Travels From: Massachusetts
Fees include airfare and ground transportation for events in the United States.
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.
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?
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 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, Average Is not an Option, to present a collection of essential principles for exceptional performance—lessons about strategy, culture, service, and creativity that capture the power of business at its best. Bill’s lessons and insights are based on access to some of the world’s highest-performing organizations in a wide range of industries, from financial services to industrial distribution, from manufacturing to health care. 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.
- Never Doubt that 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.
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.
Bill Taylor has a passion for the ideas and practices that are reshaping how organizations compete, innovate, and win. As cofounder and founding editor of Fast Company, he shook up the business-magazine world and the world of business. His latest book, an instant best seller, is a game plan for leaders who aspire to change the game at their companies.
Bill Taylor is a best-selling author, celebrated entrepreneur, and groundbreaking thinker. He made his name as cofounder 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. Its editorial success led to great business success. A company that began in borrowed office space in Harvard Square eventually sold for $360 million—the second-highest price for a single magazine is U.S. history. Throughout 2015, Fast Company will organize a series of special issues and events to commemorate its 20th anniversary—an initiative called Next 20.
Taylor is the author of several best-selling books on strategy, leadership, and change. His most recent book, Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, is based on access to 25 organizations that are making deep-seated changes under trying circumstances. It is a sequel of sorts to the New York Times best seller Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. His forthcoming book, Average Is Not an Option: Why Some People Own the Future and Others Are Stuck in the Past, presents six essential principles for exceptional performance and brings them to life through case studies of some of the world’s highest-performing organizations. Taylor speaks with authority and experience, with energy and a commitment to utility, 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 competing and winning. 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.