Gina Trapani: Hello and welcome to Catalyst, the Launch by NTT Data podcast. I'm Gina Trapani and I lead product innovation at Launch. And today we have a very special episode. I'm really excited about this. I've got a special co-host and a very special guest. So first I want to introduce Mark Orttung, president of Launch and totally my boss, y'all. So... (Laughs) We got him to come on to the show today. Mark, welcome. Great to see you.
Mark Orttung: Thank you. Great to be here.
Gina: And we're really excited. Because we had a, a keynote speaker at a client event that we loved. During the speech, Mark and I exchanged many meaningful glances because the message was resonating, and I was so happy that, that we got to have him on the show with us. I'm so excited to introduce Geoffrey Moore. Hey, Geoffrey.
Geoffrey Moore: Hey. Hey, Gina, how are you?
Gina: Great. Great to see you again.
Geoffrey: Thank you.
Gina: Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between both startups and established enterprises at companies that you have heard of. Your work has focused on the market dynamics around innovation. So Geoffrey's first book, Crossing the Chasm, focuses on the challenges startup companies face transitioning from early adopters to mainstream customers. And your book, Zone to Win, which I hope to talk about today, addresses the challenges large enterprises face when embracing disruptive innovations. And Zone to Win really spoke to me and Mark both, because our clients at Launch are typically big enterprise that are trying to make sure that they don't go out of business, they stay ahead, right? And they're developing the products and platforms that, that their customers want. So really excited to have you here today.
Geoffrey: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. And I had a great time at that client event and I hope to have a great time today.
Gina: (Laughs) It's funny, in the pre-show we were talking about, you know, it's been a weird year. So... So I guess, Zone to Win was published in 2015, which is amazing to me because it's just so... (Laughs) It aged very, very well. Everything is still, is so relevant. But this past year or two, you know, I don't know if we actually had a recession. I'm not sure. There was a lot of fear of a recession, but there was definitely a softening in the market, especially around, coming out of the pandemic, you know. And during the pandemic, so many companies were trying to get ahead and create these new digital experiences and really investing in those things, right? And then we just, we saw a pullback. There was a lot of fear, there's a lot of uncertainty. And I'm curious to know in your consulting work, Geoffrey, like, what have you been seeing in the past, I don't know, 12 to 18 months around leaders trying to lead innovation inside their companies?
Geoffrey: When Zone to Win was written back in 2015, and we had that very long tech boom in the last 6 or 7 years, where the fear was, "we're going to get left behind." So the entire theme of the book was sort of like, how do you make sure you don't get left behind? What's been weird about this last year is... Things have stalled dramatically. And I think this happens when there's just a lot of uncertainty about the future of, of the economy, the war... Coming out, the hybrid workforce. The war in Ukraine. I mean, the whole election scenarios that are unfolding. So all of this, I think, creates people to just want to hesitate.
Geoffrey: So the question that raises for work innovation is, what do you do? How do you innovate in a period like that? As opposed to a period where it's go, go, go? And interestingly, I think established enterprises have a structural advantage, if they take advantage of it, over startups, because startups really count on the hypervaluation. I mean, startups were raising money at ridiculous valuations, but everybody was playing that game, and so, the startup game was like, really, really cool. And frankly, the enterprise was a little bit at a... Not a little bit. Quite a bit at a disadvantage, particularly if they wanted to acquire one of these startups with their own currency, because the valuations were so, so out of sync with each other. Now we're in a different situation. The startups are actually being told, if you don't mind your cash flow, you're out of business. So it's actually rather hard to be a startup this year. In the larger enterprise, because you have the established book of business, you're not under existential threat. The danger is that you waste this time.
Geoffrey: This is actually an incredibly valuable year for an established enterprise to go as fast as you possibly can in your incubation zone. And you're making rather modest bets, but you're making them as quickly and as aggressively as you can, because you can outrun a startup this year. Because they're out fundraising, and you could be out customer serving. (Laughs)
Gina: Right? Right. Yeah. I mean, so, in Zone to Win, you talk about... There's that performance zone, right? And tell me if I get this wrong. This is the company's core business, it's making profit, it's optimized, it's knows its customer. It's proven product or service that you know the market wants, right? And so, in a tough fundraising environment like startups face now, or where they're just not getting those valuations that they used to, right? You can back that, the incubation zone, right? Or the transformation zone. But I guess really the incubation zone, which is where you're like, let's just brainstorm crazy new ideas and try them out. You can fund that with the core business. Is that your take on it?
Geoffrey: That's fair. It's important to say... Now, let me put the four zones on the table, just so people know.
Gina: Yeah, that'd be great.
Geoffrey: So as you said, the performance zone is where, it's your core business, it's what the world sees, it's how you give your value to the world. It's what the earnings analysts look at every quarter. And then it's supported by something we call the productivity zone, which is all the cost centers behind the scenes: finance, IT, HR, etcetera, etcetera. Marketing, customer success, security, whatever. And the key to the productivity zone is, it supports the scale of the performance. It allows the performance zone to operate at scale. Startups don't have much of a productivity zone because they don't have much scale.
Geoffrey: But the bigger you are, the more you have a productivity zone. Well, one of the attributes of the productivity zone is it's risk averse. It's designed to keep you from making big mistakes. Which is great for the performance zone when you're on a kind of a natural cyclical rhythm. But it's horrible for the incubation zone, because the incubation zone is based on making mistakes. You just want to make little mistakes, not big ones, and you want to learn from every mistake so that you make progress going forward. So what we said was, that needs a different governance. So we created a different zone model called the incubation zone. And the comment we made there is, most public enterprises don't know how to manage their incubation zone. Either leave it alone or they oppress it. But whatever they do, they don't do the right thing with it. And the venture capital people, on the other hand, know exactly how to manage an incubation zone, how to hold it accountable, how to get returns from it. And so, although we're not venture capitalists and we're not playing the venture capital game as a big enterprise, we do want to steal their operating model. We want to steal their governance model. And so the book talks about how you would do that. And then the final zone is an optional zone and it has to do with... We called it the transformation zone. And, you know, we've been talking about digital transformation for 15 years. And consultants and speechwriters and book writers, they talk about transformation as if it's a wonderful thing.
Geoffrey: It's a horrible thing. It's a horrible, horrible, horrible thing to go through. But sometimes you have to. And the people that do it voluntarily are these heroes like Bezos and Musk and, you know, Bill Gates and Ellison in their day, and Steve Jobs and all that stuff. But most of us, you go through a transformation only when your back is against the wall. Like you're in a Kodak moment kind of problem.
Geoffrey: But then you do need a transformation zone. The interesting thing about this year is, nobody needs a transformation zone this year. They're not moving at that speed. So what you can do this year, though, is if you can make concrete, sort of venture capital operating model verified, progress on your incubations, you can steal a march this year because you have cash flow that's reliable, whereas the venture community does not.
Gina: Yes. (Laughs) I have many questions. I have many thoughts and questions.
Mark: Yeah. I was just thinking about what you said there, that you don't want to be doing a transformation this year. But the typical transformation takes more than a year. So if you've begun a transformation, say, two years ago, you know, what do you do when you're in that sort of precarious position and then the market shifts?
Geoffrey: First of all, give yourself a bad mark for timing.
Geoffrey: But set that aside. Once you start a transformation, you must not stop. You mustn't. What we've learned about transformations, and Mark just said it... Everybody gets that a transformation takes more than one year. Nobody will give you three. So it's like, whoa. That actually means a transformation has to be done in seven, plus or minus one quarter. That's sort of like, whoa. Now, if you're in the middle of this thing so far, maybe you could add a quarter or two or three to your budget. But the point is, you're not allowed to let a transformation sort of trail off into the future. There's a cliff. What'll happen is, people will withdraw their support. You'll get an activist investor, the ecosystem of partners will just sort of, kind of quiesce on you. They'll sort of retreat. And by the way, internally with employees, same thing. If you want to transform to a more hybrid workforce or a more back-to-the-office workforce, whatever transformation you're trying to do, don't stop. Because halfway through, you get all the pain and none of the gain. So that's a lesson with that. Which means, you have to be unpopular. You see, if you make transformation kind of like this Disneyland, then people think they're supposed to enjoy it. It's like, no, it's the Inferno. This is, this is Dante, not Disney. We're going down, not up.
Geoffrey: So, and so, what we want to do is go as fast as we can and get through this thing. Because, by the way, there is a Paradiso at the other end of that journey, but you've got to earn your way to it.
Gina: Geoffrey, when you say transformation, can you give us an example? Maybe one that, that went well and maybe one that failed because it stalled out midway and everybody jumped ship and said, I didn't have anything to do with that.
Geoffrey: Yeah. When I was writing the book, I was thinking of transformation almost exclusively about adding a net new line of business to your portfolio. And in that context, the two successful examples I used were Salesforce adding the marketing cloud to its Sales and Service CRM suite. And they had to bring an entirely different technology from an entirely different company, I mean, it was... It was murder. By the way, eight years later, they finally wrestled this monkey to the ground. But it's really hard when you're bringing in a different technology stack and then try to... Remember when Oracle was talking about Fusion? I mean, it's like, yeah, con-fusion, maybe. It's just really, really hard. And the other example I used was Microsoft going to Azure. And Microsoft was interesting because that was an existential threat problem. They had a back-office software business that, obviously the cloud was going to essentially, eventually obsolete, and that was a big part of their earnings. They had to kind of get to that model. And both of those companies bit the bullet. Microsoft converted its enterprise license agreements from very, very lucrative back-office on-prem maintenance agreements to cloud agreements. And their gross margins in cloud the year they did it were negative. So it was a huge, huge pivot. But now, if you look at their stock price today, I would... I would submit to you that Azure is the anchor of their whole market cap. So it was a huge reward. But there was definitely an Inferno before you had the Paradiso. And there was a Purgatorio there in between, for those of you who read Dante. But anyway, those are some of the successes. The failures... By the way, the book starts with like 53 companies, which were iconic tech companies in the 40 years I've been involved with the industry, they don't exist anymore. And it wasn't like they didn't see it coming. They saw the disruptions, and they would enter the disruptive arena, and they'd get halfway in, and of course, things are upside down. The margins are wrong. Your CAC and your LTV are horribly upside-down. And so you get halfway through and you go, uh, we can't do... And we're going to hide it from the earnings call, they're just going to kind of gracefully transition to the new paradigm. That's not what happens. So they would stop. There turns out, that's how you destroy your company. You go halfway into a transformation and stop. And you could probably do it once or twice. But eventually these companies did it three or four or five times.- And they lost it. So that's the danger.
Gina: The leaders who were able to get through the inferno and say, negative margins, no, we're doing the right thing. We're able to keep that support and keep driving forward, even though... I mean, you're kind of putting your career on the line, right? Because you're making a bet, you're rolling the dice. I mean, I mean, you do this with a startup anyway. (Laughs)
Gina: But it's a much bigger stage with much more internal reputation and money at stake, and a bigger name behind you, in an enterprise.
Geoffrey: But this is why I had to write Zone to Win, because it's the Crossing the Chasm playbook. There's a way to do it. But as you point out, as a startup, you have nothing else to do.
Geoffrey: And by the way, the people that are invested in you know that you're going to go through a J-curve. They know that it's Inferno before Paradiso, they've even signed up to fund the Inferno.
Gina: Right. Right, right.
Geoffrey: Public investors have not. Public investors are used to you having a profitable business, and evaluating you on your earnings. Well, this is going to put a big divot in your earnings for sure. So what are the characteristics of the leaders? So, by the way, the ones that everybody talks about are what I would call the crazy leaders. (Laughs) Of which I think Elon is, like, the absolute perfect example. He simply disregards risk. In a way that is just magnificent, but very rare, and frankly, totally unnerving if you were on those board of directors.
Geoffrey: You'd be terrified. Having said that, the most successful leaders that I work with are people who say, look. We're typically doing this. We're playing what we call zone defense, not zone offense. We're catching up to a category because in the prior paradigm, we are the leader and still are, but we were the leader and still are. But if we don't get to the new paradigm, we're going to be irrelevant eventually. So you get to the point of existential threat where the organization acknowledges, okay, this is a real existential threat. The board has to acknowledge that, the management team has to acknowledge that. And then what the leader does is say, okay, so we're going to take the fastest, surest course through this danger zone that we can. And I will not let anybody in this company grow in any direction that in any way does not contribute directly to getting through this as fast as possible. Which means they fire a bunch of people. And some of their very best heroic managers have to leave, because they just can't grow in that direction. Or they won't. And so, the biggest characteristic of a mere mortal leader, not one of these Olympians, is, stay focused, be totally committed to it, and just do not let anybody get out of line.
Gina: When you say fire a lot of people, do you mean at the leadership level?
Geoffrey: Well, let's... let's look at Microsoft. I mean, Steven Sinofsky, Terry Myerson, these were iconic leaders. These people all were like, I mean, as good as you possibly could be, and they had to leave. Because they weren't going to follow that particular path. And it was just not okay.
Geoffrey: And by the way, I've worked with Salesforce now for ten years. That management team's turned over twice, not because they were underperforming, but because the next transformation called on a bunch of experiences that the prior team just didn't have. And so, in each case, Mark led the transition to another team, and then he had to do it again. It's been absolutely remarkable. But part of what I think keeps that company on course is they're always in service to their customer. That's their religion. And I think when you're in service to your customer, then that kind of makes it possible to make sacrifices. Nobody wants to make a sacrifice to let some other vice president get ahead of them in line. But if the point is, it's not about you and the other vice president, if we don't change our behavior, we're letting our customers down. That's not okay.
Mark: How did those leaders manage external stakeholders? In this case, it's the public market, right? So some number of quarters are not going to meet expectations. How did they, at least in those examples, how did they manage that?
Geoffrey: This is where the importance of narrative... I talk a bunch about narrative as opposed to financial performance. So, like, the Excel spreadsheets give you very good trailing indicators of your business. They actually do not give you good leading indicators. Leading indicators are actually in PowerPoint. And Word is sort of in the middle. So when the analyst report comes out it's in Word. You give the earnings call in PowerPoint, they write it up in Word, and then the back half of their thing is all the spreadsheets and the numbers. So in that model, narrative is the PowerPoint leading to the Word. And the narrative says... Here's what we think is happening. Here's what we think's happening categorically. Not just with our company. We think this is happening in the world. The world is digitally transforming. It is changing the way healthcare works. It is changing the way, you know, public service works, or education works, or, you know, retail or whatever. We have to respond. And what'll happen is, the value investor, who's really always interested in you, is just, always just squeeze that last bit of earnings and be totally predictable, almost like a bond with better interest rates. Those people will leave your stock. As soon as they hear that you're going through one of these things, they're out of there. So you have to recruit replacement investors who have enough interest in value that they know about you, but who understand that there is this opportunity to be a growth engine by transitioning to the new way. Getting from the old way to the new way. And you have to tell a story that they believe, and they have to believe in you as a leader, that you can actually lead through that kind of transition. It's possible... Like right now, I would say Mary Barra at General Motors. Is General Motors is going to be an EV... an electric vehicle company or not? We don't know. But she has a bunch of investors who are betting on her and her team. Same thing at Ford. Jim Farley at Ford. Okay? But you have to tell a narrative, and then you have to realize this thing about... Everybody will give you notes, more than one, but nobody will give you three years. Now, I realize when you're the size of General Motors, maybe that gets expanded a bit. But in my world, most of my clients are tech clients. There is no third year in tech. There just isn't. So you're either there in two years or you become a distressed asset. By the way, you don't go away. You become marginal. You can exist for another ten years. But your stock price will be flatter than the plains of Kansas.
Gina: (Laughs) That's almost worse. I mean, what I'm hearing is you need buy-in from the absolute top all the way through, and the willingness to cut and fully commit, right?
Geoffrey: And to weed out the people that are undermining the... By the way, it's totally rational to undermine this decision. I mean, it's not like these people are crazy. But you have to weed them out and get them out. You cannot let them stay. Because what they'll do is, they'll create a... It's like if you had one of those sculls, you know, those... That race on the Charles? You've got the eight people going like this, like crazy.
Geoffrey: Well, what if one of them just decides to maybe put their paddle in the water a little bit differently? It's like...
Gina: Yeah, that's a problem. That's a huge problem. Yeah.
Geoffrey: I mean, it's huge. You just can't let that happen during a transformation.
Gina: Even the good, hardworking people in Legal and HR and IT and the productivity zone that are just trying to make sure that everyone's getting their job done well, and we're...?
Okay, good. So, time out.
Geoffrey: We still need 'em. Because we're funding this thing with the performance zone.
Geoffrey: Yeah. But what we tell the people in the performance zone and the productivity zone and the incubation zone is, look. We have a transformation under way. What that means is not that you don't have a day job, we're not getting out of our old business. But. If you wake up every morning, the first question you should ask yourself is, is there something I'm supposed to do today that will accelerate this transformation? Because this transformation is open heart surgery on our company. The sooner we get off the operating table, the better for everybody. So do not ever deprioritize a request from that zone. Having said that, most of you, most days, will not get a request. And you should continue doing the work. And by the way, we're going to take your hard-earned earnings and pour it into the inferno. So, so...
Geoffrey: I'm sorry. (Laughs) But that's where it's going. But that's the deal.
Gina: Right. Right. When the inferno is actually a new line of business, a new line of revenue, a new capability, a new product, is it worthwhile just carve out a separate entity and get the, like, really cool office with the Macs over on the other side of the... Of the street or whatever? (Laughs)
Geoffrey: Corporations love to set up incubation zones. And... They really do look kind of like artificial Disneyland places when you go there.
Gina: Yeah. Yeah.
Geoffrey: Because they're like, oh, they're just like... egregiously hip, you know? And... sort of Big Bang Theory kind of looking things.
Geoffrey: But it's corporate entertainment. It's eye candy. So what would mean something? This is where the venture operating model is so damn important. Venture funds initiatives to the next milestone. And every milestone is market validated. Meaning you did something in the market, you took a customer away from a competitor, and the competitor said "damn." That's validation. Somebody put a big bet on us and we, we made it work, although we had to do gazillion kinds of changes that we never, ever contemplated in our roadmap. But we got 'em to bright. Way to go. That's a huge accomplishment for a startup. And the next one is, did you cross the chasm? Have you found a repeatable use case you can build a viable business... A small, but viable, self-funding business upon. That is, I would argue, the critical B2B venture milestone. And if you fund that way, then the incubation zone isn't, it isn't like a playground. The clock is ticking every day in that zone. And if you don't get to your milestone, it's like, man. You know, we have this conversation in venture we call horse, rider, trail. So when you get funded to a milestone and you miss, the funding people sit down and they say, look. We're not necessarily going to abandon this thing, but we're not going to go forward unless we change either the horse, the rider, or the trail.
Geoffrey: Meaning, you're going to change your product or we're going to change the market, that's the trail, or we're going to change the rider. That would be you.
Geoffrey: But what we're not going to do is give another round of funding to the same rider on the same horse on the same trail. Which corporations do routinely, year after year after year.
Gina: (Laughs) Boy, do they. When you're venture-funded, you're basically sweating bullets every single day. You're calculating your runway every single day. Like, you've only just got so many days, and it's tick tock. But also, in a startup situation, you're not negotiating with the bigger organization, right? So, like, it's a different environment. You know?
Geoffrey: Well, but you make an important point. You can't go at incubation zone speed if you have to negotiate with the productivity zone.
Geoffrey: It turns out the productivity zone and the incubation zone are sort of the yin and the yang, alpha and the omega. They both mean well, they both have their important role to play, and they're totally incompatible with each other. So the venture capital people do not have a productivity zone. Because they want to just go fast. Because... I think of the African proverb, you know, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others.
Gina: (Laughs) Yeah.
Geoffrey: Okay. So the "go far with others" is the productivity zone, but the "go fast" is going alone. So what you have to do in a large enterprise is, you have to create a governance model, so that you don't go to jail. If you let this incubation zone go completely off the rails, you know, you might end up in an orange jumpsuit. You don't want to do that. So basically, the game's gonna be, okay. We have to have a minimum amount of governance. So we have to have some sort of governance. But what I'm not going to ask my entrepreneurial incubation zone leaders to do is to tin-cup their way around the finance department, the HR department, the I.T. department, the cybersecurity group. Because of time. The productivity zone will spend time to reduce risk. But the incubation zone takes risks to save time. That's why they're so incompatible with each other.
Geoffrey: You can't let the productivity zone slow it down.
Mark: So if the incubation zone goes well, you end up in possibly the transformation zone, right? So then what do you do with this, kind of, this challenge?
Geoffrey: So first of all, not always. A lot of times the incubation zone, if it is successful, can actually go diagonally into the performance zone. Meaning, with some additional overlay sales resources, with some additional marketing support, your existing go-to-market envelope and your existing customer base can absorb the new category. That's what you would mostly wish for.
Geoffrey: But if it can't, then you do have to go through the transformation zone. So let's take our friends at General Motors or Ford or whatever. They have a dealership model that's based on the carbon engine and all the maintenance that a carbon-based car needs. Well, that's not the Tesla model. There are no Tesla dealerships. Right? And there's no Tesla maintenance revenue. There's a little bit, but nothing material.
Geoffrey: So that is a transformational problem for them. They're going to have to go through a transformation.
Mark: So in the transformation zone, you still have the productivity guys that want to do what they do. So how do you resolve that conflict through that transformation?
Geoffrey: The same rule for all three zones. Every morning, your first job is, how do I further the transformation and accelerate it? Now, now... Keep us out of jail. Okay?
Geoffrey: But every other process you have, you will subordinate, if in subordinating that process you can accelerate the transformation. This is not about you.
Mark: I'm picturing some of these people just vibrating with the conflict, because the "keep us out of jail" sort of dominates their mind, right? Like, that's what they spend all their... And then you're saying go fast. And that... (Laughs)
Geoffrey: I... To be fair, I don't think it's actually jail. I think what they're mostly scared of is their operating profit and their margins. If you're a public company, 95% of what your analysts are asking you about has something to do between your top line and your bottom line. And that's what all gets upside down in transformation. So what the productivity zone is rightfully worried about is, you're breaking my processes. So first of all, you're making me inefficient. My own zone. You know, which is irritating at the very least. And by the way, you're putting a lot of pressure on my people, which is also burning them out, which I don't like either. So first of all, the answer is, don't transform very often. I mean, like, once a decade would be a lot.
Geoffrey: And second of all, when you are transforming, there's just one message: suck it up. This is not a time to whine. This is a time to suck it up and get through it. Once we get through it, we're going to come back to honoring all those things that you believe in. This process is king once the transformation is over. But there is no process for transforming. It doesn't exist.
Gina: So transformation once a decade, that, that seems, um... It's not very often. I mean, I guess on some level I feel like, isn't every company sort of transforming in one way or another, like, at any given moment in time?
Geoffrey: Yeah, but that's not what I mean by transformation. That's not Inferno. That's going to the gym.
Gina: Got it.
Geoffrey: Which, by the way, is a kind of inferno. I don't actually look forward to going to the gym, but I go, oh, I'm actually going to the gym.
Geoffrey: But that's just healthy kind of...
Gina: Maintenance. And... Yeah.
Geoffrey: You should think of transformation as, I am jeopardizing my core business in order to participate in a future category.
Gina: Mm. That's helpful. That makes a lot of sense. Do you have any advice for leaders who might be listening to this show? Are the folks who are on the ground and making this happen day to day. And they're seeing, you know, the conflict with the productivity zone. And they're seeing maybe the interest lag a little bit from the execs. Like, they're the ones who kind of see, like... (Making straining sounds). You know, we had a lot of, you know, momentum, and there was a lot of energy, and there was a lot of commitment here. And now it's like, month, I don't know, 10, 11, 12. And we're just not getting as much attention, we're not getting that higher priority. What can you do at that point? Besides grab your book and, like, run through the hallways at the office, like waving it and being like, "We agreed we were doing this thing!" (Laughs)
Geoffrey: This is a little bit like, you know, when you're a little kid, you're cute and everybody loves you. And when you're an adult, you're earning. But when you're a teenager, it's like, where are my friends? Where's my support? So you're a teenager. So first of all, you're going to do this. Understand... Because a lot of people get attracted to the incubation zone because they like being the cute little smart thing.
Geoffrey: You have to understand, if you go into that zone, you're signing up for adolescence. And that means you have to fight. And so, if you look at the entrepreneurial profile, how is that different from the average, you know, very strong senior vice president profile of business? Entrepreneurs kind of say, give me my resources, give me my objectives and get the hell out of my way.
Geoffrey: And if you don't, I will run over you. And so, basically, it can be career-limiting. But you know what? If you want a career path, stay out of the incubation zone.
Geoffrey: Stay in the productivity zone, stay in the performance zone. I mean, 99% of the resources are going into those two zones. It's not like you're going to be unemployed.
Geoffrey: Just don't kid yourself. Because if you go into that zone, you're going into a jungle. You have to be willing to be a jungle fighter.
Gina: Yep. Is the idea of creating a culture of innovation inside of an enterprise, I'm just going to say, bullshit?
Geoffrey: No. I think what you have to realize is, every zone innovates. But every zone rewards a different kind of innovation.
Geoffrey: And so what is bullshit is that everybody should be fast-failing agile. That is an incubation zone form of innovation, and no other zone should do it. Similarly, in the productivity zone, all the innovations around process improvement? The Six Sigma, the you know, DMAIC, you know, all this cool stuff, absolutely. It's the key to really... Better, better, better, never best. The Toyota production method. Quality circles. Amazing stuff. Works really good for that zone. None of the other zones work that way. And in the performance zone it's like, get the ball over the goal line. We have four quarters. We keep score by quarter and by the game. Every year is the game.
Geoffrey: And make the number. And be athletic. No side letters, don't break the law, you know. But by the way, get it over the goal line. So it's a very athletic, competitive place to be. So each zone has innovation, but it's just different. Different kind of innovation.
Gina: Right. Geoffrey, when your clients come to you, are these the most senior executives going like, my company, we're falling behind? Who approaches you and what do they come to you with? Or are you getting the people right below them going like, we are going to fall behind and help me convince my boss? Or is it like, all of the above. For, on the enterprise side, I know you do startups.
Geoffrey: It's very interesting if you write a book. They say "author, speaker, advisor." Well, let me tell you how that works. So you write a book. God bless.
Gina: Yeah. Yeah.
Geoffrey: When you write a book, people are having customer events, they think, well, we've gotta have a speaker, I don't know. "Who's written a recent book? I dunno. This guy Moore, I think he's written something. Oh, okay, alright, fine. Get him to give a speech. So you go, you give a speech. Somebody in the audience goes, that's exactly what...
Geoffrey: So then that person calls you and says, hey, would you come in and give your talk to my company? Okay, now we're doing the speaker thing. And then if you can do that a few times, somebody at the company goes, you know what? We're going to do this, but we need some help, and we want your advice, and we want you to facilitate this whole thing and install this vocabulary and help us get through that. So you say, that's pretty cool. And by the way, now you're starting to work with the middle of the organization, because as you point out, that's where reality hits.
Geoffrey: The boardroom's all very nice, but that's not where... the middle is...
Gina: Right. It's not where the rubber hits the road. That's right.
Geoffrey: The middle of the org. And then as you're working with the middle, you realize, you know what? What I said in the book? Not quite right.
Geoffrey: Okay. So, you know, you kind of erase your PowerPoint a little bit, and you add a few slides, and you say, I can stay with the same book, I just gotta modify the speech a little bit. So you do that for a while.
Geoffrey: After a while it's like, oh. No, you know what? I'm missing the boat more and more. So what happens is, you write another book.
Gina: Oh, it's another book or another edition? It's a whole other title. (Laughs)
Geoffrey: I mean, seven books.
Gina: That's amazing.
Geoffrey: The wheel's gone around seven times. I mean, you know, what can I tell you?
Gina: That's amazing. (Laughs) I mean, this makes a lot of sense, because ever since we had you at our client event, like, there have been many... And we're like, you know what Geoffrey Moore said? And we're like, yeah. Right? Exactly. (Laughs).
Gina: We've referenced the zones a bunch of times. It's real. It's real. And I think we're going to have you back.
Mark: Well, so I have one question on that. Is there a book number eight bouncing around in your head that, you know, you're starting to see the signs?
Geoffrey: Actually, we had, we had a little departure from the planet. So, you know, given that my demographic is now pushing toward 80, I thought, well, I want to write a book... Kind of like, a more philosophical book. So I put out a book called The Infinite Staircase, and it was an attempt to take the same kind of structural thinking, but apply it to something simple like the universe. You know, like, you know, how do we get from the Big Bang to, you know...
Gina: (Laughs) Just a light read.
Geoffrey: ...Mark, Gina and I talking to each other. With no miracles intervening. Many miraculous things, but no divine intervention. How would that happen? And if it did happen, what would that say about ethics? If you're not going to say there's a religious authorization for ethics, then what does authorize that? How does that work? So that was my latest, that was my latest book. But right now I'm using LinkedIn Blog, and I'm kind of recycling some of the earlier stuff. Because there's, you know, LinkedIn's a pretty interesting medium because it's more biteable. Reading is not exactly what it used to be. (Laughs)
Gina: Well, yeah. There's more reading, it's just shorter-form, right?
Geoffrey: Yeah. That's right, that's right. Yeah. If you can read it at Starbucks on an iPhone, it's absolutely compelling.
Gina: Then you're good to go. Right, right, right. Oh, that's interesting that using LinkedIn... I've been seeing more really interesting people choosing LinkedIn as, like, their place to publish.
Geoffrey: Yeah. What's weird now is you're starting to see LinkedIn become more like Facebook. Like, people are announcing their divorce on LinkedIn. It's like...
Geoffrey: Yeah, I think that's Facebook. I don't think that's...
Gina: No. It's true. Everything's upside down right now with all the social networks. I don't know what's what. But I have to say, I look at LinkedIn more than I ever have. For what that's worth. Well, this was just such an absolute pleasure to have you. I have to say, you were an amazing speaker at our event, highly recommend you. So, listeners who, who haven't read your books or aren't familiar with your work, where can folks find you and your latest work on just, the small questions of the universe, as well as Zone to Win?
Geoffrey: Easiest place to find things initially is LinkedIn.
Gina: Great. Geoffrey, g-e-o-f-f-r-e-y, just to be clear. (Laughs) Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate this conversation. This is so relevant to so many of our listeners and to our clients, and even, even to our organization, Mark. (Laughs)
Gina: So, we really appreciate it. We love hearing from you. Send us a note. We want to hear about your, your zone challenges. Send us a note. Catalyst@NTTdata.com. We read every single one. And definitely check out Geoffrey's books, all his books. Zone to Win really spoke to me. Crossing the Chasm, of course they're connected. Whether you're in startup or enterprise, there's just a lot of really useful wisdom to frame conversations about, I think, some of our toughest challenges. Thank you so much, Geoffrey. It was great to see you again.
Geoffrey: It's a pleasure, Gina. Mark it was great to see you as well.
Gina: Have a great day, everybody.