization. Are you in an organization that is open to and interested in your point of view on how the, how the organization can be better, or are you in an organization that, um, you know, kind of, uh, pays, pays lip service to that concept as when you bring them new ideas and, and then goes back to business as usual, if it’s the latter, I’m sad to say you should probably leave that organization, honestly, if you can. Um, because, um, that management style is very hard to change, and it’s extremely hard to change from people who are on the front lines. It’s, it’s easier to change. You need enlightened leaders, um, to, to change a culture like that. And if you don’t have them, you’re going to have a really hard time.

Ty Montague (29:54):

Um, so sadly, I would say, move on there. The fourth, the good news is, is there are more and more companies that are, are, are, you know, rethinking this whole way of being in the world. There are a lot of new leaders, um, startups, midsize companies, and even some big ones that are really rethinking their purpose in the world and trying to, um, you know, trying to listen and, and react to their workforce in an entirely new way. And so there are more and more places for someone like that to go that are already, I would say, more fertile territory. Um, you know, for people who really want to have an impact where they work, um, no matter what, you know, what kind of layer they’re working in.

Jim Rembach (30:40):

So I would dare to say, uh, kind of like what you have really gone through, uh, is talking about, um, you know, a journey of realization, um, you know, going back from those early days, even I found very interesting, and maybe you can shed some light on this as well, because I think we often talking about changing capitalism. I think it’s changing, you know, uh, individuals within our society. And when we look at what success is, or really could be now looking at your background, when you start talking about, you know, not really sure about the education component, not completing this, that, and the other, we would look at someone like you and say, um, you know, you’re going to be dropping out of society as a whole. You ain’t gonna, you’re not gonna make it right. We may medicate you. We may put you in special and give you some type of designation that you have some deficiency. Some

Ty Montague (31:34):

Absolutely

Jim Rembach (31:35):

I haven’t met not happened Thai. I mean, so, I mean, you have to really help me understand this and how we need to rethink, you know, people who don’t necessarily fit into our very

Ty Montague (31:46):

Well, that’s very interesting. Yeah. I mean, I’ve thought a lot about that myself, because you’re right. I mean, by any normal metric, if I’d handed you a resume that said high school dropped out, college dropped out, you would throw my resume in the wastebasket. Right. Um, I, I happen to find a business, the advertising business that is, and, and, and to be specific, I was a creative person in advertising. So I was a copywriter and I found one of those intake vents, uh, to, to an organization that was an absolute meritocracy. They did not care, uh, where you’d gone to school. They didn’t care what you knew how to do if, um, if you knew how to make an ad that felt compelling and creative and funny, if you knew how to do that, you were good. And so, you know, I think honestly, just to build on where you started with this, I think that’s a very interesting model for all organizations.

Ty Montague (32:56):

Like I do honestly believe that, you know, in, in, in, amongst all of the other things that are changing the way we think about education needs to change, because there are people with hidden talents that we overlook, because they don’t appear in their CV, you know, that they haven’t gotten the certification for it. And, and, and running your organization more like a meritocracy and finding the people who can do a thing and then letting them run when they can do it. Um, I think is, I, I think it’s much needed. And, um, that’s another thing that I think that I hope is happening more in the world.

Jim Rembach (33:35):

Well, I appreciate you elaborating on that a little bit. However, I think it’s important to focus in on what you said was important. Right? Okay. So if we start talking about this audacious goal of redefining and changing capitalism, I am sure that you have a lot of things that you’d like to focus in on and goals that are part of that train, right. If you could tell us what one of those are.

Ty Montague (33:57):

Well, I do, uh, it’s actually, it’s two things that are two sides of kind of the same coin. So if you follow the logic that organizations, uh, it’s now become clear, you know, 10 years ago, when I started co it was a little less common to talk about a purpose led organization. But now, because of some of the things I talked about before, because of the business round table, because of Larry Fink, um, these have now become much more mainstream ideas. Many companies now are thinking about what their purpose should be. And I think that we’re now, uh, paradoxically or ironically in a way in a place where almost purpose washing is the new danger where you have a company that’s developed a purpose, they will talk about their purpose, but are they at, do they actually believe it? And are they actually enacting it?

Ty Montague (34:49):

And so I am working on the creation of what I call the authenticity index, a way to rank and score businesses based on their, you know, what they say their stated purpose is. And then the degree to which they are actually walking that talk and then assigning those companies, a score, which, um, hopefully will be a tool. Not only for consumers, it can be a tool for potential employees. It can be a tool for investors to know where to put their money. And ultimately it should be a tool for leadership teams because now they’ve got a number to manage against, at least they’ll know if they want to raise their score. These are the things that they have to change about their organization in order to become more authentic and, you know, back to KPIs matter. And the right KPIs can be massively helpful. And as a, so that’s, that’s a project that I’m working on that I’m very passionate about.

Ty Montague (35:53):

And then I also am, am, um, working on don’t have it. It’s not published yet, but, uh, maybe I’ll come back and talk to you about it one day when it is, but I would like to start a podcast called, um, well, right now it’s got a kind of working title, which is BS. Uh, and the reason we call it BS is because at co one of, one of the things that we do is we help companies define not only their quest, but we help them define an enemy. What are they fighting against? What is the dragon that they’re getting out of bed everyday to slay? We put ourselves through our own process at co and the enemy that we defined for ourselves was BS. And, and so, and, but we define BSS the Delta between word indeed, inside an organization. And so I’d like to do a podcast I’m working on, on, on, on recording a podcast that is devoted to, um, you know, talking about companies and where they rank and, and whether they’re, they are how authentic they actually are, whether they are walking around

Jim Rembach (36:52):

Or not. And the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the home. Okay. Tie the hope they hold on to the part of our show where you give us good insights. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust, get rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Ty Montague. Are you ready to hold down? I’m ready to hold out. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Ty Montague (37:46):

I would say my passion. Uh, sometimes if you get super passionate about a thing, you can run down a path and turn around and there’s nobody behind you. And, um, that’s the opposite of being a leader. And so I have to be careful about not getting too passionate, too fast about, about things that don’t matter to anybody else.

Jim Rembach (38:08):

And what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received? Uh, be curious

Ty Montague (38:14):

And spend less time talking more time listening.

Jim Rembach (38:18):

And what do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Ty Montague (38:23):

I’m willing to do things that most people are not willing to do.

Jim Rembach (38:28):

And what do you believe is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Ty Montague (38:33):

Uh, introversion. I, um, I am a, a dyed in the wool introvert and, uh, it has held me in good stead.

Jim Rembach (38:43):

And what is one book you’d recommend to our Legion? And it could be from any genre

Ty Montague (38:47):

Re-imagining capitalism in a world on fire by Rebecca Henderson.

Jim Rembach (38:53):

Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that. And other bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net/time Monica. Okay. Tai. This is my last hump day on a question. Imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25, and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why

Ty Montague (39:15):

Public speaking? Um, that was completely under emphasized in the parts of education that I actually participated in. And, uh, I realized much later that it’s a vital skill. Had I known it earlier, I would have gone much farther.

Jim Rembach (39:33):

I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you?

Ty Montague (39:37):

Uh, you can hit me on instagram@tmontagueorteammontagueatcocollective.com and I would love to hear from any and all of you.

Jim Rembach (39:46):

Hi Montague, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom and the fast leader Legion honors you. And thanks you for helping us get over the hump.

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