🎙 THE STRATEGY GAP PODCAST
Crafting Strategy: The Visual Storytelling Advantage
NOVEMBER 22, 2023
About this episode
Effective branding relies heavily on visual storytelling, but how can these principles enhance our approach to strategic planning?
In this episode, Gary Comerford delves into his distinctive background in art and painting, revealing the profound influence it exerts on his strategic methodology and the transformative potential of storytelling in the digital era. We also explore the pivotal role of diverse skill sets in strategic leadership and organizational success through collaboration.
Highlighted topics in this episode include:
- The interplay between art and strategy, underscoring the importance of storytelling and visual communication in shaping strategic visions
- The fusion of engineering and artistic skills for creative problem-solving
- The often underestimated role of collaboration in the effective execution of successful strategies and organizational transformation
Jonathan Morgan [00:00:03]:
Welcome back, everybody here with another episode of the strategy gap and another fun conversation in store. Today we're joined by Gary Comerford. Gary is a transformation strategist, with really a deep passion for transformation, strategic road mapping in driving alignment across organizations, he's had unique experiences and consulting on transformation in many different types of organizations across several sectors, but with a large passion and focus in the federal government sector. So, Gary, welcome to the show.
Gary Comerford [00:00:31]:
Thanks. Nice to be here.
Jonathan Morgan [00:00:34]:
Gary, of course, we did a little brief overview of your background right, kicking things off. But when we first connected, one of the things that I immediately found interesting is that you don't have the typical background that you see in strategy and transformation, right, you see a lot of business degrees and MBAs and certainly have a lot of great experience. But your background is more in art and painting. So, I'd love to kick off the conversation, just learning about your background and how that shaped your approach to strategy and transformation.
Gary Comerford [00:01:02]:
Sure, thank you. Yeah. So, I You're absolutely right, I have actually an atypical journey to how I got here. But really, George Mason University's art school, not far from where I live today is kind of where I got kicked off. But one of the things that I was fortunate enough to have/was a mentor, who was actually a cousin of mine, he was one of the original madmen. And Tony Parisi, he since passed, but what I used to love is going up when I was a kid up to New Rochelle, and spending the night in studios, and it was just such an amazing place to be inspired. Right. And one of the things that he shared with me when I, you know, before I went to college is he said, you know, major in the academic don't major in the technique. And one of the things that I kind of took from that was like, if you major in art or fine arts, you certainly learn about, you know, how storytelling evolved in how important it is, and how we've kind of shared this, this set of stories over time until we got writing. And you know, now all of a sudden, we're out here in the wild world of social media but having that academic understanding kind of helps understand where we were in, you know, how it's changed. And so, I took that to heart I majored in Fine Arts. I started out doing some graphic designers as well, early on. But this kind of need to continue to tell people stories meant that I had to understand the story if I was actually going to be able to communicate, communicate it well. So, George Mason was, was a really good foundation for me. And it's funny, I think I learned this term there. From one of my professors, intellectually unintelligible. He said, Don't ever be that, right. You can be that visually, you can be that rhetorically, but don't try to use a lot of words that are so big that nobody knows how to put them together. And certainly, don't do that when you're trying to connect ideas together and, and share the art. So. So yeah, that's kind of how it got started, in terms of my artistic endeavors.
Joe Krause [00:03:15]:
And so, you mentioned the idea that you have to learn to tell the story. So, I guess when did when you got out of that program, they were probably at a crossroads, right, you learned how to do all the things you mentioned from an artistic perspective. And then the time comes at George Mason, I think we all remember that lovely Final Four run, I remember that vividly. 2006. That was that was good. I was, it was a great year. But like, at the crossroads. I mean, a lot of folks will major in something and then the graduation dates coming. How did you then leverage all that you learned and to then selecting that first, that first role? Because a lot of folks have a crossroads in front of them that are listening? Do I go into industry? Do I go to grad school? Do I do something else? Do I join the Peace Corps? How do you how do you learn? How did you make that choice in your world?
Gary Comerford [00:04:01]:
Yeah, well, so the journey through school also wasn't exactly, you know, a four year journey. There was a lot of failures in my past. And I also I often share this I wasn't, you know, the most academic of kids and in high school even right, so I've held roles of like art director and creative director at companies even like HP but it's funny that I actually failed art my senior year in high school. I share that just kind of to surprise a lot of folks when we're, you know, doing some icebreakers that tell me something that nobody would know about, you know, you trust a lot of what's visual to somebody that didn't do it well in high school. But when I look back, it wasn't because it was you know, I didn't understand the content or you know, I just I was a little misguided kind of lost I think a little bit about what I was going to do with an art degree moving forward. Right. And it's interesting, I think I tried to go into business originally and realize Hey, that's not where I want to go. I did a lot of work in the real world construction swinging hammers, doing things like that that kind of preceded, when I really discovered that, wow, I have this talent, how do I really push and lean into it? I'll tell you that it was probably an eight year, you know, journey between, you know, working in understanding who find it myself and who I was before I got to this. This place, at least in college, where the first one of the biggest assignments that came to me was a transformation assignment, where we had five panels to actually convert something nonliving into living. And we had a lot of people that, you know, were younger than me at the time, because I was coming back and really focusing that that did things like, we'll turn an eagle into an airplane, or we'll turn a turtle into a tank, you have five frames to do it. Well, I made this quick sketch, and I actually showed my art teacher I said, I want to turn a cuckoo clock and Jack Nicholson's face. And it was so outside of the box, right. But I remember starting I took the end, and I took the beginning cells I traced over the top of found where the middle was, I found out that I could actually it was actually a mathematical process for me to figure out what those transitions were. So, I'll never forget, I actually got a juried into an art contest over there. And it got some attention from that. But I remember my mother at the time telling me she's like, wow, you should do that for a living. And I think she was pointing at the picture. But when I look back at it, it was the transformation. And so, she was absolutely right, my first move into the, you know, working space was doing some graphic design work, right. But it was unsatisfying because you're continuing to kind of try to visualize somebody else's image. And you're doing a lot of responding. It wasn't until I met an engineer by the name of Melvin Kennedy. So, if you watch this, there's a shout out to him. He was an engineer, and he saw what I did, and how I thought. And it was what we did together originally, that helped create my first, you know, kind of capability. In fact, we created it together. At HP, it was a transformation roadmap. We called it TX RM. And it was really kind of at the heart of where Steve Jobs says, you know, this is where the intersection of engineering in you know, at least the humanities and the sciences, as he says it, but you know, engineering and art. What we did together was amazing, right? And then we added one more partner to the group, who thought even more differently than us, Trevor Harris. And, and so the three of us formed this pod, if you will, that. That was very quick to understand how to communicate ideas, with a bunch of different lenses, right, but actually how to not just tell the client about transformation, actually show them. And so, we really leaned on the visuals early on to format capability, does that kind of tie a set of breadcrumbs? I think very, very quickly between what you asked and where we are.
Joe Krause [00:08:06]:
I think so I mean, mainly, the idea of taking complex ideas and then distilling them down into an idea or a graphic that people can understand is a is a skill set that doesn't really exist for a lot of folks, not to draw back to my experience, but I did some grad work at Boston University in the was a Master of Science in healthcare communications, which is kind of a hodgepodge of things. But a lot of it was trying to bridge the gap between your patient you come into the doctor's office, they tell you a god forbid you have cancer, how do you then make sure they're listening and understanding and taking this very complex, crazy idea of my life is different to making sure there's practical steps that they understands you're meeting them where they are. Not a lot of that was happening. And so, the industry has definitely shifted. And to your point, I've leveraged a lot of what I learned there to be more effective at helping my clients with strategic planning and execution. Because strategic planning ism and transformations is big, nebulous thing, how do you distill it down into its more practical parts to make it less scary and, and more importantly, like get retention of the idea? So, what you're saying is a very similar path, I think, to a lot of folks that we work with,
Gary Comerford [00:09:11]:
yeah, so Joe, pull on that thread a little bit, because I relate to that, as well. You know, when we start, and I kind of go back to I'm a big fan of Simon Sinek, you know, start with the why, but he's also got a lot of content that he publishes out there, you know, beyond that, he's on podcast, one of the things that he says, you know, very clearly is to understand, you know, to understand business, really to understand people, I probably butchered it a little bit, but you really need to understand no people, right? And I think when I look at the healthcare example, for instance, even what you gave me, you know, I bring it back to a context around the engineers that I engaged with early on, you know, eds and HP. You know, they were doing the right things, but, you know, the heart of that statement that cynic made us is specifically in industries like finance and engineering. When you get so specialized and so deep and so technical, you actually go down these wormholes where it's farther and farther away from the people that it actually touches, right. And you've really got to understand what it is they're trying to get after the healthcare example that I liked. You know, and I worked for UnitedHealth, for a little while during COVID. But is that, you know, give the example of somebody going in to get, you know, an MRI, you know, in our world, in government, a lot of times, they would see the customer and try to explain the benefits in how all of the MRI machine is actually, you know, constructed how it's wired together. And it's, it's highly intelligent, and it does all these fancy things. The problem is, is the patient isn't really interested in coming in for the MRI, you know, the patient probably just wants to dance at their daughter's wedding between those two points is where we've got to be able to tell that story, right. And I think that in industry, we have over focused a lot of times on the wiring, the gadgets and gizmos and not focused enough on how this is impacting the person at the end.
Joe Krause [00:11:13]:
To cap that off, and I'll pass it back to Jonathan, the idea, we had a former colleague that say, you go to Home Depot, you buy a hammer, you're not buying a hammer, because you love hammers, you're buying a hammer, because you want to hang a painting. So the idea of this right, what are you looking to do? You hang into paint and right, so then I'll help you maybe you need a hammer. But there might be something better, but really asking better questions, versus selling features and functions? I think we all can learn from that.
Gary Comerford [00:11:35]:
Jonathan Morgan [00:11:36]:
Yeah. And I think it all kind of follows along the same thread of kind of why we're even having this conversation in the first place. And why the strategy gap was created is that there's so much information around out there about how to create a plan, and you can get an MBA in it. You can study, Porter's Five Forces, you can do all different towards sorts of strategy. But there's not a lot about execution. And I'd say there's also not a lot out there about transformation, how to then apply the things we're talking about right now within an organization either across the organization or within a particular project. So, if we had to kind of take, you know, the examples we're using now and apply that within an organization, what does that process typically look like, when you're thinking about the things you want to accomplish? And then how we create this transformation program to support that.
Gary Comerford [00:12:22]:
So, one of the most important, I'd say, kind of moments in my recent career was actually meeting Lenny Cornwell, who is a head of a small company at the time called Digital moment mobilizations. And, and it was interesting that, you know, I was coming out of a, some time spent consulting with United Healthcare, and you know, him but what, what I realized was that the on our first engagement, he had a problem, he had a certain issue with his client. And I had just started to be exposed to some of the content from the Standish Group, I think it was called the chaos report, right? It talks about the rates of failure, really, really high rates of failure across all industries. And government, I think it was like 84%, and some of these IT projects, right. And that's alarming, there's a lot of failure. And where the two of us actually collided was the fact that didn't want to study as much about the people that failed, we want to understand what the winners knew. And some things that the winners knew was that he and I were both very interested in the alignment of organizations like, how do we get aligned first before we start solving, right. And I think that the problem oftentimes that plagues a lot of organizations is there are, there are technologies, you know, AI, you know, really deep technologies, Blockchain, other things that, you know, are really important to, you know, data and analytics, we're generating, you know, new methods, new ideas, things like that, that computers can actually assist in, that are great, but they become buzzworthy. And in organizations think they need them, but they don't understand why kind of going back to that. But not only that, everybody sees the world very, very differently. We all come from different lenses. I gave the example. You know, my previous partners were both engineers, and I was a, you know, an artist. And I think that that blending was important, but we certainly didn't see the world the same way, which is why it work. So how do we overcome some of that? Right, I think well, first is, you know, heavy understanding of design thinking is what underpins the way I look at the world. Also, human centered design, right? I think that the design thinking components of this, help us start to have everybody look at the same thing and say that's either a square or that's a circle, right? Because those are things that we can agree about really quick. But once we actually align and agree that, you know, these are the priorities that this is what good looks like downstream. So, we actually use Amazon's press release in the future as a best practice, I like to actually write so or get teams to actually write, here's what three years looks like. In a press release, we give them a rubric for it. But we, we then also get another team to go, what is 18 months look like? And then we get another one to go, Okay, well, what is six, we've liked watching some people squirm when we've run our workshops, but six months, because I think what you see is a spectrum between the art of the possible and then yarded, the achievable. And what we're trying to make sure is that the conditions that we start with are actually in alignment with where we're going. And that's not how we're organized to be successful in a lot of businesses right now. So, you know, in order to kind of bring together, I'll give one other example, we had, you know, nine Air Force colonels in a room, none of whom were each other's boss trying to come together on a particular mission that they all shared. So, we have elements from headquarters, we had elements from, you know, wind command, but it was that design thinking lever that made them think early and often about what is it that we are going to do together, that really kind of lifted off.
Joe Krause [00:16:14]:
Because it makes me think there was an article that popped up in my purview recently from 2017, from Harvard Business Review, and it talked about how strategy had evolved up to that point to where it can't be this group of people over here on the left that says, I'm just big thinkers, I'm the senior level, I'm just thinking big ideas. And I will come up with them and hand them to the operators, and they'll just do whatever it is, and like the idea of one is better than the other. That's what we normally see where there is a an idea that somehow coming up with the idea and doing the ideation is somehow higher level thinking and higher level work, versus the people that actually take those basic abstract ideas, and then turn them into something like there's this article was really saying that you gotta have leaders that can do both, where it's not just a fly ball, that it's just anybody can grab it from the operator perspective. And I didn't know if that resonated with you in terms of the people that you might be getting in the room where, as you start to ask them to be put more detail into the six month view, they go, Oh, that's not what I do. I listen, I am a big idea person, okay, and I'll let the rest of the people but in a perfect world, everybody in that room would have good ideas, and also have some sense of what's actually possible, not just so what are your What are your views? or what have you experienced in that realm is that resonate with you?
Gary Comerford [00:17:31]:
I think you probably can see from my expression absolutely resonates with me, I think this is something that we share, as consultants a lot of times is actually having to see these, this behavior system, existence certain places, I. But it’s the mechanisms for overcoming some of it, we are actually. So, I like your idea of actually leaders need to be embedded in the project at the outset, you know, in you need to have a Caesar in place, if you will, right. When Caesar leaves Rome, Rome falls apart, when Caesar is in there, we somehow are able to hold together that empire. So, to me, I think you need to have strong leadership assigned at any action level that is going forward in into your point, it can't we need doers, you know, we, the ideas have been way too long, kind of pushed to the backside or not really pulled out of the organization, right, there's no mechanism to extract them. The other thing is, is that I'm going to kind of tie this to a creativity link, right? I actually think all of us were kind of born with creativity. And, you know, we can all come up with ideas. What's interesting is that there that we've been taught noncreative behaviors over time, things that show up in our discussion, threads like that will never work here. You know, this isn't how it's done, or if it wasn't mine, you know, I don't so. So yes, I think that finding champions and even better for it are not always at the top of the org chart either to bring in and I feel like in, in our government world, and I've been both in government and commercial, in our government world getting, cutting through some of that scar tissue of the past, or maybe the way we've always done it is the hardest kind of barrier to cross at the beginning. But I think that getting them in alignment is foundational to that. So, there's an example that I have with the Marine Corps. Several years ago, my partners and I were actually doing, you know, we were tapped on the shoulder to say, Hey, can you help them they're building out this new or they're kind of codifying their network, it was called a mixin. And one of the things that we heard from them very, very early, as they said, Well, when we get together, we actually fight like allies. We're like, wow, okay, what does that mean that ultimate What a man is, you know, so we all have different missions in this room outside of the walls, right? But when we come together, and we're told that you guys have to go attack that hill, well, there's one decision everybody brings their ideas for. But there's one decision we made, that will be made afterwards. And we all move towards it. Right. And they were exceptional at doing that. And I thought that, you know, every time we had a discussion in a room, whether it was commercially I shared this with, you know, DreamWorks, I shared it with Bristol Myers Squibb. They wanted to hear about some of those experiences in the military. Now. It's still very difficult, like we can say a lot of these things. But I believe that you're going to have people that are looking out for today and looking out for tomorrow, people that look at their feet to make sure we don't step on a landmine, other people, they're going to look downstream to make sure we're heading in the right direction. I think they both need to be in the room together. When we try to solve these problems. I don't think one is good one is bad. I think that as facilitators of these discussions, we've got to look at that as a way to manage creative tension. So, to me, I think the ideas come forward when we create the space so that even those people that are not the strongest voice in the room are being heard and they see themselves in that journey. Does that answer?
Joe Krause [00:21:17]:
It does. And I think that this is an interesting story that I read recently about the newer CEO of Starbucks. So, it's all been very clear that he was like, I'm gonna start doing shifts within Starbucks store, I'm gonna be a barista for one shift a month, right. And that was revolutionary. And I thought that was interesting. But there was an article that came out recently where he inherited a large management team, because he took over for the former CEO and founder and took it into where it is today. And he's like, let's go to Costa Rica home of the coffee beans, and let's do an off-site and really plot the future. So, they get to this room. And he's like, let's, let's go ahead and make some coffee and make some lattes. And nobody on the team knew how to actually make an espresso, or a drink, or anything related to anything. And they're the ones weighing in on, well, maybe we should do more mobile ordering and all these things that the baristas were really at the frontline saying, this is crushing us and this and that. So, it was a lightbulb for him to say, I have a bunch of people that are so divorced from what actually is happening and what it takes to make a simple espresso with the machine, you know, the actual dealio, not the Nespresso and espresso, that it really made him go change his whole mindset and rejigger the team a bit. Because how are those people going to solve the problems that they have, if they're so far removed from the actual problem? So, what you're mentioning is, resonates with me directly. But also, a practical example from a large company we all probably go to often really helps to put a fine point on it as well.
Gary Comerford [00:22:45]:
Yeah, my, my current partner in crime, Jeremy, during is a, he's a retired Navy commander, and he does a lot of executive coaching for military folks who, you know, are coming out of the military service to. And what I think is funny is the two of us kind of bat this around constantly when we get a new project, right. So, we're working on something right now we call Pathfinder. It's just kind of how we look at enabling government to kind of attack some of their most important missions, right? We see the default mechanism in government, probably more so than I've seen it in commercial, which is, you know, this is the way we've always done it. And that's what we want, even when they put things in place, even when the government procurement, you know, groups put things in place to force these transformational discussions, what we find is that they, they fall back, they look at the top of your chart and say, who needs to be at this, you know, meeting. Jerry, and I swear to God, we've had conversations, I think, on every single one of the projects going, but they're overlooking, there's, there's people in here that could be, you know, joining us that really could contribute, early adopters are a great, you know, we know who they are in every organization, why don't we bring them into those conversations? You know, why can't we make heroes out of them, but then your kind of stuck with some of this in the government, we call it the frozen middle. And it's a mindset, at least that is, you know, almost like quicksand, if you will, because people are afraid to talk about ideas that are over their pay grade. Right. And so, oftentimes, we're trying to screen through a lot of this stuff to go guys in order to you know, to make sense out of what we have to do. We have to know why we're doing it and that's okay for us to have that discussion. You know, when we do unpack that discussion in you know, with our DOD clients, if it's stunning to see and scary to see how much they do focus on the warfighter. You know what's at stake? What if we do nothing, you know, I'm and I think that it's important. I've seen it from different echelons inside the military as well, that that they do see that. But they're they don't feel empowered to bring that voice forward because they're not given a venue to write sometimes. So, I think that's where I go, you know, we we've got to look at organizations differently about who are the problem solvers out there as the skill and the idea creators that, you know, really could help us? We got to give them the voice and give them the create the space for them to actually help us see the world a little bit differently.
Jonathan Morgan [00:25:30]:
Yeah, absolutely. I definitely want to dig into in a second the differences between kind of commercial and federal government customers, but before I do that, I'm imagining listeners that are tuning into this conversation and thinking about Yes, this is exactly like my organization that, you know, we don't have people that know how to make espressos. But I don't understand how to change this. And it sounds like you know, your Pathfinder methodology is those beginning steps to begin to implement some of these changes in organization. But you're thinking that, you know, we're recording this close to the end of the year, and people are probably going into New Year with fresh ideas and fresh ways to implement processes in the organization. What are some basic steps that an organization can take to begin on this journey of better alignment, better transformation and ultimately, a better process moving forward?
Gary Comerford [00:26:20]:
Yeah, I mean, organizations need to shift left, right, they've got to, it's to me, I think that when we came up with the term roadmap, we did ourselves a disservice. And I'm talking, you know, fundamentally, a roadmap is a product that is printed on paper and CIOs, and you know, CSOs, they product officers, whoever would put it up on their wall, it's like, here we go, cooked it in place for three years. And, and let's move out, but I'll be honest with you, if we, if we built a three year plan together on, you know, February of 2020. And then all of a sudden, March of 2020, comes along, in the entire world changed, you know, how certain are you that that journey is still the one that you want to take, right? Because we've got to reap, we've got to pull all our capabilities back out and go, we need mobile, we need to get on Zoom, we need to get into teams, we've got to adopt things that we have been preventing ourselves from doing because they weren't important. So, when I say shift left, you know, I'm gonna use that phrase that you know, my partner and I use, which is it's, it's about the planning, not the plan. So how do we create an adaptive mindset, right, moving forward to transformation mindset, which means I did like this one from that group and nine Air Force kernels that we that we had when we finally drilled down into, hey, here's your north star. Here's all you know; we know why we're aligned and where we're going. Here's all the things that we want to do about it that we believe between us that we have control over. What are we going to execute on? It was interesting to hear, you know, the project sponsor say, you know, we originally had zero to six months. Let's get answers on 06 months. What do you think? And he said, I don't think so. I want zero to three months. Right? So, what's the OP tempo? Is a is the DoD term, what's the OP tempo of change that we want to commit to? And how serious are we about committing to it? So, when I say you know, shift left, all these ideas are decoupled it is a lot easier if we have a mirror board with individual tiles on it in a in a collaboration site. If the bottom idea if the world changes in the bottom idea already becomes you know, the most important thing we can move that to the top we can reprioritize quickly. And we didn't create this with PowerPoint, we did you know, it's not carved in stone at that level. So, my, to answer your question about what can enterprises do to prepare for this is to me, shift to a planning mindset and help people understand more about I would say the, how it affects the people on the endpoint and what is that 360 degree lens about those personas, right? Because it's not just the warfighter, but it's also the employee, like anything that we're going to do inside, you know, whatever Pentagon organization is, has civilian employees, you know, are we looking at digital natives and trying to teach them to wear, you know, dinosaur boots? Are we actually creating environments that are fit for purpose for people to come right in and get to work on right. So, these are some of the things I think, you know, are important, that need to be focused on it's not always just the, you know, in commercial, it would be that consumer, it's in government. It's the warfighter. There's also, you know, investors on both sides, there's also you know, employees and I'd say the most important thing that they both share, and they need to really focus on, and this is my opinion is, is the skills. So let me add one kind of vignette into this one because focusing on the skills is something that we talk about consistently in Pathfinder, but a long time ago, when I started doing some of the commercial work, one of my smallest clients was Avon. And I'd say, tiny compared to, you know, the Bristol Myers Squibb or DreamWorks, but I just come in from a government contracting, you know, world where, you know, we were requirements and trying to understand the mission sets, right, but now you're in a commercial world, what do you do? And the first thing I wanted to understand was more about, you know, their market space and their competition. And I asked, you know, a very simple question that I thought was going to come back with an answer Avon, which was a makeup company, for those that don't know, who is your biggest competitor? They spoke. They said something I didn't believe. But now I do. I thought it was Mary Kay or Amazon, they said, No, our biggest competitor is Uber. I was like, what does that mean? And, and they said, Well, if you remember how Avon was constructed, it was built in the 50s. It was a business model where you know, housewives that had extra time could actually create a business model sell to their friends, have parties, and seem exciting. Today, let's smash cut to today, if I put an app in your hand, and you have a car and extra time, I'm going to tell you, I'm going to link you to a bunch of people that need rides in you can turn this on, use it when you want. And we'll take cash out of the equation. So, we've D risks and things. That seems a lot easier than the building the business model. Right? So. So there's like this asymmetric competition, and there's this race for skills, right? That kind of underlies all this. Well, the government's feeling that too. And that's the thing that I think is most like eye opening when we talk about transformation and what you need to pre prepare for. Because we saw what happened in the commercial world to Blockbuster and Toys R Us, you know, it's like things that we thought were monoliths would never go away. Our government customers are still fighting for relevancy. So, they need to start shifting left and start thinking about these ideas and engaging us in these discussions. So anyway, long answer to a short question, but …
Jonathan Morgan [00:32:21]:
No, it's perfect. And it is. Yeah. And it went straight into the next question I was gonna ask anyways, about the differences between those. So, I think it was a perfect consolidation of those ideas. And, and I just, I feel like we could talk about these topics for another, you know, 30 minutes, if not longer. But of course, we do have to close out the conversation, we have one final question that we ask all of our guests, we're going to ask you as well. And that is if you could think about your career in strategy and transformation, and a lot of the topics that we discussed today. And you had to go back to the day that you started in this field and give yourself one piece of advice. What advice would that be?
Gary Comerford [00:33:03]:
See? Well, so one of the things that I'm most that's a great question, actually, one of the I just took a trip to Italy this summer. It's funny, I didn't realize this is until I got out and actually saw the Colosseum saw some of these massive monuments that were constructed, what I didn't realize in maybe it just didn't, wasn't apparent to me is that in order to be an artist, years and years ago, like, you know, in, from pre Renaissance through the Renaissance, you actually had to be an engineer first. And, you know, my appreciation for engineering has grown and evolved over time with the more discussions I've got, the more I needed to learn, and shift my own thinking left, you know, get ahead of some of these discussions and learn. If I had to give myself any advice, it would be, you know, get some sort of engineering, you know, degree along with your art so that you don't have as steep of a hill to climb once you get started. There's a lot of discussions and I'm so proud of the, you know, the engineers that I've partnered with, in the past and today, because I find myself constantly learning from them, but wishing I had known some of the stuff that they already had learned in college. And I think that, you know, like I said, the bar to become an artist, you had to understand how things worked to begin with, and then the artwork was built off of that. And I always thought that was amazing. So, when you're in Italy, there's a bridge in Florence, that is that was constructed by Michelangelo, right? It was his design. If you look through the Vinci's workbooks, that guy was more of an engineer than he was an artist, he created some of the most amazing things. So, I think having a kind of a dual understanding in that world would have been a lot more helpful. If that makes sense,
Jonathan Morgan [00:35:01]:
yeah. As someone who studied engineering but never did a day in his life that makes me feel good that I didn't waste my time. So, I very much appreciate that answer. And I also appreciate your time today joining the show, Gary. We had a fun conversation that I know the listeners got a lot of value of out of and hope to chat again sometime in the future. Thanks, Gary.
Gary Comerford [00:35:20]:
It's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.
Joe Krause [00:35:23]:
Gràzie gràzie. Ciao ciao.