I had the opportunity to interview Lee Bryant, CEO of the UK-based consultancy Headshift, and the result was a somewhat long, but extremely interesting series of insights based on his work in many enterprises.Some of the topmost insights:
The Economy -- "People are still living on last year's budgets," so a lot of the momentum now is still based on last year's decisions. He expects a point of decision for many companies in the near term, which could lead to the tail-off of earlier projects. "Paradoxically, the worst you are hit [economically] the better you come out of it." Lee suggests that those that who accept the new economic realities quickly are the first to adapt, and may get a leap based on that.
ROI -- Some shell-shocked companies are continuing to fund large, expensive, and perhaps not that beneficial projects, while requiring highly detailed ROI analysis for a $50K experimental project, which is choking off innovation.
The Rise of the Social Web -- Lee has a great historical sense, and suggests that we are at a turning point, like the start of the industrial era. "We have our own railroads, our own telephone system," meaning the social web, and we have a chance to reorganize our economy around new sorts of scale, new kinds of efficiency and prodcutivity. This is going to be disruptive, but will lead to an new economy.
Change Management and Culture -- Lee makes the case that the meme about people being resisting change is a bit off the mark. People are open to adopting new things if they actually help, and will resist various vacuous arguments about 'you need to change ot die' or psuedo-mystical mumbo-jumbo about emergent values and so on. He has found it best to position these tools in the simplest most straightforward and business-oriented way.
I found myself wishing that the conversation could have gone on longer, even though it ran over 20 minutes. Lee and I will be overlapping at several conference in the next month, and I will be sure to talk to him again.
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