William Taylor
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Simply Brilliant is just that--real examples of the journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Bill Taylor challenges us to think differently about elevating our organizations to be truly distinctive in what we do and how we do it. His book inspires us to accept that challenge.
Sandra L. Fenwick President and CEO, Boston Children's Hospital
I love this book so much. Greatness(!) from real people (!) in the most un-Silicon Valley(!) markets and locations imaginable. Wow!
Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence
Simply Brilliant is, well, simply brilliant! Bill Taylor empowers us with a set of basic, first-order principles in action—on the virtues of kindness, humility, and empathy—that turbocharge, and often trump, all of the more complex ideas we teach in business schools. A must read!
Len Schlesinger Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School, and President Emeritus, Babson College
A fascinating look inside companies that are rewriting the rules of success. If you’ve ever wondered whether imagination trumps knowledge and passion beats ambition, drop what you’re doing and read this book.
Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take
Bill Taylor is back—and he's better than ever! Simply Brilliant describes how to make your organization truly extraordinary by focusing on the values that set you apart from the pack. Brimming with fascinating case studies,Simply Brilliant is essential reading for leaders in every industry.
Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN
Bill Taylor has done it again. This book is going to change your business forever—when you read it, you'll understand.
Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
Bill Taylor’s attention-getting, audience-grabbing style and message really worked with our team. He was enjoyed by the entire audience.
Philips Healthcare
Bill Taylor was outstanding. He was an entertaining storyteller who did a great job of connecting the dots between our business and his knowledge of client experience and innovation.
Shook, Hardy and Bacon
Bill Taylor knocked it out of the park! He had a great style and delivery, and the message was bang-on what we were looking for. He also did the best job I've ever seen of tying his message back to comments and examples from internal speakers that spoke before him. We really enjoyed having him.
General Mills
Bill Taylor's presentation was excellent! I was sitting next to one of our senior officers who was VERY impressed with his message. So impressed that we may be considering him for another event. I did get a lot of positive feedback from the attendees on his presentation. He was a pleasure to work with.
Bill Taylor did a fantastic job. He inspired and made us think.
Panera Bread
The standing room only crowd was a testament to both Bill Taylor’s content and style and the incredible interest our participants had in his material.
Jewish Federations of North America
Practically Radical inspires leaders to produce lasting change by advancing deeply held values. The ideas are fresh, the advice is stuff you can actually use, and the results will be tangible.
Arianna Huffington, Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post

William Taylor

Founding Editor, Fast Company and Best-Selling Author, Mavericks at Work, Practically Radical and Simply Brilliant

Bill Taylor has a passion for the ideas and practices that are reshaping how organizations compete, innovate and win. As co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, he shook up the business-magazine world and the world of business. His new book shows how to unleash breakthrough creativity and cutting-edge performance in even the most traditional fields.

Simply Brilliant: Essential Principles for Exceptional Performance

You can’t do big things anymore if you are content with doing things a little better than everybody else or a little differently from how you did them in the past. In an era of hyper-competition and nonstop disruption, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special. In this provocative and far-reaching talk, Bill Taylor draws on themes and case studies from his forthcoming book, Simply Brilliant, to explain how great organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways—lessons about strategy, culture, service and creativity that amount to an exciting new agenda for the future. Bill’s lessons and insights are based on access to truly remarkable organizations in a range of familiar fields: retail banks, insurance companies, fast-food joints, department stores, an office cleaning service, heartland manufacturers, industrial distributors and even a parking garage.
Among his core principles:

  • Stop Trying to Be the Best, Strive to Be the Only: A richly defined “values proposition” beats a dollars-and-cents “value proposition.” The most successful organizations do things that other organizations can’t or won’t do. 
  • It’s Just as Important to be Kind as Clever: In an era of vast change, small acts of compassion take on outsized importance. In a world being reshaped by technology, what stand out to customers and colleagues are gestures that reaffirm our shared humanity.
  • We Is Bigger Than Me: Organizations that perform at a high level for a long time don’t just think differently from everyone else…they care more than everyone else. That’s why high-impact leaders create organizations where everyone shares a common cause.
  • What You Unleash Matters More Than What You Control: Organizations and leaders that have the biggest impact are the ones that enlist the most allies, not vanquish the most rivals. Worry less about the power you amass and more about the collisions and connections you spark.

Practically Radical: Transforming Your Company and Challenging Yourself

In business today, change is the name of the game. Leaders everywhere are engaging in a dramatic rethink of how they compete, work, and get results. But how do you break new ground when there is so much pressure to avoid mistakes? How do you keep people confident about the future in a world that seems more uncertain than ever? In short, how do you unleash long-lasting, positive change in tough, fast-moving times? Those are some of the urgent questions addressed in this inspiring and energizing talk.

In his research for Practically Radical, his most recent bestseller, Bill Taylor had in-depth access to 25 organizations that are masters at making change—organizations that are unleashing innovations and driving transformations from which every organization can learn. Using lessons set in a variety of fields (from health care to software, from automobiles to financial services, from hotels to hospitals) Bill shows his audience how to shake up their industry, transform their company, and recharge themselves. Here are some of his core messages:

  • What you see shapes how you change. The most successful companies don’t just outcompete their rivals; they redefine the terms of competition by embracing unique ideas.
  • Where you look shapes what you see. The most creative CEOs aspire to learn from innovators far outside their industry as a way to leapfrog their rivals.
  • There’s nothing wrong with your organization that can’t be fixed by what’s right with our organization. Savvy change agents don’t disavow the past. They rediscover and reinterpret what’s come before as a way to develop a line of sight into what comes next.
  • The best way to change your business is to make change a normal part of doing business. The most direct way to increase urgency is to redefine how the organization monitors results and measures success—and, in so doing, to make business as usual look like it’s bad for business.

“Practically Radical” Meets “Radically Practical”—Inspiration Plus Execution

Leaders who are eager to make change need both originality and utility—provocative thinking that can energize their organizations and roll-up-the-sleeves advice they can put to work right away. This creative program delivers that blend. In his opening remarks, Bill Taylor sets forth a set of messages about how to make long-lasting change in fast-moving times. These messages set the stage for an instructive and entertaining workshop that can take one of two forms. In one model, Bill moderates an on-stage conversation with panelists chosen for their relevance to the audience: senior executives from a company holding a leadership off-site; key customers for a company doing an annual sales meeting; and highly regarded CEOs for an association meeting. In a second model, Bill hosts a workshop in which large numbers of participants break into “table groups” to wrestle with some of his core messages and ideas, and ask how these ideas apply to their organizations.

This is a blend of the radical and the practical, the inspirational and the instructional. Here are some of the core lessons:

  • Strategy: You can’t be “pretty good” at everything anymore. You have to be the most of something: the most affordable, the most accessible, the most elegant, the most colorful, the most transparent. Today, the middle of the road is the road to ruin. 
  • Innovation: The most powerful ideas come from the most unexpected places—the “hidden genius” inside your company, the “collective genius” of customers, suppliers and other smart people. It may be lonely at the top, but change is not a game best played by loners. 
  • Leadership: In a world that never stops changing, great leaders can never stop learning. How do you push yourself as an individual to keep growing and evolving, so that your company can do the same?


Don’t Let What You Know Limit What You Imagine: A New Agenda for Leaders

In a world that is being remade before our eyes, leaders who make a difference are the ones who can reimagine what’s possible at their company and in their field. Put simply, the best leaders are the most insatiable learners. The defining challenge of leadership today is to help their organizations see things that other organizations don’t see, and thus get to the future first. In this keynote address, Bill Taylor offers a new agenda for leadership and creativity gleaned from the most inspiring leaders he’s encountered over the last 25 years. In these head-spinning times, an era of game-changing business models, disruptive technologies, and ever-increasing customer expectations, the challenge for leaders is not to out-hustle, out-muscle, or out-maneuver the competition. It is to out-think the competition in ways big and small, to develop a unique point of view about the future. Therefore, the most important questions leaders face are as simple as they are profound.

  • Are you prepared to challenge the “paradox of expertise”? Knowledge is power…unless it gets in the way of innovation. Most leaders in most fields have a kind of tunnel vision: They chase the same opportunities everyone else is chasing, they miss the same opportunities everyone else is missing. The most effective leaders use fresh eyes to develop a new line of sight into what’s possible with their organization. 
  • Are you as determined to stay interested as to be interesting?  Plenty of leaders try to make themselves interesting. Great leaders work to keep themselves interested—interested in big problems, interested in the talents of their colleagues, interested in the enduring mission of the enterprise and all-new ways to bring that mission to life. 
  • Are you learning, as an organization and as an individual, as fast as the world is changing? If you can get the best ideas from the widest variety of places, then you’ve got the best chance to out-think the competition. As the proverb says, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” The best leaders never stop learning.

Meet William Taylor

Bill Taylor has a passion for the ideas and practices that are reshaping how organizations compete, innovate and win. As co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, he shook up the business-magazine world and the world of business. His new book shows how to unleash breakthrough creativity and cutting-edge performance in even the most traditional fields.

Bill Taylor is a best-selling author, celebrated entrepreneur and groundbreaking thinker. He made his name as co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, one of the most influential magazines of the last two decades. Fast Company has won countless awards, from “Startup of the Year” in its early days to 2014’s “Magazine of the Year,” the highest honor in its field, and has earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs around the world. Its editorial success led to great business success. A company that began in borrowed office space in Harvard Square eventually sold for $340 million—the second-highest price for a single magazine is U.S. history. Fast Company recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary and continues to shape the global conversation about business.

Since starting Fast Company, Taylor has written three books on growth, leadership and change. His new book is Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways (2016). Simply Brilliant offers a set of messages and a collection of case studies on how to unleash breakthrough creativity and cutting-edge performance in even the most traditional, hard-to-change fields. His last book, Practically Radical, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller. His previous book, Mavericks at Work, was a New York Times bestseller and was named a “Business Book of the Year” by The Economist and the Financial Times.

Taylor speaks with authority and experience, with energy and a commitment to utility, on how to stand for something extraordinary in a world of hyper-competition and nonstop change, the connection between who you are in the marketplace and how you lead in the workplace, and the importance of making sure that what you know about your field doesn’t limit what you can imagine about the future. Provocative and inspiring, Taylor offers firsthand accounts of how game changers are transforming their companies and shaking up their industries—and insights into how you can do the same in your own organization.

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