Ep 002  |  Transforming Leadership: Strategy & Execution


Transforming Leadership: Strategy & Execution

August 2, 2023

About this episode

Unlocking success in business requires more than just having a well-developed strategy. Mastering execution of an average strategy holds more value than average execution of a flawless strategy.

In this episode, we sit down with Joe Rafter, a Vice President at Capgemini, to explore the key elements that make a business strategy successful. From authentic leadership to tailored actions, resilience, and self-awareness, these traits are essential for navigating challenging transformations.

Join us as we delve into topics such as:

  • Differentiating between strategy development and execution to better tailor your actions
  • Understanding the importance of authentic leadership and its impact on success
  • Building mental toughness, self-awareness, and resilience to drive transformative change

Guest Intros

Strategy Gap Podcast Guest | Joe Rafter with Capgemini

Joe Rafter

Vice President, Capgemini

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Transcript 📝

Jonathan Morgan  [00:00:01]: 

Welcome, everybody to another episode of the strategy gap. I'm your host, Jonathan. And I'm Joe. And today we have a super exciting conversation. We have Joe rafter joining us today. Joe currently is the vice president at Capgemini. And has an extensive experience across business transformation, strategy, execution, value realization, project management, and many other categories related to strategy and strategic planning. So Joe, welcome to the show.

Joe Rafter  [00:00:27]: 

Thanks, Jonathan, Joe, it's great to be here.

Jonathan Morgan  [00:00:30]: 

Awesome. So, one of the things that I find really interesting about your background, Joe is part of what I entered you on is it's a lot of different titles across a lot of different areas are related to strategy, strategic planning, strategy execution. One thing I think that would make sense to start out with is maybe a little bit of introduction on how you even got into this space. And there's a lot of related categories. But I'd love for the audience to hear a bit about your experience on navigating into strategy and strategy execution.

Joe Rafter  [00:00:59]: 

Thanks for that, Jonathan. Yeah, so I, my undergrad is in accounting, I started out in finance, submitting calculating invoices and submitting bills to the federal government for environmental services, consulting work.

Jonathan Morgan  [00:01:14]: 

Sounds exciting.

Joe Rafter  [00:01:16]: 

And it was, it was not quite that exciting. It was a long time ago. But yeah, so I started doing that. And as I was doing that, I dabbled in. This is back in Windows 311. Era. So early 90s, I started writing desktop programs to produce better invoices and make my job a lot easier. And I and in doing so I got pulled into the IT side of the house. And they started asking me for perspective on hey, how should we what should we do with this accounting program, etc. And I realized through that work, that I enjoyed the computer work a lot more than I did to being counted. And so, I left that consulting firm and went into, I left the environmental consulting firm and went into IT consulting. And that's where I really had a chance to work across a lot of different disciplines. You know, I was on a help desk, I was a COBOL developer really dating myself here. I was a Data Architect and application architect, a business architect. And it was at that first consulting company, CSC now, it's dx, see that I really started to broaden out. And I found that I wanted to get into bigger, more complex things. So, I left there and went to IBM. And it doesn't get much bigger than IBM back in the late 90s, early 2000s. And so, there is where I really got exposed to a lot of really large complex programs, I was actually brought in as an architect, and I worked in a system engineering organization focused on bigger, larger deals on the outs outsourcing side of the house. And through that experience, I kind of got a lot deeper, technically speaking. And I learned a whole bunch while I while I was there, I was I'm a second generation IBM or my dad worked for the company. And I loved my time there. So, I learned so much, you know, big company, lot of global work, got exposed to lots of different projects, and frankly, made a career there around either launching a brand new function inside of existing accounts, or turning around troubled situations. And in that turning around troubled situations work, once you do it once or twice, you sharpen your pencil, because it's like it's the same process. Over it's the same set of questions because you only have a limited amount of time, you really have to have a very sharp pencil to ask really good questions to figure out, what do we need to do to, you know, turn around at a troubled situation. And so, it was in that that I realized that, you know, this this thing, this transformation thing, whether it's digital transformation, or strategy execution, helping clients reshape their business model using technology is how I like to describe it. That's what I really do. At my core, I help my clients reshape their entire business model using technology.

Jonathan Morgan [00:04:26]: 

So, it's you're saying you didn't grow up dreaming of being a strategy practitioner one day in the future?

Joe Rafter  [00:04:32]: 

Yeah, no, not at all. I, I just I kind of found my way into it, frankly, and love it. And then I can't imagine doing anything else.

Joe Krause  [00:04:42]: 

related question. Do you think it's important for folks to get that experience with a large company because that's also where my experience lies. I went to an extremely large pharmaceutical company, and I'm very thankful for it. But at a certain point, though, there's you then say to yourself, maybe try something different, but do you think a good starting point for the those that maybe you're thinking about this as a career should start big and then maybe go small or go small and go big. Is there an archetype that you've seen be most successful in helping organizations?

Joe Rafter  [00:05:11]: 

Joe? That's a really, really good question. My background has been in large systems, whether it was large consulting, or I worked on, so I've spent about almost half of my career on both sides of the table, half in consulting half in industry. And when I worked in industry, I've worked for a lot of, you know, multi 100 million, multibillion dollar firms, a lot of different industries. And so, for me, you know, I think if you really want to get into and be able to handle any problem that you're going to face in life, in a business environment, I think being in a very large system, is very advantageous. And I've also spent four and a half years as an entrepreneur, I have my own consulting company did that whole startup thing. And the big systems teach you a lot of things, right? They teach complexity, they force you to deal with lots of decision makers, lots of lots of stakeholders, you have to manage. And you also get, you know, like the entrepreneurs, maybe there's some entrepreneurs who are listening in the show that might say, Yeah, but you got to get that entrepreneurial experience. You know, that's a whole other side, which I completely agree, it is a completely different experience. But even in these larger organizations, like there are $2 billion companies, inside all of these large consulting companies, or inside these large, I worked at a utility out west. And there was an electric organization and a gas organization and a power generation organization. Each of those organizations were kind of their own businesses that that the heads of those could claim that their CEO of electric, so I'm a big fan, it served me really, really well. And for me, it's always about put me in the biggest, most complex challenge possible. And if I can solve that, then, you know, I can solve anything that's smaller than that.

Joe Krause  [00:07:09]: 

And I think that's sage advice. And I think big companies, they may lack in some areas, but structure is not one of those things. So, if you're looking for some sort of way to get acclimated to the culture and get trained the IBM way, or the way they’re, they're very good at, you come out of that training, and you're feeling like you can take on the world and solve big problems. And, you know, unless you're a really unique individual, it's hard to do that if you're doing it on your own. Unless you've seen what good looks like you can model how you want to approach maybe you're starting your own business and doing strategy execution, if you have something to compare it to. And what better to compare it to than a multibillion dollar company that's done it. So that's, I think, great and excellent advice for those listening for sure.

Joe Rafter  [00:07:49]: 

Yeah. The other thing I'd add, add in there, Joe, I think, to be in this space of strategy execution, personally, I do have a little bit of a bias, I think you have to come into it from the delivery side. Building a strategy is very different than executing it. And I'm a big fan of, you know, a flawlessly executing an average strategy is more valuable and impactful than having average execution against a flawless strategy. Right. I think I think there's lots of new ways of working out their new styles of transitioning between strategy and execution that what I try and consult with my clients is when it relates to this strategy execution spaces, we want to shrink that cycle to be as short as possible the days of a three year strategy. Are they still existing in some highly capitalized industries, but you want to shorten that cycle, so that you're able to pivot your strategy execution on a quarterly basis. So that having this great piece of paper, this 50 slide deck that lays out this beautiful strategy is actually good. But the minute that it goes to print, it's all about the execution and being able to course correct and pivot and tweak that along the way.

Jonathan Morgan  [00:09:15]: 

Yeah, absolutely. One of the ways I like to think about it is hopefully we don't lose anybody with math analogies here. But uh, think about like a multiplication, you know, you have your this the development of the strategy and then the execution of it if your strategy is a 10, but your executions of one well, you got a 10 if you just have a five and a five, all of a sudden, you're at 25 and its exponentially better in that case. I think it's a interesting way to think about kind of how that compounds the execution versus just fine All right, did you can criticize me for I'm Matthew anyone that's on video sees the checklist.

Joe Rafter  [00:09:49]: 

I can follow that. That was simple, simple arithmetic. That was easy. I was I thought you're gonna get down to calculus route.

Jonathan Morgan  [00:09:55]: 

Oh, that's, that's where I'm gonna that's where I'm gonna tap out. Maybe next episode, we'll do some driven lives on strategy execution. But with that analogy, though, what our last episode, we talked about something similar focused on, you know, as you execute, you really need to engage the employees. Certainly, I'm sure you advocate for that and larger organizations. But one thing I don't think we talked about enough is on the inverse it what's the impact that effective leadership has on strategy and strategy execution, whether it's change transformation, I'd love to get your perspective on kind of the influence of executive leadership, you've been in that role a number of different times, and the importance it has on successful strategy.

Joe Rafter  [00:10:35]: 

Right on. So, leaders wake up every day, and they run the business. And running the business as is status quo, whatever the business is, whether it's utility, whether it's, you know, a retailer, whether it's a manufacturer, running that business, has a cadence, has infrastructure, has an organizational structure has management systems, and, and it runs and your leadership style in that side of the house with those kinds of operational considerations is different than a leadership style in transformation. And the reason is, in regular operations, your directors, your first line managers, they for the most part, 90% of the time, 8020 rule for sure, they know how to respond to unplanned events. Right, if it's an even if it's like a retail store, something happens in that store, where there's an injured, you know, consumer or the lights go out, or there's a leaky, you know, there's a leaky roof, that manager is trained and can handle that kind of situation, right? When you get into transformation. First of all, they're always driven by some top level consideration, there's a there's a new aspiration that a company has, we want to go be different want to aspire to do open up a different market, open up a different product line, close down a product line, acquire something else acquire another business, there's always an aspiration, or there's always a massive pain point. There's always a troubled situation, we have to dig ourselves out of write the answers on what is appropriate, or what the what should we do, the answers in that transformation space are not really as abundantly clear, as they are in the operation side. And so, what happens when leaders are very present when they're out in front of the transformational work, they can actually shorten the decision cycle, make faster decisions, because your frontline managers, your directors, even sometimes your VPS, they're not exactly 100% sure what the right answer is, because they don't, they don't own the vision, or they don't own the outcome of the aspiration. And because it's held at the CEO level, oftentimes, sometimes the board level, that closing that gap of the decision making process, I think is really important. And leaders have to be out front, in order to make that happen efficiently and effectively.

Joe Krause  [00:13:16]: 

You bring up utility companies, and I've had the pleasure of working with a few over the last decade here at achieve it. And I always, I always had respect for what they do. But then when I actually was able to rub elbows with senior leadership at some very, very large utility companies in the southeast, I was just shocked about how operationally efficient they truly were where a leader explained their vision, and there was no pushback from anybody in the organization. They were like, This is what you want us to do, we'll do it. And for somebody helping them with strategy and software training and things, there's no better music to my ears. But there was just a true camaraderie amongst the people that were hired. They hired good people, they were engineers, and they really respected the job that they did, which is they're making society run like the you flip the switch, and there's power, it was something like real palpable, for lack of a better term energy amongst that group. And when a leader talks, they listen. And to your point, though, they started saying, Oh, the revenue streams that we're used to over the years are now changing with solar and wind and batteries and things like that, they started to do more situational type of scenario planning a lot more case studies. And to your point, it was very uncomfortable for them to navigate into that space, because this was, even though it had its challenges. It was reliable, then transformation is the unknown, and they don't do a lot of that. How do you advise folks to get over the fear of shifting into that transformation phase and maybe flexing that muscle and building that muscle memory? Is it just starting or how do you how do you get people to like, get over there and start to exercise the muscles that maybe they haven't been using because a lot of organizations are forced to with the changing environments.

Joe Rafter  [00:14:55]: 

There's a bunch of ways of approaching In that, you know, couple, one, two or three come top of mind, number one, include the people who need to adopt the change in the creation of the vision and the strategy of the change. Number one pull in those people. So, it's not the CEO or the SVPs answer. It's our collective answer. Or our collective solution, people are much more likely to adopt a new process system structure culture, when they have a say in it. Most leaders, lots of leaders resist that, because they're concerned that they're going to get pushback. And they're going to resist it. The fact of the matter is, the sooner you face the resistance, the better. So, leaders like I don't want to clue them yet. I want to come up with my vision. And then I want to communicate it to them. I'm like, great. You're just postponing the feedback, wouldn't you rather have it now. And let that out, address it work through that process of resistance and disgruntlement and fear uncertainty and doubt work through that sooner, as opposed to later when the schedule is burned, and you're running out of time. So, I'm always a big fan of being inclusive with the stakeholders as early as possible. The other thing is, leaders need to get out of the office and get in front of the people and engage them regardless of where you are in the project, or whether it's going really, really well or it's going really, really poorly. Leaders need to be out in front of I say, leaders, I mean, senior executives need to be out in front, engaging the stakeholders, asking for the feedback, listening to it. Right, listening to feedback genuinely authentically, and making the adjustments, because when they don't do that, you get resistance that goes underground and is unseen. Like we've, in the past couple years, what is the term with people, you know, they're quitting on the job, quite quitting. Right? Quiet quitting has been around for a long time for those of us in the transparency changes rebranded three brands. It's different reasons. But quiet, you know, there's this quiet resistance and, and I don't think I consult my clients on is that the culture is is always at play. And it's either working for you or against you. And if you don't have your hand on it, if you're not actively putting your hands on the steering wheel and engaging in managing it, then who knows what it's doing, and you're going to be at the effect of it as opposed to actually driving it?

Jonathan Morgan [00:17:45]: 

Yeah, it's interesting enough, versus the old adage of, you know, management by walking around. And certainly, in utility companies in certain environments, that's still a very natural thing. But I mean, achieve it is a perfect example, many companies move to totally remote or very highly distributed over the past couple of years. So, in situations like that, how do you recommend that organizations and leaders can take that traditional approach to an entirely different sort of scenario?

Joe Rafter  [00:18:13]: 

So, leaders show up even on a call like this, right? We know each other kind of sort of not, not really that well, right? But you can, you can let you, I'm a big fan of letting your personality be authentic. People want to see that they want to feel that from their leader, whether it's on a video or whether it's in person. So, I'm a big believer and a big fan of leaders showing up authentically. And leading with some vulnerability. quick sidebar, I had one colleague, had a disgruntled set of stakeholders who were flat out resisting to adopt a new piece of technology. And this, this leader said, Okay, I'm gonna get out, I'm going to meet with these folks in person. I said, Okay, awesome. And what are you gonna do? He said, I'm going to hear what they have to say. Great, and then we're going to do, I'm gonna then tell him we have to go get it done. I see. Okay, so but I knew this individual, kind of, well, more so than I think a lot of other folks did. I said, Why do you care about this project so much? Why do you care about it? And he said, because I want my people to be safe. I want them to be safe and taken care of I care about these people. I said, that's what they need to hear. They need to hear that more. So, then I gotta hit the schedule. I gotta hit this timeline. I gotta hit this budget. I don't care about that. They care that that they that you care about them, and they don't know that. Make sure you talk to them about that. Whether you do that in person, virtually, you know, I think there's lots of differences. techniques, large format, you know, sessions like this coffee talks, I think it's harder. From a remote perspective, you have to work harder at it as a leader, for sure. I'm a big fan of going large group, medium group, small group, and then even some one on ones, which chews up some more time. Alternatively, you know, get out of the office, go, you know, go to the plant, get in front of the folks at the plant, get in front of the folks in the yard and in a utility context, go to the you know, the office in a, you know, in a white collar context, there's people still going in the office in certain places, and they'll certainly come in for a day or two, find the time and get out in front of them so that you actually give them a chance to follow you.

Joe Krause  [00:20:44]: 

It's one of those things that I saw, I don't think you've seen it as well, like process improvement took over the world, like for a decade, right? green belts, black belts, yellow belts, and one of the major aspects of it was the gimble walk. And it's go see the work, that somehow over the years has become such a revolutionary thing, like as a leader, you should go see the work. It's funny even saying it out loud, it's it should be second nature. And I've seen healthcare specifically really do this well, where there are certain health care institutions, very large one Intermountain Health comes to mind, where they have tiered huddles where, let's say a nursing unit is meeting every morning early, because they have healthcare loves early mornings, and they have a problem they can't solve, it then gets escalated to the next level of huddle. That is at the leadership level for the hospital. If they can't handle it, it goes to the huddle at the regional level. And if they can't handle it, it goes to the CEOs leadership team. And that's done before noon every single day. So, there's a problem that can't be solved. And it can't be solved by the best and brightest, it goes to the escalates all the way up. And it's something they do every single day. And I know that some companies maybe have stand ups and huddles relatively infrequently might have an all hands meeting. But in terms of rapid decision making, and rolling out changes, it is the dramatic, dramatic opposite of what you normally see. And it really case study after case studies been published on this. And have you had any experience with that type of approach where it's, maybe they're communicating so much that maybe it's distracting? Or is it over communication? Or good? Solid communication? Always a good thing when you're especially enacting change?

Joe Rafter  [00:22:14]: 

Yeah. So, what I just heard from you was an operational structure, right? And leveraging an operational structure for change based communication makes sense? What I find is some organizations rely too much on that exclusively rely on the operational communication structure in order to push their transformation or change updates. I'm a fan of you can do that. That's it's an end. So, use that channel, and you should have a separate channel that is exclusively yours. Because what happens in the operational side is a lot of times it gets watered down, where it's like, look, we're out of time, we only have two minutes left, what's your update, and so it gets shrunk because of the operational considerations. What I've seen some other techniques I've seen in terms of communication styles is I'm a big fan of fish bowls. So, you may have a steer CVO steering committee for the transformational program. Well, they're going to meet every month, and they're going to run through a series of decisions. Awesome. What I like to do is I like to pull in participants, silent participants, observers, who are the next tear down or key leaders who are affected by this particular program. Let them sit in and observe and listen. And they watched the whole thing for an hour or two hours. And then at the end of it, you turn around and you ask them. So how was this for you? What did you see? What did you learn with getting the questions? And almost every time people or people's comments are, I had no idea you guys were having these kinds of conversations. Or I didn't realize you made these, this many decisions this quickly. Or I didn't realize were this many people participating in this steering team. So this concept of a fishbowl is, you know, so you get the fishbowl concept, right, everyone's inside the glass bowl, applying that in lots of different ways. Like that was a steer code example. But applying that as like as a adoption practice showing some super users, hey, putting them in the center and then surrounding other folks who are you know, not the super users but are going to be the next ones rolled out to it to observe and watch allows for an authentic and genuine conversation.

Jonathan Morgan [00:24:41]: 

Yeah, so that's, that's an idea I haven't heard before. So, I really, really love that and love the idea behind it and how you engage employees that way for someone that's looking to do that, obviously, you explain the context behind the importance of it, and a little bit of it, but as you're thinking, Alright, we have this monthly meeting. How do you decide those people to start including you just rotate through the unit Show team, is it certain key individuals is that ones that you know, are going to give you good feedback? How do you identify those people?

Joe Rafter  [00:25:07]: 

So, there's time based considerations. So, at this point in time, it might make sense to include certain people. Right? Maybe you're in the design side, or you're in the design phase of the project. So that may drive a different set of participants than the deploy phase, right? There might be events, there might be a particular event that's coming up. So like, maybe you're having an all hands, and it's in a brand new. We're gonna go down and visit a new plant in Mississippi. Well, great, let's get the plant manager up here and have them listen in on our session. So, they get a little bit of a preview. Right? So, there's those kinds of considerations is is what I would, how I would do it, or how I have done it. The other thing I'd say is, you want you want the naysayers. You want those people who don't aren't on board, they're your best friends. As the more you make them, your friend, and you genuinely listen to what they have to say. And because they may, a lot of times they have credible feedback. And you're going to face it, I always say you want to face that. Now, if you want to face that in deployment. Let's face it now, so we can address it, we give ourselves all this time. And we can spin up extra communications, extra engagement, extra discussion, maybe we even change the design a bit to accommodate those folks. And when that happens, now they're going to be more enthusiastic over the adoption

Joe Krause  [00:26:44]: 

events and that authenticity, you're going to authentically want to have those naysayers there. Because I've seen people say they want it and then somebody says something and then the trapdoor underneath to the alligator pit happens to that person and never happens again. So, you know, be real with me be honest. And then you are and then. So, I think there has to be a public display of really applauding somebody for bringing up something that maybe changed the design. And I think I haven't seen that as much as I've seen the trapdoor or the alligator. So, have you been how have you may be dealt with or work with leaders that maybe said they wanted something? And then they saw it? And they reacted? Maybe in a way that was less than positive? Have you? Have you seen that? And have you coached people around the impulse to How dare you say that to me kind of thing.

Joe Rafter  [00:27:29]: 

So, I've coached people to not do that for any reason that you say, like, if you're gonna bring somebody in, and they're gonna say, all this stuff, and you're just going to throw it all out, don't bother. Yeah, you're going to do more damage than good. If you do that. In some cases, we have people who is where that might, that might be a higher risk than others. You could do like a gallery walk. So, you have an open almost like an art museum. And you're showing people what's happening, what's going on. And you're given you have a bunch of posts, and people are there not just to look at it, but to provide feedback and right on a post it note or, you know, Doc, stick it in a in a box in front of whatever's hanging up in the gallery, right in a suggestion box, that you can gather that feedback anonymously, and then incorporate it dial it into, you know, some future considerations or, you know, communications or design of, of the project. So, there's, you know, for most of the folks I work with, most leaders I work with, they're actively engaged, and they, you know, they're kind of dialed in on bringing people in being inclusive, and lit and genuinely, genuinely listening to them. But sometimes, if you think that's not the case, then I would do something like a gallery, walk with feedback being provided anonymously, so that you can then pull it all in, and then you can sort it out and figure out, you know, which ones do you want to listen to? Or not?

Jonathan Morgan [00:29:00]: 

Very interesting. Yeah, I'm gonna take a little bit of a right turn here. But I think it applies both from the element of kind of engaging people and also the coaching aspect. Joe, you had a post on LinkedIn earlier this week about mental toughness, and how your experience in sports you had a t shirt that had mental toughness on the back and kind of how that then translates to the business world. And certainly, in this context, I've had almost a similar situation in high school sports. So, you got the mental toughness, and I hadn't really thought about, you know, how does that then apply to other situations, and particularly transformation and execution? I'd love to get your expanded thoughts on that topic and kind of how it relates into this particular discussion.

Joe Rafter  [00:29:45]: 

Wow. Jonathan, I love this question. Because it's top of mind for me because of that post.

Joe Rafter  [00:29:54]: 

So, if I double click into the Mental Toughness piece really the key there is self-awareness. And understanding that when you're in large programs it's never, ever goes according to plan. Right, Mike Tyson, everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Every strategic plan gets punched in the mouth. Every single one. executives don't really think that's going to happen a lot of times, right? So, you got it, you gotta, you gotta be real, you got to say, look, this, this plan is going to get punched in the mouth. And when it does, how are we going to respond? Right. And it's that, that awareness that the reason why I say self-awareness is there's dialogues that go on and that go on inside all of our heads. There's self-talk. And in transformation, as I said earlier, the perfect answer isn't always clear, operational side really easy. 99% of time, the right answer is clear in transformation, it's not always clear that you will have an incredible plan, and the competitive competitor does something that completely disrupts everything that you're doing. What do you do at that point? You're 18 months in? How many 10s of millions of dollars spent? What do you do? You gotta read, you got to replant.

Jonathan Morgan [00:31:20]: 

Can’t just give up? Yep.

Joe Rafter  [00:31:23]: 

You got to refigure it out, right. But what happens is that self-talk that I'm not good enough, or the world's against me, gets triggered. And that affects how people show up, and how much they are, I say in the game, and ready to be mentally tough to deal with the situation in a way that as a leader, you show up, and you make the organization stronger as a result of the difficulty, as compared to weaker as a result of the difficulty. When you face adversity, and as a leader and you know, the program, the plan is shot, how you show up how you respond, you can be really mentally tough and I don't mean like, you know, it's score, there's, there's one way of doing it, it's scorched earth. Right, the beatings will continue until morale improves, I think maybe a lot of us have seen that. That's one way to show up. That's going to generate a certain set of outcomes. That showing up that way as generated by self-talk. It's there's a style that we all have, there's a there's a way of behaving is a way of dealing with there's a level of mental toughness, there's a way of dealing with adversity that's deeply rooted in our in our character. Those are the moments where leaders have a great opportunity to face into that conflict and show up with, you know, compassion and character and determination and assertiveness and positivity and not being lollipops, rainbows, and unicorns, not Pollyanna. Right? Those that so for mental toughness, it for me it's the next key thing is really about self-awareness for leaders and how and understanding their dialogue and how they face into adversity. Love it.

Joe Krause  [00:33:20]: 

And then like the last part, you meant just really struck a nerve, I've heard it termed as toxic positivity. Like sometimes the situation you're in is not good. And if somebody is telling you a situation that isn't so great. And your response is always the positive flip. There's a there's a time and a place because you can't always be negative. But there are sometimes where something is just a bad situation and commiserating and saying that let's solve it. But at least acknowledging that it's we’re in a tough spot versus what do you mean, this is the best spot we can be in, people don't want to necessarily respond to that. And it comes off as inauthentic. So, I think what you're saying makes perfect sense. And people can smell authenticity a mile away. I remember attending company all hands at this large organization and all the questions for the CEO had to be prescreened before they were asked. And so, everybody in the room is like this isn't this isn't authentic, this is more of a way for the who, of whomever to get their message out and see your point. Being authentic goes a long way. And it doesn't really take that much. Just be yourself. And I think that's a really huge takeaway from today's conversation, because sometimes people are maybe scared to be their authentic self. And you're saying basically that that's critical to being an effective leader and enacting change long term. Right.

Joe Rafter  [00:34:33]: 

Yeah, I mean, you know, these, these executives, you know, these C suite executives and fortune 500 firms are under a lot of pressure. It is it is, you know, it's serious work. And there's a lot of means a lot of people's lives on at stake family's food at stake, you know, like, you know, keeping the business going and being able to feed the, you know, the 1000s of families that work at that firm as well. lot of pressure, and how they respond to that pressure, how they, how they react, how they relate to it is, is a big part of the success for the transformation. And you know, back to, you know, I keep going back to this the running business every day, that kind of pressure is nothing compared to, when I have this, I gotta reshape my entire business model using technology, I have to move from analog prod products to digital products, I have to open up new channels, I have to go from b2b type of a business model to a b2c model a direct to consumer, which is going to disintermediate all my channels, and I spent the past 30 years building out and I have relationships with those are, you know, those are like, those are bigger problems, then, you know, I got a I got a water leak in a warehouse, right.

Jonathan Morgan [00:36:00]: 

Yeah, I mean, honestly, this has been a fantastic conversation. I know, I've learned a ton. I know, I'm sure our listeners will learn a ton as well. And I think really, I could ask 100 More questions and keep this going on for a couple hours. But I think we're about at time now. So, I'm going to cap it with one final question. And thinking back to the way we kicked off the call, and you talked about your background, how you got into strategy, if you had to go back to that day where you made that switch from more of the it to the transformation, and you had to think about everything you've learned and everything you talked about today and give yourself one piece of advice. What would that advice be?

Joe Rafter  [00:36:40]: 

So, I would be the very best person you can be every day. Transformation. What I love about it is it's constantly challenging you, every day you come in the office, there's a million problems to deal with. Nothing ever goes according to plan. And so, for me that provides the perfect environment outside of a sport’s athletic environment, which those days are long gone. But it provides a perfect environment to refine and develop ourselves. And the sooner before I learned that, like I was in these big, massive transformations. And I didn't know that. And it was really hard. Because I was walking around every day going, why isn't it why isn't it working the way it's supposed to work? Why isn't working the way it's supposed to work? Once I realized that transformation is really messy. And that just like the company, that people are going through changes, I'm going through changes as a result of this, I'm going to be different as a result of this transformation. Just like my clients, customers are going to be different by clients’ products are going to be different processes are going to be different. Once I put myself inside that and realize, okay, I got to work on myself as hard as I'm working on everybody else and every everything else in the project. Once that switch happened, it became a lot easier to work in this space of transformation.

Jonathan Morgan [00:38:13]: 

Love it. Like there's probably no better way to close out the conversation then that advice right there. Certainly, as I already mentioned, I learned a ton on this chat. It's always a lot of fun catching up with you and a lot of great expertise. So big appreciation. And thank you so much for joining the podcast today. And I look forward to more Conversations in the future.

Joe Rafter  [00:38:32]: 

It was a real pleasure, guys. Thanks a lot, and it's an honor. Thanks.

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