Podcast 886: Provoke: How Leaders Shape the Future by Overcoming Fatal Human Flaws 1st Edition with Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach

#Do something! is the main piece of advise shared by my guests in my recent podcast about the book they co-authored entitled Provoke: How Leaders Shape the Future by Overcoming Fatal Human Flaws – 1st Edition.”

I am referring to renowned strategy consultants and best-selling authors Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach who also wrote “Detonate: Why – And How – Corporations Must Blow Up Best Practices (and bring a beginner’s mind) To Survive” a couple of years back.

In this interview with Geoff and Steven, we discuss behavioral patters and trends and recognizing the “phase change” that happens when an uncertainty resolves from being a question of “if” to being a matter of “when”.  We also talk about the five Provoke Quintet discussed in the book as the general models of provocation: Envision, Position, Drive, Adapt and Activate.

Are you practicing the provoke mindset?  If you want to know more about the provoke mindset and how to be a successful provocateur, you will want to listen to this very engaging interview.

To learn more about Geoff and Steven and their book Provoke: How Leaders Shape the Future by Overcoming Fatal Human Flaws – 1st Edition,” please click here to be directed to their website.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The best leaders have conviction to act–even in the face of uncertainty–in order to “provoke” the future they desire.  They are able to identify important inflection points earlier than others and then use actions to shape trends to their advantage rather wait for the change to arrive.

From the national bestselling authors who brought you Detonate: Why- and how- corporations must blow up best practices (and bring a beginner’s mind) to survive authors Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach explain why we act the way we do when faced with uncertainty and provide tools to do things differently.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

GEOFF TUFF 

Geoff is a principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP and holds various leadership positions across its Sustainability, Innovation, and Strategy practices. In the past, he led Doblin, the firm’s innovation practice, and was a senior partner at Monitor Group, serving as a member of its global Board of Directors before the company was acquired by Deloitte. He has been with some form of Monitor for close to 30 years.

Geoff’s work centers on helping clients transform their businesses to grow and compete in nontraditional ways. Over the course of his career, Geoff has worked in virtually every industry and he uses his breadth and diversity of experience to bring novel insights about how things might operate to clients stuck in industry conventional wisdom. Geoff is valued for his integrative approach to solving problems; he combines deep analytic and strategic expertise with a natural orientation toward approaches embodied in design thinking.

STEVEN GOLDBACH

Steven Goldbach is a principal at Deloitte and serves as the firm’s chief strategy officer. He is a globally recognized strategist and executive advisor.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Steve was a partner at Monitor Group and co-head of its New York office. Additionally, Steve was previously the Director of Strategy at Forbes.

Steve helps executives and their teams transform their organizations by making challenging and pragmatic strategy choices in the face of uncertainty. He is an architect, expert practitioner, and teacher of a wide array of strategy and innovation methods and tools. Over a 25+ year career, Steve has served clients across most industries, with an emphasis on industries in transition and consumer-driven sectors.

 

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside personal growth. This is Greg Voisen, the host of inside personal growth and for all my listeners. Steven is in the upper left-hand corner if you're watching this on video, Geoff tough is on the lower side here if you're watching it on video for all of you who are just listening to this podcast. Great. We have two great authors on one of them is joining us from his New York resident, and that's Steven Goldbach and Geoff toughs is joining us from Connecticut, is that right, Geoff,

Geoff Tuff
actually, so I was in Rhode Island, I'm now in Massachusetts.

Greg Voisen
Massachusetts. Yes, that's Massachusetts now. Well thank you both, both for being on this show. The book we're going to be talking about is provoke how leaders shape the future by overcoming fatal human flaws, this is first edition, they have another book out, that we'll put a link to detonate, which we'll also put a link to as well. And you guys can check them out on Amazon, we'll put a link to Amazon as well. So, Steven, let me start with you, Steven is a principal at Deloitte and serves as the firm's chief strategy officer. He is a globally recognized strategist and executive advisor prior to joining Deloitte, Stephen was a partner at monitor group and a co-head of its New York office. Additionally, he was a director of strategic strategy at Forbes. Steve helps executives and their teams transform their organizations by making challenging and pragmatic strategy choices in the face of uncertainty. And as I said the prior book that they had was the book is detonate why and how companies need to blow up best practices and bring a beginner's mind to survive. On the other side of the screen is Geoff tuff Geoff is a principal at Deloitte Consulting and he holds various leadership positions across its sustainability innovation and strategy practices in the past. He had led Dublin, the firm's innovation practices and was a senior partner at monitor group serving as a member of the global board of directors, before the company was acquired by Deloitte. He has been with some form of monitor for close to 30 years. Geoff works centers on helping clients transform their businesses to grow and compete in non-traditional ways. And they're both sought after speakers. They hold degrees from he does Dartmouth College and Harvard, Steven, I forgot to tell people where your degrees were from where

Steven Goldbach
we Queen's University in Canada and Columbia Business School.

Greg Voisen
Good. So we have two very intelligent men on the phone here to talk about their new book called provoke, you know, start this question off, and you guys, I may move around, because I do that, but in your chapter on patterns from the past, because that's kind of how this starts, you mentioned predictable patterns or trends that too many executives failed to anticipate, and again, you know, in our modern world today. We all talk about speed we know things are moving fast, we know things are changing every day, every week, every month for most of the executives out there trying to see around corners, as our good friend said we talked about before. You also mentioned that you've seen those over and over again, and are prompted you to write provoke, in other words these mistakes about trying to kind of predict what's going to be happening. Can you share those patterns of behavior that this is what's happening with leaders, you know, they've fallen into these patterns? Well, we'll get into some of the cognitive side of that as well, and why these are important, important in writing provoke.

Steven Goldbach
Well I'll, I'll kick us off, Greg. The, the pattern that we observe is effectively a four-stage process, you know, we see leaders starting by just flat out missing really important trends that are pertinent to their business. And when those trends are eventually brought to their attention to some extent we see the behavior pattern to deny the trend to some out question its validity to question the analysis that underpins the observation of the trend. And then after that stage is over, they get into the stage of now they start to look at the trend and over analyze it so they, they want to understand it from every angle from every possible angle this is all before actually taking any action. And then when finally they get around to taking action it's usually too late to have any bearing on the, on the business, and it's responding meekly. So why is this important right now why is that pattern of behavior so problematic because we're living in a world of exponential technologies, and those exponential technologies are causing business models to quickly become obsolete because the technology enables benefits that are either an order of magnitude better from the customer standpoint or an order of magnitude cheaper, so you don't have time to go through that cycle and then respond meekly, and so we are here to say that the better action is to do something earlier because that uncertainty that they're feeling is going to, you're going to learn more about the uncertainty by provoking it and doing something against it, then you will by studying it,

Geoff Tuff
And I will if I could just add very briefly to that Greg, sure, you know, the interesting thing in all of this is, as Steve described some of those challenges a lot of executive’s face. These are not dumb people. Okay, so and so we're talking about very successful executives at some of the world's biggest companies and the reality is all of those tendencies to miss the trend or deny the trend or overanalyze the trend. Their learned behaviors, but their learned behaviors that came from a different context and a different time for basically the history of business we've lived in a world of linear change is just the reality of the world, as it's been up until about six or seven years ago and it's really only been the course of the last call it five or six years where we really started to see some of the impact of exponentials, hitting the markets that we work in, so we're not here to say everything you've done in the past has been completely ridiculous we're simply saying, You got to shift your behavior given the way that the context in which we all operate it is changing itself.

Greg Voisen
Well I know in succession planning guys look we have a lot of very mature senior leaders in many spots. And, Well, on one hand, that's a big strength from my other hand it's like. So when do these people step down to bring in new leaders who are literally in with the times, right, they have ideas, these are graduates from business school and other places and maybe not even graduates, but they do know how to put the dots together what comments would you guys make about, you know, obviously, Marshall Goldsmith and all the other ones that are out there talking about how are we going to do succession planning is important, but the reality right now is do we need that shift in leadership.

I'll start off Geoff, I don't I don't I don't think it's an age thing. So I think that the notion that there's a younger version of leader who somehow is more in tune with these events I think that's, that's I don't believe that that's the case, I believe that there is a curiosity factor that there's a willingness to learn and adapt that is the thing that makes the difference between leadership in these times and leadership in the past, and so there is something to be said for experience. And we write when we write, we talked about this, we think, really important quality of leadership is the ability to take a different position when there's new data available to support a different one and so we think the most important quality is the ability to learn and adapt and change your leadership behaviors in the face of these things as opposed to trying the same leadership tactic over and over again.

Geoff Tuff
Although I will add to that. All that said, I would say it's, there's reasonably good proof out there that some of the qualities that we believe will make good leaders in the future are more natural for people who have entered the workforce more recently than they have been people who have grown up decades and decades in business decades and decades ago and that can help it be in some way related to, quote unquote, age, but it's actually, I think it has to do with experience as much as anything you can have an older executive who's new to an industry who can bring the beginner's mind that you need to look at things differently, but facility with digital technologies, openness to working through ecosystems instead of putting up barriers, thinking about how we can actually leverage technology to our advantage, instead of being worried about it as a disruption, those are things that are naturally kind of ingrained in the way that people learn in school and business school today.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, you guys both speak about these biases and like I said we're going to get to them and when we do have ingrained biases in generations. That's why people talk about the various generations that we have. So in chapter two where you said we believe human behaviors is the most basic subatomic element of business. What advice did you give the leaders listening to us in shaping up the future of overcoming what you call these fatal human flaws, because, hey, the word fatal. To me, you know that's pretty tough word you're saying that it's a catastrophe. Literally, it's like it you know you detonate it you blew it. Right, so speak with us about that if you would, Geoff.

Geoff Tuff
Yeah, I'd be happy to talk about that and I will just offer apologies for what may be a slightly hyperbolic word in the title, but we actually, we do believe there are real constraints to advance and I'm sure we'll talk more about devices specifically and why we think they get in the way but, you know, starting with the first part of your question, the human behavior point, is one that Steve and I have learned, I think deeply through both of our careers in strategy consulting and it comes down to the basic notion that the best way to drive the creation of new economic value is to focus on very specific behaviors that themselves have economic value and disproportionately align your resources and your efforts to go after those behaviors that have the most upside potential. And so let me try to explain that in slightly less consultancy speak. I think we had I think Steve agrees with me on this, I think we as businesspeople, as executives have lost sight of the fact that there are some just fundamental purposes to business if you're a profit-oriented entity. And instead what we've done over time is we've layered on every organization processes and playbooks and rules and requirements and so we spend the vast majority of our time every day thinking about how to fill out a template or how to plan a meeting or how to write an agenda or things that may or may not be actually specifically related to making our business successful. At the heart of business is the movement of human behavior. And so our, this is overstating for effect slightly but our basic rules for how to be a successful business are first of all, understand the human beings that constitute your value chain, and I don't care how digital accompany you may be, you still have human beings behind the scene we're not just talking about, customers, we're talking about customers and employees and suppliers and regulators and everyone that's involved in your business value chain. Number two, understand the relative economic value of shifting one group's behavior versus another group's behavior, and that does not have to be a massive competent model to figure that out most executives understand where the hotspots of their business are, and you just need to do the comparative math to understand is it better for us to go and try to change that behavior or this behavior. And then as I said before, focus your efforts and focus your investments on driving those behaviors, That's it, and if that's not the vast majority of what you're doing day in day out. As a person within an organization, then you're probably wasting a lot of time.

Greg Voisen
So, let me, let me go back and state this, Geoff we’re dealing with multiplicity problems that people are having not all related to the pandemic but a lot related to the pandemic of course and obviously change happening and I just learned yesterday that a large furniture manufacturer client of mine decided to pull out everything out of Taiwan and decided to bring everything to Mexico because they can’t get shipping containers shipping up to bring to Mexico. I’m just using one small example, now, to take that example and multiply it. How do you as consultants assist those individuals in provoking, this is a good one the ability to kind of see that coming and saying, look, the cost of shipping something overseas now is going to be far more expensive than it was 12 months ago, so let’s shift gear here. What do you do to get them change their mindset to do that? That’s probably not the greatest example but it’s an example.

Geoff Tuff
Yeah, let me start this to talk about some of the biases that we think get in the way because this may sound over overly simplified Greg but I think it's less about changing a mindset, and more about encouraging them to not forget that the, the playing field that they now operate in is way wider than it ever has before we it's no longer sufficient to just look forward in a reasonably linear fashion, we need to consider all possibilities, and many executives understand that, but unfortunately the fatal human flaws we talked about before the individual biases combining together to with to create organizational tendencies, take what they recognize to be a necessary open view of the playing field, and it constrains their view further and further and further and so Steve, why don't I, why don't I hand off to you to talk about but,

Greg Voisen
Well, I, I'll add to that, Steven because you know you speak about the human biases that create the precondition for systemic organizational blindness. I think that's exactly what I just talked about with that previous question. That was a blind spot to finally go well, we didn't have any idea but you did. If you look at history if you knew the indices, you would see that that was coming. Talk to the listeners have you worried about the cognitive biases and why these biases, contribute to the inability of the individuals or companies to see now in that case, it was to see that trend to see that shipping prices were going up, let's just use that same example.

Steven Goldbach
Yeah, well, so, so, and let's put a pin in this example to come back to it when we invariably talk about scenario thinking later on, because that can be one of the tools that they can use, but let's okay so how do we make decisions, Greg. Right, what we do as human beings is there is almost a limitless pool of information and data available to us as human beings and I don't mean data as in binary or spreadsheets, I mean, just what we observe and see every day. But what we do as human beings is we select some of that data, and we process it in our brains, and then we draw a conclusion about it, and what the challenge that we have is that because of various different cognitive biases, it causes us to select some data, and not other data and we literally don't see that data, right, and those biases are things like a bias for the status quo, right, we have a preference, we have a leaning towards things that are happening now because we experienced deviation from the status quo as a loss and as human beings we are loss averse

Greg Voisen
And a lot of times just to step in sorry, but a CEO will take the path of least resistance. So they think it's the least resistance, but it turns out not being in other words, they're so conditioned to go down the same way that they just keep going down that same way because that's the vendor they used and they figured everything was going to be great. And they didn't explore or they weren't curious about the other opportunities that were available to them.

Steven Goldbach
Yes, totally right and one of the things that Geoff and I are fond of saying is that the status quo has a real challenge with it, it comes with the fact that it doesn't feel risky. But in a world of exponential change, it actually is incredibly risky, but it doesn't feel it, it's like, oh my goodness, it feels good but you really shouldn't do it and doing something different taking action in a new way, feels really risky, but actually isn't very risky because you're trying to do something and you're going to learn from, from doing that. So, the status quo bias is one of those examples of those cognitive blinders aspects heuristic bias which is we require a strong effect emotional feeling in order to move, or whether it's an overconfidence bias there are a number of these cognitive biases again and Geoff said importantly earlier, it's not because leaders are, you know, incompetent or evil or stupid, it's because we're human beings. And I'm including we because we are all subject to the same biases. And so when you couple those cognitive biases which with the way that we tend to interact in teams, and in organizations and large-scale organizations like doing things like avoiding embarrassment in meetings that further constrains the availability of that information what information it selects and what it discusses in order to make that decision reinforcing stuff that feel safe, but isn't,

Greg Voisen
But is it is it enough to just make people aware of their biases because I have a feeling that the human condition defaults back to it? And I and I. Look, you guys are brought up a wonderful point here, and that is we're conditioned, we have a biases these biases exist unless somebody points them out to us, we probably are doing this blindly. Okay, we’re making these decisions blindly. What is the step the next step, the two of you would take as consultants to not only bring awareness, but then to say now with this awareness? Let's take a different path.

Geoff Tuff
So I would actually argue that awareness really does matter Gregg naming something and making it discussable that is a very foundational step to starting to remove those blinders and when I say making it discussable I mean actually openly discussable in meetings where you can say you're falling prey to the availability bias right now let's, let's try to work beyond that but there are more structural steps we can take, and ways of acting, recognizing that we're never going to completely get rid of the biases, as you say there are as I interpreted your comment they're deeply ingrained, they're human. And so I see why don't you talk a little bit about the importance of cognitive diversity and some of what we advocate for in the book related to that,

Greg Voisen
and why you're talking about that maybe you want to take on explaining this peripheral vision, which you mentioned, because that is, you can't see what you're blinded to, that's what I just said right I said it in a different way but that's what you said in the book, and you can't address what you can't see. Okay, so what are some of the best anecdotes which is the way I've didn't phrase the question the same way, to a narrowing of organizational peripheral vision. And I'm going to say individual peripheral vision, because in the end, there's one person probably in a team that's going to make a decision. And so because we don't want to hurt feelings, or we have a bias toward a certain vendor because they're a good guy, or they have given us great pricing in the past or whatever it might be. These are all things that are happening all the time.

Steven Goldbach
Well that's a great wall that we have we have comfort with the vendor is a great example of both the status quo bias the availability bias and the and aspects, your risk bias, all in all in one fell swoop Greg and I, it is helpful to name them, but we can't forget that we are still subject to the biases, even if we're aware of them. And so one of the things that we think is the most important thing to do is make sure that you've got a diverse team. And why is diversity so important. And by diversity. I mean cognitive diversity. It's been proven that cognitively diverse teams, the teams that think about problems in different ways. We'll see more of that information because they'll end they'll process it differently. But where does cognitive diversity come from real world diversity, different backgrounds, different, different upbringings, different countries of origin, different ethnicities that all contributes to cognitive-to-cognitive diversity and if you're solving increasingly complex and new problems, you need that diversity in order to see enough to have that peripheral vision because if you don't have the diversity. You're everyone's subject to the exact same biases, and therefore the group's blinders are pretty narrow. As you start to diversify the team, the bias, he starts to cancel each other out and you can see more of the periphery. And so that's the, the starting thing that we would recommend.

Greg Voisen
Well, you, you talked about in the book that provoked quintet. I thought that was great. We say it. Can you tell the listeners more about the five general models that you talked about that you stated in the book and why it's important to the provoke mindset? Now, I can see you guys taking these biases and supplanting a new word called the provoke mindset, because the mind is actually going to pick up on something like the provoked mindset, it gets like, oh great, are we now practicing the provoked mindset here at XYZ company. And the reality is, that's the term that we need to use to replace the old language that we were using that was creating the biases to begin with.

Geoff Tuff
Absolutely, that totally makes sense and we totally agree with you and by the way just as a hint we did the same thing with detonate with the detonate mindset and that seemed to work pretty well and getting people to try to take action on it.

Greg Voisen
No, I like your provoke mindset a lot I think it's great if you don't mind I'm going to borrow it.

Geoff Tuff
Oh please, please borrow it and spread it. So there's actually a lot packed into your question it's I mean it is one of the most central questions related to the book so let me describe the general model that we have in mind here and what that provoke quintet is. So, one thing we haven't talked about so far in this interview is that with exponential change comes a shift in the nature of the environment in which we're operating away from a world that's governed primarily by risk to a world that's governed primarily by uncertainty. And what risk as we've as Steve and I have said many times, risk is measurable and therefore manageable, uncertainty, you can't measure, you can't manage it. The only way to add contours to uncertainty is to go provoke a reaction in the market, whether you're talking about an external market and or internal market and see what happens. And so at the heart of the provoked mindset is engendering the belief that we have to overcome the desire to get perfect data before we go and do something we want people to take smaller steps more quickly in order to provoke reactions from the outside world. So, the provoke quintet is founded on the idea that whenever you're looking at uncertain at an uncertain trend, you know, some uncertainties never come to fruition and they just kind of, they evaporate which are not the ones we're concerned about other uncertainties actually do resolve at some point from being a question of if they're going to happen to being simply a question of when we may not know everything about them but we know that eventually this uncertainty will resolve and become a reality. We don't know exactly when it's going to land or at what rate, but there is something that Steve and I called the phase change between if to win. That is the critical moment that we all need to be on the lookout for because if we as leaders can recognize the phase change earlier than anyone else position our well ourselves for it, and then take advantage as we pass through that phase changes something changes for being an F to a win, then we create advantage for our organizations. So very briefly, the five moves that the provoke quintet, that we think can enable them, we're happy to go into any or all of these in more detail but the five moves that run roughly sequentially through that phase change off to win are envisioning the future. And I'll talk more about that as we dive into envision in more detail, positioning yourself based on the way that you're envisioning the future, and that those are the two foundational capabilities the two strategies that will get you to that fight phase change when you enter the phase change you then have one of three options and they're not mutually exclusive, sometimes you can work. All three of them at different points in time but you either drive the outcomes you're looking for, you adapt your model to respond to the eventuality of a market that may or may not be in your advantage. Or you can activate an ecosystem to drive towards the type of future that you'd like to see. So those are the very briefly just naming them, those are the five, five aspects of the quintet.

Greg Voisen
Well I think it's important, and I didn't have you guys hold up the book but if you would now hold up the book. For all my listeners. There you go. This is the book you guys want to get, because this is going to give every leader, an opportunity to actually shape the future. Now, it's not the book that will shape the future it's the ideas, you'll take out of the book that you actually apply. And what I find when I do these podcasts, it's always like, Well, how do I distill this down and apply it. Now I happen to be listened to a podcast and I think this is very relatable. It was on TEDx and it was the health podcast, they were talking about the two scientists that worked on the MS, RN, for the thing for the COVID Right. And they talked about the experimentation that was required in the process because they knew they had the disease right they had the virus, right, but they had to see how those proteins attached I think the scientific mind is really an interesting mine about studying how I could take a protein so that it would release. Now, I use this example for this reason. If I know a certain field really well, but I don't know about the uncertainty of this particular unknown. Okay, which is what we're talking about. You said risks we can manage. We can figure it out. We all knew that virus wasn't unknown. Right. Um, but then to be able to get your hands around it in nine months, and really do something about it and create a vaccine was just mind blowing to me these two German scientists right that we're speaking originally from Turkey, I think, actually, but all of us have the same problem, we just don't know that we have it. Okay, we all have those levels of uncertainty, right. The question I would ask you guys you say in chapter six you tell a story about Mobile Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. And in 2015 I'd like you to share the story with listeners in relation to envisioning, seeing the future. That's the chapter in the book that you were talking about I know which one of you is going to talk about it, but it's, it's relatable to my audience.

Geoff Tuff
So I'll talk about it, Greg because the dirty little secret, we start off that chapter by saying one of us is an avid sailor, and we had some discussion about whether we should name that person, and I'll just add myself I'm doing me yeah, I'm, I'm the one who likes the sailing. But so, first of all I want to I want to react to your story about the podcast, then I'll come back and talk about envision, I couldn't agree with you more. In the end I don't know everything about how the how the how the protein release study was done but I'm pretty sure those scientists did not sit back and study all the past data about how vaccines have worked in the past. Instead, what they were doing is trial after trial after trial after trial on the bench in the lab until they actually discovered more about it that's exactly the motivation and

Greg Voisen
And then, and Geoff. On top of that, worldwide shared the data. Now granted Pfizer was behind us okay so granted there's a big corporation, it's going to make a lot of money in the end and I'm not going to go there with that, but Pfizer funded, they funded this, right. But my point was is they had an unlimited pocketbook to actually continue to test and test and test and test, and that's exactly what I'm talking about.

Geoff Tuff
Yeah, and so I think the challenge for all of us is how can we discover I'd like to think that those tests, if they were obviously we had a worldwide pandemic do get under control there so that the spend was probably worth it but there are ways you can run tests really quickly and really cheaply that don't need to require the backing of a large fortune 100 company to get there. Anyway, back to back to Mobile Bay so the story that we tell him that and I won't dwell on the story itself and instead dwell on the learnings, but this is a story of a, of a sailing race that has been raised down in in Mobile Bay for years and years, the dolphin Island race I believe it was called and it's something that I think, and I don't know all the aspects of the story so forgive me if I get some of the details exactly wrong but the same people entered the race every single year, it's kind of a local community race it was something that everyone had some well-worn grooves around they understood how long it would take them if they went if they entered the race they knew how long the race was going to take they knew roughly their preferred route they knew the prevailing winds of the of the of the bay. And as I said it had been it had been run for, I think decades before this incident in 2015. We like sailing as an analogy for how we need to think because sailors as we say in the book our natural scenario planners, so they go out for a sail and I can report this myself. You go out for a sail with a basic idea in mind about how the sail is going to go, and you know what the tide is and how strong the wind is and what have you, but the, the art of sailing the, or even just the, the, the job of sailing, is to constantly be on the lookout for changes and what you assumed was going to happen. You're always looking for wind shifts, you're always looking for other boats are always slightly changing the sail trim to try to go a little bit faster or what have you. And that's most of the time why, why, sailing adventures end up in a good way. This day things ended up in a really bad way because there was a net it was a something equivalent to 100 year collision of storm cells over the race that no one had predicted they all knew that there were storms possible in the in the forecast, but no one predicted that both these storms could hit simultaneously with the ferocity that they did, because they didn't, they forgot to be scenario planners in the moment, they didn't consider all the eventualities or the possible eventualities, even though some of them might be very remote. So we tell the story in this and there's a lot more to the story that you'll find in the book we tell it at the beginning of this chapter because this chapter is all about the Envision provocation. It's about using scenario planning as a better way to look towards the future, historically, I would argue that most businesses have had a dominant version of how the future is going one fold, and then they run some sensitivity analyses around upside and downside so that they, so that they're not putting all their eggs in one basket, but there's basically as they look towards the future. There's a primary path that they think is going to be the right one for them. Scenario planners instead say you know what we don't know, the way the future is going to turn out. We have no clue, and actually we need to have the humility to recognize that we have no clue. And instead, what we're going to do is paint in sufficient relief, multiple different versions of what the future are going to be that are quite different from one another, and then importantly, we're going to place our bets against all, usually there's four scenarios in any good scenario plan but we're going to place bets against all four of those not necessarily an equal proportion but we're going to prepare ourselves even for the possible eventuality of two super cells colliding over a race, just to extend the extend the story into that. And so that, that when I mentioned at the beginning of the description of the provoke quintet, that envision foundation runs throughout the ability to be a provocateur, if you can think in terms of scenarios, instead of predicted futures you're going to be in a better position to act in Acts sooner than many others will and therefore create advantage for yourself.

Greg Voisen
And it's very well put. And I think your example is excellent. What I do know about sailing versus running a company, is that most CEOs don't know their life depends on it. Whereas when you get in a sailboat, you know your life depends on it a little bit different situation when you're running scenario planning. If every CEO came to work every day, saying my life depended on it, you might see more of that activity taking place, charting the winds making sure that you know the weather was going to be right, all of that, because I see them get in the middle of the storms and one of the examples that Jonathan really use in rogue wave was the Titanic. They knew when the Titanic went across that there were 1800 I didn't even know this 1800 icebergs out there. And yet, the captain of the ship, ran full speed, knowing that at that time of year. Those icebergs were there. Now that was crazy because if you knew it. Why would you take an action that would risk, the ship, which it did obviously it's something? And in chapter seven you tell different stories about provocate tears and mentioned that we all have the power to be provoked tears, no matter our title, or perceived position relative to others or age or experience. What advice, Steven, can you give our listeners on how to become successful provocateurs, in other words, hey everybody in the company needs to be a provocateur, you need to have a provocative mindset, you need to have that provoked mindset, right, because you can come from the bottom of the company, and give the company an idea that could actually be the winning formula. Right,

Steven Goldbach
Totally Greg and I would come back to you, you would, We talked earlier about the notion that these human flaws were fatal and I think it's important to note here that they can be fatal to a company, so the inability to see when exponential change is happening around you is increasingly a fatal flaw when it comes to the though the lifeline of business and so that's, hence the reason for the fatal in that in that term, as far as what it takes to be a great to be a great provocateur, I would say, being a practicing scenario planning like Geoff talked about in the prior in the prior segment but also an innate curiosity about your customer. And so I think one of the things that we see littered in the world is great technologies that had no customer use or didn't make the life of a customer better in any way shape or form. And so, in order to be. You've got to be really curious on how you can delight your customer in some important way. And when you change the way a customer makes a decision about what product or service, she might buy what you do is you change the algorithm by which business trance transpires in that particular segment when you're changing the algorithm. It's super important. So for example, in the pandemic. Lots of us had local grocery stores. I bet you, some of us switched the grocery stores to stores that offered curbside delivery quicker than others because that all of a sudden the algorithm of where you shopped became a safety question not just a convenience question or not just a brand selection question. So being able to flip a long-standing way that the industry gets segmented into some other way is super important and that comes from a mindset of curiosity about what would delight those customers.

Greg Voisen
That’s a great statement.

Geoff Tuff
I made sure I want to make sure that when people hear you talking about customers do that they hear it in the way we intended which is sometimes literally customers in a market, sometimes it's a talent base within an organization for example your employees are your customers sometimes as an executive so we're not just limiting this to people who buy products there are people through the value chain, but sorry Greg I interrupted,

Greg Voisen
No. No. No. I mean, look, we can all go back to looking at Blockbuster and Netflix and AMC now that went down the toilet and we can talk about all kinds of things that when you guys say, uncertainty, you know, could blockbuster have done something could AMC have done something in the light of a pandemic. To change the complexion or where they were going to go and you look, the streets are riddled with success stories and failures, fatal flaws, fatal flaws and decisions that were made. And in chapter nine you describe these ecosystems and I remember from my own business studies. I remember Margaret Wheatley talking about this you guys you're probably old enough to remember, Margaret Wheatley, and she was a biologist who used to use that in the business world, the ecosystems, right, as one of the best ways to sense respond and to then appropriately accelerate a phase change to a more certain and desirable future. Right, so it's like okay I put something nasty in the ecosystem, and it starts to affect every cell inside that you know that, too, which is what we're talking about with the, with the COVID, provoke invokes working, and through an ecosystem to get things done can you share with the listeners your stories about the ecosystems and why it suddenly seems to be the hot new thing in management thinking?

George Tuff
Greg I'm sure we could spend an entire hour on this subject

Greg Voisen
Probably.

George Tuff
Maybe we can do it some other time but let me just hit one aspect of it which I think is really important to consider as we try to think about creating advantage and in the quote unquote exponential times, one of the uses of ecosystem is to approximate scale really quickly. Okay, so if you tap yourself into an ecosystem, you suddenly have a set of abilities that are far broader and far more capable than if you try to build it all on your own. Okay and there's that there's a reason why that's so critical right now. Historically, scale has largely been a benefit for businesses and an advantage for businesses because it allows for efficiency. It could be it could be efficiency and tapping into sources of supply it can be efficiency and tapping into demand systems but, ultimately, big companies wanted to get bigger because it made them more efficient, and it gave them more advantage that way. Increasingly, in this exponent in these exponential times, there are, there's another reason to achieve scale, and that is that it gives you the ability to learn better and faster than anyone else out there. We think that that to Steve's point about curiosity we think that those with access to information that breadth of information as quickly as possible are one of our, that's one of the aspects that will make companies successful as we try to act more in the moment and provoke reactions from the uncertain markets that we serve. If you're, if you're a critical node in an ecosystem. Think about it as lighting up a cellular network if you will where you put a pulse out to the ecosystem to try to understand what the effects are going to be, you're going to, you're going to get a lot stronger and more varied signal coming back if you send it out through an ecosystem than if you try to work on your own to run test after test after test out into the market. That's, that's just one reason why ecosystems are so effective these days, as I said we could talk about many other aspects of it, but that's one of the reasons why we really advocate, tapping into ecosystems as a mechanism for getting to be more provocative.

Greg Voisen
Well I think the example I gave earlier about scientists working on the virus for I should say the vaccine for COVID was the ecosystem was so large. The to draw from the data was worldwide, sharing data because we their life depended on it. There wasn't an hour a minute a day because they saw these people dying, that they literally wanted to share data and cooperate, instead of, hey, you know, it's mine, this is, this is Pfizer's we're going to keep it. No, we're going to share this data, and come up with a solution with many minds working on it, a really good point you made, thank you. You know guys in wrapping up the interview. If you were to leave the listeners with three things that I always love this part, where they could take away from the book, and apply to their business and their employees. What advice would you like to give the listeners today about provoke becoming a provocateur here. Taking. I don't want to call it calculated risks. I'm learning more about uncertainty, what might be uncertainty in your uncertainty in your field, what could you see that could be uncertain that might affect it. What would you guys leave them with,

Steven Goldbach
Geoff, why don't I start and you pile on. I would say one thing that Greg I would leave and this is a common element I think across all of the provocateurs that we profiled in the last part of the book, Valerie rain for Debbie Beale and Ryan Gravelle. The thing was a passion for what they're doing. And so if you want to be a provocateur, you've got to pick something to be incredibly passionate about because otherwise you'll just lose steam I think life's too short not to have fun doing what you're doing, and it's that that's an incredibly important part of the equation is to be able to have fun, it's at that and when you're doing something that you're really passionate about the fun will come along so if you're going to be a provocateur, pick your spots where it matches you well, where you're going to do that and then the, the one other thing I'll, I'll add and then let Geoff fill in is that you got to be curious, you got to be curious about the world, you got to be interested in learning because you're not going to provoke anything if you kind of believe that you're right about everything I think you've got to be skeptical about your own point of view and very open that you could be wrong about something so curiosity and passion and having fun are a few things that I

Greg Voisen
You sound like Steven Kotler and the art of impossible so his was like focus is free, curiosity after curiosity find three passions string them together after those passions create the goals, and then the subset goals and after that, you better have lots of grit and determination because you're not even halfway there yet. You've literally defined what the passion is. But now you got to eke it out to do that and I think the formula applies here as well. It's like okay, find out what you're curious about from that curiosity develop those passions, from those passions come together with a plan and a strategy about how you're going to execute on the passions, you want to create, or what you want to do, and then work like hell to get there.

Geoff Tuff
As Steve says you know that the stories of the provocateurs in the in the third part of our book real life people have accomplished amazing things, yes. Couldn't be better illustrations of that Greg, I look just to wrap up really quickly, we talked about one of my pieces of advice already at the criticality of driving diversity as a way of achieving diversity and inclusion as a way of achieving cognitive diversity which is the primary mechanism to remove the blinders, and if anything else just have resonating in your brain, always do something. Just go do something,

Greg Voisen
Do something exclamation mark point with hashtag is on your homepage so we'll let our listeners know it's hashtag do something, exclamation mark. Actually I put that in. And it's interesting, so I'd say they do that and if they want to learn more about the two of you, they want to learn more about the book, we'll have a link but you're going to go to www.deloitte.com. In there you'll see services industry insights, and I would presume in the search engine they could just type provoke and it's going to bring up the promote page because the reality is the string of things to actually get there is too long, just go to distribution just Google promote the book you'll end up there. Yeah, you'll end up there anyway to the two of you. Thanks for writing a book that I actually believe can have people see these cognitive biases that you talk about, and then become a provocateur here with encouragement and like I said it's the application of the awareness of knowing what it is that we do, that allows us to change the things that we haven't been changing inside of our companies inside of ourselves, to actually make a transformation, not only personally and professionally, but organizationally, and the human capital needs to move along with that, right so all those people that work with it. And the two of you could not be better suited people to have written the book, and actually inform people about this. I don't like telling because I don't think that's what you do, I think you're informing and educating. Any last words from either one of you.

Geoff Tuff
No, just thanks for having us on Greg that was a fun conversation.

Steven Goldbach
Yeah, thank you very much,

Greg Voisen
Steven, thank you. And Geoff, thank you. Both of you thank for being on Inside Personal Growth and thank all my listeners for hanging in there and learning about the book Provoke.

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