If you aren’t disrupting your business model, someone else will – Jim Carroll

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Without question, he is one of the most dynamic speakers and professional partners I've ever come across. Our audiences love him. He hits a home run every time.You will not be sorry if you use him. In fact, I'm willing to bet your first experience will lead to many, many more, as it has with SAP - comments from a client



Here’s a clip you’ll need to get you thinking. I was brought in by a manufacturing company to speak at their global leadership meeting, with a predictive on key trends they need to align themselves to. And of course, I had to close with some guidance on what to do to deal with the reality of those trends.

The content was developed through very careful consultation with the CEO and leadership team, but its’ a good example of how I go from the trends to actual action plans.


In October, I will keynote the Tag & Label Institute annual general meeting in Amelia Island, Florida. I’ve put together two good summary videos that they will share with their attendees in advance of the event, to get them thinking about the issues that they must confront as an industry.

In the first one, I take a look at the key manufacturing trends which will impact this organization, and everyone in the world of manufacturing: 3D printing, the arrival of the smart factory with the Internet of Things, mass customization, rapid prototyping, advanced materials and more.

In the second one, I examine the 3 key issues that the organization needs to address in the short term. This came about as a result of a long consultative call with the CEO of the organization. A good part of my keynote will focus on these issues – that’s a key part of how I customize my keynote for the issues in the room. I don’t do canned stuff!

These are good examples of the types of pre-event videos I’ve been doing for clients, and they are proving to be a smash hit. Learn more!

Just over 18 months ago, I opened the annual meeting of the United Soybean Board in St. Louis, a group that represents most of the US soybean industry. I was on stage with a message for over 300 soybean farmers about opportunities for future growth. In addition, I spent 2 hours in a private session with the Board of Directors talking about opportunity. To see what I covered, read my blog post from my keynote “Accelerating Innovation: My Time With the United Soybean Board.”

We talked a lot about China and global markets as a big opportunity. Today, the industry is struggling with the fact that they while they spent a lot of time developing China a key market, the country has now targeted their beans with tariffs. They are in the front line of the new global trade war.

Who would have thought? Well, people vote, and votes matter.

With that in mind, watch this video from my good friend Jim Carroll – he’s the head of the Arkansas Soybean Board. Jim and I met when I spoke to this group. It’s a video message with his most recent update to his members – soybean farmers all of them – on their opportunities for innovation.

He’s talking about the same opportunities that I focused on in my keynote: new markets, using soybeans for new products and new opportunities (i.e. meal for fish farming in Egypt), sustainability – the whole idea of not selling ‘beans by the bushel’,’ but selling soybeans for use in different ways for different purposes. Did you know that Ford uses soybeans in seat cushions for cars? That’s an example of the type of innovative thinking occurring in the industry. Continue Reading

You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice. Here’s what you need to think about.

The Trapeze Group had me in to headline their annual user group conference – individuals thourhgout the global urban transit industry. As with many of my events, I went above and beyond and delivered far more that most other speakers who simply pay lip service, with a custom event video, Q&A and more. Read about that on this blog post, Are You Stuck with the Same Old Boring Keynote? Stop it NOW!.

But wait! There’s more! I also hosted a private meeting of key leaders in the sector; I had CEO’s and senior executives of transit organization from Memphis, Nashville, Long Beach, Dallas, Spokane, Philadelphia and more. This gave them a chance to dive deeper into the issues I framed in my keynote.

 

 

What did we cover? Take a look.

Bottom line? You can book a boring keynote speaker who will do the same old. Or, you can call me. Your choice.

It probably means that you are in pretty big trouble.

Over the last 25 years, I’ve been brought into an extensive number of Fortune 1000  leadership meetings at a senior level in order to speak about future trends an innovation – simply take a look at my client list to get a sense of who I work with. With this, I’ve seen many top-notch CEO’s who know that their organization needs to change – and fast. Often, I will be on the phone with them in advance of the event in order to understand their perspective on the challenges that are in front of them in the era of acceleration.

And on the other hand, I’ve seen situations involving the utmost of CEO hubris – a belief that the industry they are in, the business model they are structured for, and the customer behaviour they are aligned to, won’t be subjected to any sort of dramatic change. Which is, to put it mildly, foolish and dangerous!

Just about a year ago, I was in to talk to the senior leadership team of a major global company that I will leave nameless. There was a belief, expressed during a number of conference calls with various VP’s, that the organization needed to align itself for the challenges it might face in the era of Amazon business model disruption. The company is in essence, a distributor – a middleman between various manufacturers and the end customers. Amazon could step into and carve out some of the business; this is such a potential threat that numerous organizations engage me for my keynote on the challenge: Disrupting Amazon : Accelerating Strategies for Success in the Era of Industry Transformation.

And indeed, that was the topic for which I was booked!

Moments before I went on stage, the CEO spoke, immediately dismissing the idea that Amazon or other ‘upstarts’ might ever be a threat. Let’s just say it made for an interesting, if awkward, keynote. The folks who had booked me to come in with palpable with their discomfort.

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Just-in-time knowledge. The acceleration of knowledge. Faster emergence of new issues. Skills specialization.

Over 25 years, I have spoken to dozens of professional services firms, including the largest global law and accounting firms. I recently filmed a pre-event video for a global law firm for whom I’m speaking – and cut this generic version from what we did. It’s a good watch for insight on what comes next!

The future happens slowly, and then, all at once!” – Kevin Kelly, Founding Editor at Wired magazine.

That, in a nutshell, was the modern day leadership dilemma that I presented to the CEO and senior team of a major company in the US financial services industry, at their corporate meeting last Monday in Dallas. Before I met with them, I put together my early morning “motivational quote of the day” and came up with this observation.

(Learn more about these daily quotes here – and take part by following me on various social networks!)

I put the quote together that morning based on my slide deck for the day: I was covering the key trends which would impact the world of insurance, banking, wealth management, investment advisory services and more going forward. And here was the big issue I was challenging them with that was the sub context of my talk – when it comes to the future, the big challenge is not necessarily knowing what the trends are — it’s increasingly, ‘when are they going to happen?’

We might have any number of trends which will impact financial services going forward – artificial intelligence, blockchain, disintermediation, robo-advisors, the acceleration of expectations, the emergence of new competitors, social-network driven wealth management and more. Yet, when might any of these trends become real and have a significant, disruptive impact? That can be a bigger issue than the trends themselves!

Consider one of the most overwhelming and challenging trends in the industry — will direct broker relationships survive in a world in which consumers are doing more and more online? It’s a trend known as “disintermediation,” and I’ve been speaking about it on stage for close to 25 years. Read my post from 10 years ago about the potential for change in the wealth management industry, when I did a talk for the National Australia Bank!

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Siemens has booked me to headline a major energy conference in Houston in May.

So I did a little video about what to expect. Give it a watch. We are going to see more change to the global utility/energy industry in the next 5 years, than we have seen in the next 100!

Despite the fact that I’m a futurist with a relentless focus on innovative thinking, I’m probably as guilty as the next person in making quick  judgement on people and companies – particularly with respect to the scope of what they do today compared to yesterday.

So it was when I saw that a company named Lewis Tree Services wrote a blog post about my recent keynote for the annual National Rural Electrical Cooperative Technology Show in Nashville. Read their post here; you’ll also find it below.

Hmm, I thought – what is a tree company doing at an energy conference, and why would they blog about my keynote with an observation on the future of that industry? After all, what do these people do – trim and cut trees?

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Do you want to book the same old boring speaker who will show up and deliver a canned message – or do you want to book someone who truly cares, and goes the extra mile? If you are like most people, you’ll do what you’ve alway done, and will end up with the same old boring, predictable, uninspiring leadership event. That’s sad.

The Admiral Beverage Group in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has booked me to come in for an upcoming leadership meeting that will focus on the future of retail, consumer behaviour and more. They join good company – organizations like Disney, The GAP and Godiva Chocolates have had me in for similar events.

To get the leadership team thinking in advance about the event, I went and filmed this little video clip about the event, trends and more. Give it a watch!

Then ask yourself – are you going to go out and book the same old boring speakers like you always do – or do you want to kick up your event a notch?

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