“I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.” – Franklin P. Adams
Integrated Delivery Model
There is an old proverb which states that “you can’t cross a chasm in two small steps.” We are transforming the business to be ready for the new wave of opportunity in front of us. The blend of Strategy, Creative, and Technology will be a key differentiator for Tahzoo going forward. I believe that if we marry these three disciplines together effectively we will have a lasting competitive advantage.
During the August All-Hands Meeting, we will focus on the integrated delivery model and how we plan to leverage our core organizational strengths to grow our business. Consider this a call for speakers – I want to hear from you.
We made some organizational changes today that are an important part of readying the company and increasing accountability. There have been several well-documented delivery challenges and they need to be fixed immediately. We are not a project shop; We are an account-based business and we thrive on sustained long term relationships with our clients. We need to do our work right the first time and continue to do it right to grow our business.
Wouldn’t it be nice if, after a bunch of thoughtfulness and hard work, your project just came out perfectly? Well… all great works, including great companies, take time and perseverance. We will keep working on the organizational structure and alignment until we get it just right.
In order to do all of what has been written about in my previous two notes, we need to be a team and a family of co-workers that share a common value system. The first act of the company was to establish a core set of values:
- If you care about your customers and your employees you’ll have a company worth caring about
- We hire for character before we hire for capability
- We hire interesting people who are interested in change
- We believe in the marketplace of ideas
- We believe in Smart and Happy people
These values reflect my core beliefs about how to run a business. Often times this discussion is limited to moral values but I think of this more broadly. The careful orchestration between individuals and teams is what really gets me excited.
In order to accomplish our goals, we need to have multidisciplinary teams execute flawlessly. So while many companies can achieve success – if not overachieve – with committed, hardworking employees, we cannot. We need to have teams of people who work for different managers with different skills come together and inspire one another to solve customer problems.
Great teams and great companies are purposefully built and more importantly, the values and expectations are consistently driven every day at every level of the organization. If you want to know how healthy our company is or how well we are doing… don’t look at the balance sheet or the financial reports, look at yourself and your team and ask, “Are the values and expectations of the company being driven by me every day at every level?”
Let’s go be great,
When we started the company, our tagline was ‘Driven by Big Ideas’…
As I mentioned earlier, we live in a time of unparalleled change and opportunity. The signs of economic turmoil are ever-present, and it’s because the way in which business is conducted is changing. Over the course of history, during these transitions, companies that established themselves as a force for change and as the instrument of change have shaped the world.
I aspire to work for a company and be part of a team that changes the world. For whatever reason, I can’t and won’t rest until I’ve accomplished this… The problem I aspire to solve is changing the way business is conducted.
We live in a time in which the rise of mega-corporations, consumerism, and technology have sterilized and dehumanized the interactions between people and companies. My dad still goes to the bank to get cash rather than an ATM, and when I ask him about this, he explains that he likes to see his ‘friends’ at the bank, and then rattles off the names of all the tellers in the bank. To be clear, I don’t see us returning to some 1950’s style world in which everyone purchases from the neighborhood store… the efficiencies of globalization are too compelling to be ignored. I do see how Gabi is friends with the UPS man who delivers goods purchased online every day… we’re still able to have humanity in how we buy and sell.
We are currently working on personalization strategies; I never saw this as an endpoint – only the beginning of how we transform the customer experience. Let’s aspire to build a company that brings some humanity, some relevancy, and some good old fashion customer service to how people buy and sell goods. For me, it’s an obligation and moral imperative that we work hard to make the world a better place.
Let’s go be great,
In many ways, I am thrilled at what we’ve accomplished – but it’s not enough, not nearly enough. I want to build a business that is inspirational, that aspires to change the way business is done and most importantly, is an expression of our core values.
The business should be inspirational in the way that we work together to tackle difficult and challenging problems. This means that we offer bright and motivated minds that proactively provide solutions to our clients, that we all have meaningful and rewarding work. We will be an inspirational company when we inspire our clients to take action… to bet on Tahzoo solutions, that our clients bet their careers on our ability to deliver for them, and that we maintain durable, lasting relationships with our clients.
See, we live in a time of change and during change people need leadership. We can and should be the company that provides this leadership. This isn’t just promoting our ideas through social media or articles written through PR channels; it’s about caring enough about our clients to take the time, to proactively start solving their problems.
I want to dispel you of the notion that inspiration is a stroke of genius or the proverbial light bulb… it’s a way of systematically exceeding our clients and each other’s expectations. Having just spent a couple of days at Disneyland, it’s amazing how much attention is spent on ensuring a “magical experience”. For each of us this is a time to ask, what could we be doing for one another and our clients that would make a difference, a real difference? We can’t expect our clients to take action until we take action… until we build a system that inspires each of us and our clients every day.
Let’s go be great,
“Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary a qualification for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.” – H.G. Wells
The Tahzoo 2017 Strategic Direction
A few weeks ago, I wrote out our mission for 2017 in the Desk of Brad. I thought I’d send it out as a reminder and a pretext for our focus going forward.
Our challenge in 2017 is to make Tahzoo a recognized leader in Experience Design and Delivery. Our results, deliverables, and service must exceed our client’s expectations. We will consistently approach our clients with new ideas about how to improve their business. We will know we are doing well because our clients will be excited about continuing to spend more money with Tahzoo. A consequence of doing these things well is that clients will pay us a premium, and this will be reflected in the financial health of the company.
I’ve been meeting with the leadership team each week to ensure that we have alignment around our priorities and the habits necessary to ensure our success. The following are what I consider our major priorities in the first half of the year. As we closed out 2016 it became clear to me that we needed to reinvigorate our enthusiasm and enjoy a more disciplined approach to reaching our success. See these priorities as our guideposts for measuring our results.
- Renew the Company and Have Fun
- Enjoy a Sense of Accomplishment Towards our Goals
- Run the Company by the Numbers
- Alleviate Complexity
- Clarify Decision Making
- Define Ourselves as Recognized Leaders
I am excited for the new year… I am still in a California state of mind so please enjoy the analogy. When there is a storm in the Pacific, it generates a swell – the waves begin to get larger over the duration of the storm and then gradually subside to normal levels. When you’d go down to the beach and see big waves breaking, you’d tell you buddies that the waves are “pumping”.
All the energy of the storm creates wind momentum and eventually, waves; let’s call them waves of opportunity. We have invested energy and enthusiasm into our business development over the past year, but more importantly our current customers. Let’s call this a storm of activity over the last year. We’ve clarified our message, built deeper relationships, and expanded our service portfolio; our wave is getting bigger. Let me go so far as to say that the waves of opportunity for Tahzoo are “PUMPING”!!!
It’s going to be a big big year for Tahzoo. So, when the waves get really big you’ll have to paddle harder to get out past the break, but the ride is soooo much better. However, you must make sure you don’t get “caught inside”, meaning that you’ve surfed too far in, or the whitewash of the waves have caught you and you can’t get past the break. In Tahzoo terms, not only do we have to keep up with the opportunity, we need to get ahead of it… better planning, better resourcing, and better hiring. Otherwise, the whitewash from the waves will collapse us onto the beach; this is called “being in the soup”, usually with catastrophic results. We are going to have to work really hard this year, mostly because of all the momentum we’ve generated in the market.
When you’re surfing, believe it or not – it’s easier to learn new things on bigger waves. Essentially, you have a little more time to practice or try new a new trick. We have the momentum to build our service offering and grow within our accounts… We are going to see our experience design business become a leading growth engine for the company. It’s going to be an “EPIC” year!
Let’s go be great!
I spent the evening with an old friend last night, someone who has been like a second father to me. Rick and Jan took me in as a teenager and were instrumental in shaping who I am today. Rick is a remarkable man, he has four undergraduate degrees, two masters and two PHDs, not all of them are in related fields. Among other things, he is a mechanical engineer; we spent years building things together and talking about life. He just recently retired from full-time work and is now making surfboards in his shop. We spent most of last night discussing how we could make his latest invention for body surfing more effective. It’s a buoy that you wear that provides a small plane or fin to stabilize the ride on a big wave. I’ve attached a picture of bodysurfing at Boomers in La Jolla so you get a sense of the size of the waves; it’s my favorite place to bodysurf, and I’ve spent many summers trying to master this break.
Rick is one of those guys who is always searching for ways to do it better. Even if the current model or design is great, he wants to make it better. Rick instilled this idea in me and it has become a part of how I live my life. Even though things are working just fine, I feel compelled to see if we can make it just a little better. I wanted to share this story with you because I know that sometimes it might feel like I am meddling or never satisfied, which isn’t the case, it’s just that I want to make things better.
Tahzoo’s business model is changing and it’s for the better. We’ve been preaching the need for a better customer experience and the market is finally catching up with us. Our customers are asking for help in creating and delivering experiences. We spent the first few years working on our technical competencies and now we need to ensure we have the same level of expertise on the experience design side. As with all new systems, we will design it and continue to tweak it until it’s perfect. Most important to me is that we don’t have two sides of Tahzoo, but we are one company that helps our clients deliver fantastic customer experiences. We are being engaged for ideas, our strategy, our creativity, and our technology.
I just finished reading the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Biography “The Notorious RBG”. She is an amazing woman, who over time has had a huge impact on all of us. She has been the champion for the right of individuals and the rights of women in our society. As I read her book, there was a clear theme about making consistent, incremental progress towards lasting change. We are going to be making changes and steadily improving the company to take advantage of the market opportunity. There was a quote from RBG, “figure out what you want, then go do the work”. That phase has been sitting with me for the last week and has stirred my thinking considerably. We are going to be recognized as the world leader in Experience Design and Delivery. Now that we know what we want, we just need to go do the work.
Wishing you all a relaxing and joyous holiday season. Looking forward to doing the work to make Tahzoo the best it can be.
Let’s go be great!
“You don’t see a masterpiece take shape until you add all the pieces. Greatness works the same way.” –
Happy New Year
I get excited about starting the new year. There is something liberating and invigorating about all the new things that are ahead of us. I have big plans for Tahzoo in 2017. There have been a number of ideas and plans that I have been percolating throughout the year and I can’t wait to get going. We’ve spent the last several years finding the right service offering a combination of people to meet the needs of our clients. We are seeing our clients trust us with work that we would not have had a chance of winning in the past. The innovation and hard work are paying off.
As I look back on 2016, there is no doubt it was a very challenging year. We had some tough breaks and struggled to meet our goals. However, it was a year of learning and I hope everyone has some key takeaways for improvement to focus on in 2017. For me, my big focus is going to be around our way of working together. I am committed to clearer lines of communication, goals, and accountabilities for all of us. If we can shed some old thinking and embrace the new opportunities, I sure each of us will find 2017 to be an abundant year.
I hope each of you enjoys the weekend with family and friends bringing in the new year. I wish you well and I look forward to seeing you in 2017!
Let’s go be great!
“If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.” – Saint Augustine
My challenge to each of you is to make Tahzoo a recognized leader in Experience Design and Delivery. Our results, deliverables, and services must exceed our client’s expectations. We will consistently approach our clients with new ideas and surprise them about the many ways we can improve their business. We will know we are doing well because our clients will be excited about continuing to spend more money with Tahzoo. A consequence of doing these things well is that we will command a premium for our services and this will be reflected in the financial health of the company.
We are creating something that doesn’t exist. We are winning the trust of large accounts and doing work that is innovative and on the cutting edge. We need to keep pressing our advantage of driving change within our company and the market place. For our size, we are having a big impact on the direction of the market. With our current customers, plus what we have in the pipeline, we are poised to have a breakout year. Let’s set our sights higher and be bolder in our ambition to change the customer experience.
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” -Confucius
Where are we going?
We are going to be a world-class Customer Experience Agency.
I get asked a lot about the strategic direction of the company. I am working on our 2017 plan which I am excited to roll out to all of you in the next month or so. In the meantime, I have been framing a set of attributes that define my vision for the company and thought it would be a good time to share them with you.
You’ll see that it is a blend of characteristics, outcomes, and extension of our values. Please take some time to review.
- We will provide leading and innovative solutions to common marketing problems
- Which means we have the capabilities and competencies expected of a leading agency
- We will be innovative and explore ways in which we can solve problems that give Tahzoo a lasting strategic advantage
- We are going to be good and trying new things experimenting with solutions or businesses failing quickly learning and trying it all over again
- We are going to be great at building businesses within our company
- We will deliver and execute our work with the highest level of caring and concern for our client
- We will always put the wellbeing and success of our client before ourselves and our profit
- To the fullest extent possible we will strive for transparency and openness in how we deal with our clients and one another
- We will be a data and metrics-driven company
- We will work hard to find the right measurements to help better inform decision making and provide clear expectations for ourselves our teams and our rewards
- We are going to work hard to ensure that we have a harmonious and pleasant work environment
- We will systematically eliminate chaos from our business
- We will over-invest in our facilities and benefits to ensure that we provide a great work experience for our employees
- We will have robust training and professional development programs for our employees
I hope this will provide you a framework for how to align within our company. We are working diligently to ensure that we deliver on this framework during the last half of the year and in 2017.
Let’s go be great!