Travels From: Massachusetts
Fees include airfare and ground transportation for events in the United States.
We are living through the age of disruption. You can’t do big things anymore if you are content with doing things a little better than everybody else or a little different from how you did them in the past. In an era of hyper-competition and nonstop reinvention, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something special. Originality has become the acid test of strategy.
In any field, winning organizations don’t just offer competent products and services. They stand for important ideas—ideas that shape the competitive landscape of their industry and ideas that reshape the sense of what’s possible for customers, employees, and investors.
Over the past two years, Bill Taylor has had in-depth access to 25 organizations that are masters at making change—organizations that are unleashing innovations and driving transformations. 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.
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?
Now that health-care reform is the law of the land, leaders in the field will accelerate the transition from debating the merits of legislation to devising the future of their organizations—in an environment reshaped by public policy and private pressures. In this health-care-oriented keynote, Bill Taylor offers an agenda for progress and change drawn from a wide range of health-care innovators as well as innovators from other industries. He addresses the following issues:
- How do you rethink your strategy in a fast-changing environment?
- How do you manage costs and unleash innovation at the same time?
- How do you connect with customers who have higher expectations and more access to information?
- How do you design interactions that don’t just cure your patients but also ensure that they feel good about their experiences with you?
- How do you transfer creative ideas from other industries to the tightly regulated (and highly scrutinized) world of health-care?
In a world being reinvented before our eyes, the only sustainable form of leadership is thought leadership—developing a set of ideas about the future that responds to and builds on transformations in technology, culture and communications. This is true in every field, of course, but it is especially true in education—a field where ideas themselves are the coin of the realm.
In a keynote talk aimed at the challenges facing leaders responsible for school systems, colleges and universities, corporate universities and other education-based institutions, Bill Taylor offers a set of messages and a collection of case studies drawn from a range of education innovators as well as innovators in related fields. He addresses the following issues:
- How do leaders create an appetite for change in long-established organizations with a tradition of caution and conservatism?
- How do you distinguish between an enduring mission and timeless values—commitments that can never be revised—and practices and procedures that must be reinvented to stay relevant and engaging?
- What are the newest insights about how people like to learn and the best ways for leaders to teach?
- What is the “curriculum for change” that allows leaders to create the educational institutions of the 21st century?
Where do great ideas come from exactly? The traditional answer is that big ideas come from big thinkers. But what happens when markets become so unpredictable that no individual leader can think of everything? In this mind-altering presentation, Bill Taylor demonstrates the power of a new model of invention that opens your organization to the outside. Brilliant people don’t have to work for you, he explains, in order to work with you. Here are some principles for attracting the best ideas from the most people:
- Keep your focus narrow and tightly defined. There’s a big difference between tapping outside brainpower and engaging in free-form brainstorming.
- Keep broadening the participants—the most amazing ideas often come from the most surprising places.
- Don’t keep all the benefits to yourself. If you expect people to share their best ideas with you, they’ll expect something in return.
The best companies are as rigorous and creative about hiring enthusiastic staff members as they are about every other element of their business. If you believe that companies compete on the power of their ideas, then you must also believe that they compete on the quality and passion of their people. Bill Taylor’s presentation brings a hard edge to a notoriously soft topic. He shares answers to some of the most basic people-related questions:
- Why would great people want to be part of your company?
- How do you know a great person when you see one?
- How can you find great people who aren’t looking for you?
There is a paradox at the heart of the relationship between companies and customers. Products get cheaper and better, yet customers get less satisfied. That’s because when almost everything gets cheaper every year, offering customers a “good deal” won’t win them over or keep them happy. Success today is about so much more than just price, performance and quality—pure economic value. It is about emotion, passion, identity—sharing your values.
Obviously we all have to work on making our products and services more functional, more reliable and more affordable. But ultimately, the real separation in business is making our people and organizations more memorable to encounter. The key challenge for companies is to develop an emotional and psychological connection with their customers that separates them from everybody else.
In this presentation, Bill Taylor offers lessons from innovators who maintain enduring connections with their customers. He challenges his audience to answer these concerns:
- Are you irreplaceable in your customers’ eyes?
- Do you treat different customers differently?
- Is your presence in the marketplace aligned with your culture in the workplace?
Bill Taylor has a passion for the new ideas and tools driving business. He shook up the business magazine world with Fast Company, which focused on the innovators and disruptors who were reinventing their industries. His latest book, an instant best seller, is a game plan for leaders who aim to change the game at their companies.
Bill Taylor is a best-selling author, celebrated entrepreneur and groundbreaking thinker on leadership and innovation. Taylor is the author of the New York Times best seller Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win and Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, which is based on his in-depth access to 25 organizations that are making deep-seated changes under the most trying circumstances imaginable. His forthcoming book, Average Is Not an Option, is due out in 2015. These organizations (from hard-charging technology companies to long-established nonprofits, from hospitals to automakers to banks) are mastering a set of strategies and practices that define the work of leadership in turbulent times—ideas from which every leader can learn. Having made his name as a hugely successful editor and entrepreneur who co-founded and took Fast Company magazine from startup to a $340 million sale in less than six years, Taylor speaks with authority and experience on embracing people-centric approaches to leadership, a network approach to cultivating ideas and a relentless focus on being extraordinary all in the name of creating market dominance. Provocative and inspiring, Bill 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.