Organizational Alignment with Jonathon Hensley

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

In this interview, with Jonathon Hensley, co-founder and CEO of Emerge we dive into organizational alignment, digital transformation, and customer engagement.

After the Interview

About Jonathon Hensley

Jonathon Hensley is co-founder and CEO of Emerge, a digital product consulting firm that works with companies to improve operational agility and customer experience. For more than two decades, Jonathon has helped startups, Fortune 100 brands, technology leaders, large regional health networks, non-profit organizations and more, transform their businesses by turning strategy, user needs and new technologies into valuable digital products and services. Jonathon writes and speaks about his experiences and insights from his career, and regularly hosts in-depth interviews with business leaders and industry insiders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two boys.

Jonathon Hensley is co-founder and CEO of Emerge, a digital product consulting firm that works with companies to improve operational agility and customer experience.

Read the Transcript

This transcript was auto-generated from the original video recording using Otter Voice Meeting Notes. While the transcript has not been human edited, we hope it will still help you to quickly find or reference useful information from the interview.


Deliberate Leaders, I am your host Allison Dunn, Executive Business Coach, Founder of Deliberate Leaders. We are we are dedicated to helping leaders build strong, thriving businesses. Each episode we bring inspiring interviews to help you on your leadership journey. And our guest today is Jonathon Hensley. He is the founder and CEO of Emerge Interactive, which is a digital product agency that’s focused on helping organizations solve complex digital product challenges. Almost a tongue twister, and he is also the author of Alignment. And that being one of my favorite topics to talk about. So, Jonathon, thank you so much for joining us here today.


Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely.


I like to kick these off with a quick deliberate conversation. What, Jonathon, what is your number one leadership tip for our listeners today?


Wow, that’s a great question.


You know, I think the most important thing that a leader can do is to leave their biases behind and focus on empathy as they lead forward.


And do that, I think is a very, very valid great tip. How would you suggest that we recognize when we’re in our own biases?


Well, there’s two kinds of bias that come to mind that I think is really important to understand when, at least from my perspective, when I think of leadership, the first is confirmation bias. This is a really well studied concept and you know, leadership and management practices and is this issue of, you know, where people seek out information and sources that reaffirm their own beliefs and their perception of things. And I think as leaders when we’re dealing with uncertainty and change. And we’re navigating markets and how we develop better connections with customers. We need to, you know, let those biases go. And one of the most powerful tools that we can do to remove that bias is practice empathy and stepping into the shoes of our customers, and especially stepping into the shoes of our employees and practicing that empathy. And looking at it a situation through their lens and helping us make better decision then as leaders as we go forward.


Good, thank you. Thank you very much. That’s a great tip. And so I would love for you to kind of share a high level of what it is that you get to do on a daily basis at Emerge Interactive.


Sure. So I’m really fortunate, I have been a total nerd for my entire life. And so I happen to also be able to build a company that focuses on those passions, which for me is really always been around. How do you know what intersection of how people use technology to better their lives and how they work. And so my day to day is really helping business leaders, whether it be startup or fortune 500 companies, figure out how they can leverage technology to engage customers, and also to develop better tools to support employees, and having them have better collaboration and more effective contributions to the organization’s and wherever they work. So for me, I get to really sit on that strategy side helping leaders become better leaders and understand how they can apply technology to their businesses. So it’s a really fun thing to be able to do.


This would be, I’d say, such a pivotal point in time where people really do need to apply the concept of innovation and technology and how they’re leading right now. What has been some of the most unique applications that your companies that you’re working with putting in place for around customer engagement and employee engagement specifically to improve their own experience.


Well, we’ve been able to work on a lot of amazing touch points with different brands, some of the things that I’m most excited about is, you know, the work that we’ve done with in healthcare really supporting hospitals, rethinking, you know, the patient experience, I think one of the things that catches a lot of businesses by surprise is how they need to shift their thinking about very simple things. So, as an example, we all use websites every day, almost every business, you know, at this point has one and it’s rare if they don’t and, but there’s this transition that happens that a lot of businesses still haven’t made, which is when a website as an example, goes from being a brochure and something that is part of marketing and actually becomes a product itself. It is part of becomes a product once it’s intricate to the delivery of your product or service as an organization. So you need to start to think about that entirely differently. And the most progressive companies and digital leaders understand that that’s a mechanism they’ve taken. And so they look at that as a complete ecosystem. And when they do that, they start to see new and opportunities of how they can engage customers. And in healthcare, they’re the redefining, you know, what that means to connect with patients? What does it mean, when somebody is looking to find a provider? What does that mean when they’re looking to engage and find the right, you know, position or schedule an appointment? You know, on the day of that appointment made, you know, make it to the right location, you know, what does that look post treatment to support them and especially, you know, we’ve had the opportunity to work with multiple children’s hospitals, which has been really wonderful work. And you see, you know, your, your supporting parents who are in the process of supporting their children who are going to these appointments. That’s a really complex and stressful situation. And that’s what the website now All of a sudden, is this incredible platform for engaging with empathy and thoughtful information at the right time when these families need it. And so, you know, that’s a lot of work that that emerged has done for several years in the healthcare space, we’re doing some really innovative and I think really amazing stuff with partners in on the employee side as well building instead of these kind of older ideas of monolithic software that does everything, you know, employees want precision tools, we want to empower people today. You know, there’s a great book about, you know, how that, you know, around creativity and how Google works. And you know, in the book, it was really well illustrated about the most critical skill we look for and in all of our employees today is, you know, their ability to solve problems and their ability to contribute to the culture of the company. And so we need to have better tools for them. They need to have a better experience, you can retain that incredible talent and life experience that they bring into these, you know, jobs and to really unlock their potential. And so building tools like that, that can support that, and make just the sometimes even the mundane, really simple. We’ve done some really cool mobile products where you can navigate large corporate campuses or move through, you know, facilities, and what does that mean, you know, to transform mean operations to improving the employee experience, and, you know, literally putting the information they need in the palm of their hands at any given time. And so that’s just a very quick snapshot of some of the work that we’re doing to merge right now. That has been really wonderful and very exciting to be doing.


I can absolutely see based on what you’ve just shared, like how to implement something like that inside of a healthcare system, but I’m thinking every company that I work with has a website, right? And they have customers and they have employees, or I see your little puppy in the background is making me It, I would love to suggest that there’s a couple of things that if someone has a website, what are some of the key functions that you would suggest as a digital agency? Like what should we be thinking about that healthcare is kind of grabbed on to because of the masses that they serve, but that it should be accessible in all, any size business?


I think every business should evaluate how critical you know, their website is one example is to that their overall customer journey. And you know, some of the challenges that I think businesses at all sides have is to really understand what is their customer journey, you know, they have a very narrow usually snapshot of what their engagement looks like or where their product fits into the overall world of their client. So being able to really understand what does it look like, for example, in the buyers journey, when they’re, you know, researching to learn about solutions and hopefully finding your business and then what does that look like when they are evaluating your story? solution or a product or service compared to another, and then making that decision. And so we have to look at that. And then also now we have to go past that, well, what is the website’s role when we’re supporting an amplifying the value of that decision you’ve made to purchase that product or service? And how do we start to build and nurture a relationship and build customer loyalty and affinity towards the product and the brand and in the people that that are working so hard to deliver on the promises the company is making? And so what we see is a lot of companies working really hard right now to understand, okay, you know, whether it’s marketing or another department that owns the website, is to understand, okay, well, I can, I might be my friend, my homepage might be my front door to introduce who we are to the world and to say, clearly, here’s how we can provide you value. But you quickly have to start to look at your website and say, Okay, what are the jobs to be done by this website that supports the customer journey at every stage. And so a lot of companies right now across every sector are looking at areas of opportunity like self-service, if they have questions, how can they get that information and go right to the website, which is a preferred method for a lot of people at this point. So how do I do that and enable that instead of some just lengthy FAQ, that with a bunch of information, you know, how do I actually create that as an area of opportunity of engagement? How do I nurture the relationship reinforce the value of the purchase? Or maybe it’s driving the purchase decision? How well will this company provide customer service and support to me if I choose to make that investment into their solution? So we really are asking people and leaders especially to step back and look at, you know, that very fundamental question, what are the jobs to be done by your website, and understanding there’s usually multiple jobs and they really need to be thought through very, very thoughtfully so you can actually make sure that you have a site that serves you because it is a product in itself. It’s no longer a brochure, right?


A lot of websites still are just brochures and as much as I hate to admit it that mine is. So, you know, opportunities are definitely there. And you authored a book by the name of Alignment and alignment is a topic that my clients are very familiar with. But I just I don’t want to make any assumptions. So can you share the concept of what you’ve covered in the book? What did you write it for and high level? What is it about?


Now, so I wrote the book. It was inspired by actually seen the disconnects over 20 years of working with clients. And then also just candidly inspired by the handful of clients who we had just seen, do have incredible results. And it was, you know, really wanted to understand two major facets. When we started to into alignment, which led into a multi-year research and project, which was one side of alignment, understanding failure really becoming extremely detailed students of failure, why does it happen? How do you mitigate it? What was the environment, the circumstances that led to that failure really getting to root causes? And the second part was, well, what on the success side? What was the what’s the common denominator? Our clients are in different markets, different sectors, different types of products. I mean, our company in eMERGE, we do focus exclusively on digital products. But we’re looking at things that span every facet of the customer journey, every function within an organization, the products that we’ve worked on over the years have touched, and in some cases, integrating them all together at scale. And so we want to understand what was the common denominator, and what we found in our research and interviewing market leaders was a line. That was the is the one thing that unified everything when it came to success and being able to effectively navigate the causes of failure. And so that was that was the that inspired the book that really became the idea for the book, which, you know, we’re really excited to have published later this year. It’s all done. So you know, just getting ready for that everything to go live. And what was really interesting when we looked at alignment was, again, everybody has kind of this natural understanding of what alignment is, by definition, but really peeling it back and starting to understand that there’s layers to alignment. And so when we got into that, we really start to understand there’s a system of alignment that leaders especially that are driving top performer means organizations, again, smaller or large, doesn’t matter, really understood whether they understood it consciously, or it just happened to be part of their charisma and, you know, natural acumen and skill set. And the first part of that was individual alignment. So, meaning that they really could help every employee connect with the work that they were doing at a very personal level, understanding how their contribution mattered, not just to what part of the company they worked in, but to the greater vision and whole of the company and what how that made a difference. And then connecting that to the outcomes that they that the company was focused on.


The second part of alignment was really understanding team alignment, over individual alignment that you know, team alignment, really focusing on building in integrating the unique disciplines and experiences in life, you know, perspective and how people come together to problem solve, and how they also can use that those grapes To identify new opportunities the company never thought of, and open up incredible opportunity to build momentum when it comes to engaging customers and driving the vision of a company forward. So that was the second part of the line that we really identified and tapped into. The third one was organizational alignment, which I think is a little bit probably more spoken about. In as far as management, you know, materials go with really dealing about how do we build alignment across the organization at every level between our vision, our values, which just focused on quite a bit, and then really understanding the nuances of strategy, and how that has to be tied to coherent action of the entire organization, and what that means of how focus is so critical. And then the fourth part of alignment that we really were able to unpack was market alignment. So in the product space, we talked about market fit Time is a really big deal. But alignment goes a little bit further, we’re not just looking for fit, we’re looking to align with in ask various central question. If I produce this product or service, how will it change my customer’s life? I need to know not just the intended outcome, I need to understand the bigger context that it fits within. And that gives me a better understanding of do I not just have a fit, but do I have opportunity for scale and competitive differentiation. And so looking at market alignment as really intricate to understand and requires us to lead with empathy, and stepping into the shoes of those customers to find that so those were the four areas of the book really dives deep into focusing on and then anchoring that to strategy and how that fits within your organization.


And I would imagine that I’m going to assume that you’d agree that at some point, every organization needs to get back into I’m gonna say realignment, right? Making sure that, you know, new staff people that they add or new markets and channels that they open causes sometimes and a misalignment. So how, what is the process that you that you use to, to help your clients achieve kind of that that true alignment wherever, where the mission, the vision and the work that you’re doing is in alignment with? Who’s doing it for you and who you’re doing it for?


Yeah, I mean that we start with a foundational conversation usually. And that conversation is really getting very, very clear on, you know, what’s the vision that you know, for your product or service and in some cases, if you’re a smaller business, that might be the same vision you have for the company, it may be one of the same. For really big organizations it’s going to be it could be product or service specific or business unit that that’s really focusing on something. And we really have to understand, well, what’s the destination? Where are we headed? And why are we headed there. And that has to be crystal clear. There’s a great analogy that that I heard once where, you know, if I, you know, you can drop me anywhere. And if I want to drive to New York, all I have to do is see that 200 feet in front of me, as long as I have a map, I know where I’m going. And that’s the same thing with, you know, going anywhere as an organization, we have to know where we’re going and why in order to make sure that we know we’re making forward progress. So we start there, we were looking for that clarity to do our clients have a clear definition of that. And if they don’t, then we’ll help them to find that and making sure that that those steps are not missed. The second part is really understanding the strategy and there’s, you know, I think strategy is one of those things where everybody talks about it, but it’s also another thing like alignment that’s not that well understood. So, you know, in a lot of times What we run into out emerge as a strategy is confused with planning. And it’s looked at as a very tactical thing. And what we see is that individuals with really good intention, who are very, very smart, are looking for certainty out of a very uncertain long and, you know, significant in invested process. So they’re looking for that plan they want, you know, I want to go from A to B to C. And that’s not how strategy works, right? That’s not really strategy at all. And so what we do is we spend time really talking to clients about what strategy really mean what that represents. And it’s really foundational in that you have to have that destination as an anchor. And then you have to be able to one very much diagnose clearly and, you know, thoroughly the problem that you’re trying to solve. You need to differentiate from symptomatic issues, root causes, understanding, you know, the people, the processes The systems, the influences the things that really make that problem what it is, and not just through your lens, but again, we talked about removing that bias through the lens of your customer, and how important is that problem to be solved for them? What are the substitutes to solving that problem? How have they gotten around that problem in the past? And are they willing to buy a solution that solves that problem in a different way? That’s one piece. The second piece of that is what’s your approach then to solving that? You know, maybe there’s you have a, there’s large competitive landscape out there of people that are providing solutions to the problem, but you’ve got a unique insight, you’ve got something that really helps you approach that a little bit different. And you’re going to solve one area that that’s really going to help you move forward. And you’re going to do that in a unique and sustainable way that differentiates you know, your organization and your product and you can, you know, apply that and you’re going to take that first step and moving yourself forward. And then the third part is really coherent action. What are all the actions In the areas that you need to be working, you know, work streams is another way to think of it to, to move on that to solve that problem, and fulfill the approach and overcome the obstacle.


Once you have that, you can start to do some really critical things that I think leadership is asking for every day now, which is, how do I create accountability? How do I inspire people to move forward? And how do I measure progress? How do we know we’re moving in the right direction? And if you haven’t done those three things, and you correctly, you can’t really answer those questions. And so by doing those things, we can say, here’s our current state, here’s where we’d like to be, you know, let’s say, a year from now or three years from now, but the first step to that looks like this, and that clarity, and that confidence then empowers the entire team that you’re working with, and a allows you to create the right metrics of how do I measure forward progress. And that’s how you can create accountability and really unlock the potential of people. So that’s where we start, we start with really understanding those components of how you can improve, you know, as an example of customer experience and what that customer experience is, and how to really drive engagement. And what we’re focused in on it emerges. It’s we’re not as concerned as much on the transaction we’re can we’re really focused on value creation, how do you find the right moments in that experience for those customers, that will, when the content, the features, the connection with your brand, and product matter, and then we focus on those and we go to work and we make sure that we’re starting we create measurable solutions. And that’s, that’s really the focus of where we start.


Thank you. That’s, that’s a comprehensive process, and it’s very helpful to have people understand where they need to start? I’m just curious, in case someone’s listening to that, and they go, Well, I’ve got that home, Dan, and I’ve got that figured out and everything. I think everything is in alignment. And could you spotlight or talk to some of the most common and maybe struggles pain points, challenges that would identify that there is an alignment issue, even if you’re not aware of it yet?


Sure. So, I think, you know, where a lot of the conversation is focused is on, you know, we talked about market fit, what does that look like? I think it’s more of I like to look at what are the internal things that companies do to sabotage themselves.


So and, you know, we do it as individuals I, you know, I’m sure I’ve done a million things that I’m not even aware of, it’s a sabotage, you know, myself a million times over, you know, and we do it all the time with little things right. You know, like No, I’m going to, I’m going to, you know, New Year’s resolution, I’m going to work out more, I’m going to eat healthy, I’m not going to do that. And then you know, my wife bakes a cake and Game over. So it’s, you know, we do these things as, as you know, just human beings and in organizations, these are amplified in our structures. And so a couple of them that come to mind and is, you know, one is not investing in knowing your customer. It’s really interesting how much fear there is, and sometimes engaging customer and not hearing what you want to hear. And this goes back to some of that bias where I think we naturally don’t want to hear rejection. We don’t want to be confronted with things that we don’t want to hear. We want to believe that we’re doing our best and that we know our customers. But we need to challenge that. I think a lot of times, organizations assume that they’re in alignment. And that’s a very dangerous assumption. And instead of arguing market fit, I would argue that’s internal sabotage. That’s a fear of connection or lose or giving up control. Maybe from one team to another, to initiate that work and dialogue, which should be continuous, it should never stop. Another one, I think is managing expectations. So one of the things that we see a lot is expect, you know, optimism being confused for expectations. So you see, this very interesting dynamic of people are really excited, and they’re really gung ho and they have a new idea, a new initiative. And they’re not they haven’t grounded it yet to expectation. So the optimism becomes the expectations of stakeholders or customers. And then when it’s like, well, that was just an you know, that was idea that wasn’t a promise, though, that optimism is taken as that promise and the expectations fall flat. And I think it’s very critical that organizations balance grounding optimism, with expectations, you need to be optimistic. I don’t want to argue for pessimism and things like that, but I do think it’s really Critical that people focus on, you know, be being honest about things and making sure that those assumptions aren’t misinterpreted. And especially because people if they don’t have the information will fill it in for themselves, typically based on their own experiences. Another one that comes up a lot is silo knowledge. And I think, you know, a lot of people work on this issue in different ways. We have our own way that we deal with it, you know, that I’m sure overlaps a lot with management and coaching practices on the digital side, but it’s, you know, this silo knowledge is really, you know, significant challenge for organizations and breaking down silos creates organizational change. It’s a lot of work for leaders, and they have to develop some new skills to do it effectively with technology. So we see that as another issue. There’s about seven or eight others but they’re the one I’ll end with At least for the moment is, is this idea. It sounds so fundamental but skipping steps. And I think this is one that I can’t overemphasize is that culturally, right now, there’s this push for what’s the quick fix? How do I get there faster. And there’s a necessity right now we all have needs to move things faster in one facet of our life or another in and I think the thing is, if there was a faster way to do it better, and you have success, that would become the standard, there is no quick fix to this stuff. It’s very hard work. And the organizations that I see thriving, even during times like this are the ones that don’t skip the steps. You know, and great companies have figured out how to move through those steps faster. They’re not but not removed the critical steps because it removes invaluable information. Making really critical decision than informed do I persist? Or do I pivot? When I go left? Do I go right? Do I Do I commit to this person, this business partnership, this idea and opportunity? And those things can’t be? They’re more important than ever right now. And I think that leaders really have to embrace educating themselves. Or if I’m going to take on, for example, digital product, do I understand the steps? How do I have a foundation to lead this effectively?


I can imagine being the pioneer of helping people implement the digital components into a business that you probably have a lot of people in, like managing the fear of when the change and then access to, to the feedback that they might be, might be given what has what has been the most effective process to create that customer feedback loop and the customer engagement, even when you don’t know what you’re going to learn, is it? Interview? What’s been the best process that you’ve experienced?


Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, both quantitative and qualitative data are wonderful. What I’m mostly interested in and, you know, from my side, where I said more on the strategic and working with leaders is I want to understand people’s behavior. So analytics is really wonderful. And there’s amazing tools out there and they tell us what people do. But they don’t tell us why people do it. Right. And so I think interviewing and really just talking to people and again, connecting as people becomes critical, because we need to understand why. And so there’s, you know, there’s the question is, Do you have enough of a connection? Are you talking to people who are willing to tell you hard truths and some Sometimes we need to think about are we the right people to have those conversations? Do we need to have somebody else that can come in and help facilitate to create kind of a neutral, safe space for everybody? Or is there? Can we reframe our questions? advice I got from one of my mentors, you know, if you lose a deal, never ask what you could have done better. Ask what they loved about the person who won the deal, you know, and I thought that was, you know, fantastic. And I asked why it’s, it’s basic psychology and their talent there. It’s people are so much more willing to give. No one wants to hurt anybody’s feelings intentionally. No one wants to put down somebody. But that’s information that’s actually constructive. You can do something with that, because now you’re getting a competitive insight. And you can do something. And I think when you think about engaging with customers, you need to think about what’s the space of the conversation, so that you can set it up for success to get the insights that will help you as you go forward.


I think there is a very powerful question on when we go to seek that type of feedback as to who should be asking it and creating the environment so that you can get that honest honesty because they think you can go through the exercise and walk away with the wrong data as well. And focusing on you know, being able to have people express why that’s very powerful. have you encountered as you’re trying to implement creative, digital innovative solutions that you have conflict between the priorities of the business units and the priorities of the team and how do you how do you make those work together?


I mean, it happens all the time.


You overcome it, I know how it happens every time.


To overcome it. I think it goes back to do you have a strong strategic foundation. think a lot of times if you have a strong strategic foundation, you can look out and go, where does this fit in helping you achieve this goal, if the organization has set a clear, you know, set of priorities, they have a clear destination, they know that, you know, they’re clear about the problem they need to solve, things fall into order pretty well. And what we can do is we can start to look at each, you know, competing priorities, we can say, Okay, why is this the priority over this? Let’s, and you know, we, we basically workshop those things, we workshop the conflict and say, Okay, well, let’s understand, let’s ground this, how will this solve the problem? provide value to the client? How will provide value to the business? And does it fulfill the mission and the purpose of the company? And can we measure, can we, and we start to have conversations in each of those dimensions, and we start to reconcile that and then usually what happens pretty quickly is that you start to see where one initiative are competing priorities starts to fall backwards, you know, we’ve got too many things or this priority is actually dependent on that other thing we said, we wanted to backburner, and now we’re going to have to flip them around because we really can’t do that successfully. Unless we have this in place. And it’s usually just working with clients to understand that and work through that process. We find ourselves to be more facilitators in that discussion to reset those priorities. When there’s too many priorities, they’re competing, and we recognize conflict, and we’re not able to have that reconciliation. Usually that’s a sign that there’s, you know, either a breakdown in the overall strategy, maybe or maybe there’s a, there may be a bad strategy, or maybe no strategy in place that’s anchoring decision making. Or what can sometimes happen is that there is things that we actually are not able to affect change on what we can recognize and in some cases in our place to have the appropriate conference. About which is your culture ready for this change? You know, why is there such a resistance or fight related to these priorities? And so, we’ve seen in organizations of all sizes, kind of feast them to develop, then, you know, it’s ego gets in the way. And so on the challenge I see.


And so, you know, I mean, you, you probably can speak to this as well if not better than I can because I you know, that’s not a place that we’re, you know, ever brought in to facilitate, but we can certainly recognize it. And I can certainly tell you in researching the book, some of the best leaders I’ve ever met, that I feel very fortunate to have had the time to get to know through the process of the book, you know, that they all get it ego has to be checked at the door. You know, it’s and they really understand that is, you know, going to lead a company to failure, especially when you grow beyond the founder mentality you know, usually of a founders very charismatic and big personality. They carry the vision Everything that, that they embody it in every essence, a lot of times as an entrepreneur. But as you start to build a team and you start to see issues develop, usually there’s a fragmentation that’s starting to happen. And you can’t carry that, you know, founder, you know, the energy forward, if he goes in the way in power people for very long.


And just to add to that a little bit, and maybe there’s a solution we can come up with right now and just sell this as a solution. But what I found is, I work with a lot of very people, PR, focused people first organizations. So not necessarily founder mentality ego, but I’m talking about that, you know, they’ve created these ownership cultures. And there’s an ego that goes with that ownership. So, you know, regardless of whether they’re their founder, they still own their department, their team, their silo, their service, their area of expertise, and then to make change in a group that has that strong dynamic is can be very challenging.


I don’t know if there’s a simple solution on say, everyone check it.


If there is, I would love for you to teach me how to how to do it, you know, but one thing comes to mind. And I, you know, is really interesting is this idea of servant leadership. And that was a theme that came up a lot as I was researching the book is this idea of servant leadership, what it means to you know, and I think that that’s, you know, it’s one way to start to separate ego from the idea of leadership and there’s this weird do I mean, I’ve dealt with it myself being a CEO of a company is, you know, your, you value your leadership at a level where it’s, you know, I’m, I’m a leader because I can, you know, make, hopefully really great decisions quickly with not always all the information necessary. I can support the people around me and move things forward. You know and so that that is easy to get caught up and not I think and not step back and realize that you know, if you know I’m if you’re in servant leadership My job is not to have people follow what I’m doing my job is to empower them to do their work and I find alignment in everything that they’re doing. And I’ve heard a lot It seems to be getting more popular but this idea of I don’t need mentors and at work I need coaches and people who will coach me through this process or to become you know, a better manager or a better leader. And I think you know, that’s that definitely rings true for me. I can see the value of that and I can see where some people in my life I’ve been more coaches and have helped me probably avoid some pretty big mistakes.


Everyone needs one for sure. in their life. Thank you. Um, I’m just curious, what should leaders, what did leaders need to know? Today in order to be innovating digital components into their business and into their services. So what should if someone hasn’t been thinking about this at all? What should they be thinking about?


So I’m gonna say something that might scare some of the people listening to this a little bit, but I’m gonna ask you, every person listening to this, how does a leader you need to become trilingual? And I’m gonna explain what that means you need to have a fundamental understanding of business design and technology. If you’re going to start creating digital products and services and you’re going to lead you have to understand the people on the frontlines and the skill sets that are required to deliver these products and services. It helps you be a better manager helps you be better leader helps you respect in value the work it will take and manage your peers and potentially or partners, whether they’re internal or externally focused to really understand and grasp. You know, what, what your what your Taking on it, I think it also helps you make much better decisions. And by doing that you can start to develop a common language and understanding in your company of what these things are and what they mean and the complexity it takes to deliver successfully. And so I think it’s really mission critical for all leaders to develop that trilingual capability across those three disciplines. And they’re all rooted in how do I solve problems better? I mean, it’s not we’re not, I’m not asking any leader here to stretch and become an engineer or to become a designer. But I think having an understanding of how do you create an end design, better processes, better customer experiences, what does that look like? That fundamental understanding and shared understanding with your team will accelerate performance? accelerates delivery, helps you make better decisions, and it will really empower your organization going forward. And that is one of the most important things I think that all leaders need to embrace right now. Because for those that are struggling, that’s where the deficit is. And they need to they need to close the gap.


Very good advice.


I am at the beginning of the interview, you mentioned that your book Alignment is coming out soon correct or soon. What? So once that’s out what’s next on your exciting docket to just rack up all success in 2020? While we’re all in COVID?


Well, one of the things that I’ll be doing after the book is launched is actually to support leaders I’ll be offering for product leaders and leader company leadership, workshops on how to build alignment and some of the fundamental tools to beating your digital initiatives forward. So I’ll be offering that as a free online program going into the fall of 2020. So that’s one of the ways that we’re going to contactless leadership development easy. Do it from your own home, and you know, just supporting all the people out there. And I think the other thing is, it’s a, what I’m really excited, it’s a great opportunity to give back. And so that’s going to be why we’re going to offer that series, at least through the end of 2020 is for free.


Fantastic. And I’m just super curious, is that going to be like a training module type of alignment? Or are you actually doing content contact lists, but virtually working with the individual teams?


We will have it and the first format will actually be, it’ll be live where we’re actually working them through. So if they’re either developing or they have an existing product or service, we’ll be taking them through kind of five fundamental things to map and identify If they have them all, so hopefully they’ll get a lot of value in managing that knowledge to empower their company going forward. And if they don’t, it will provide a foundation to really help them be successful.


Outstanding. I did notice on your website that you do have a landing page for people to opt in to get your book. May we share that with our Deliberate Leaders community?


Absolutely. It’s in any listener who would like a free copy of the virtual version of the book. If they sign up on that page. We will send them one in the fall when it comes out.


Outstanding, Jonathan, what is the best way for people to connect with you?


Best way to connect is through, all my contact information is there. I’m also active in publishing articles through LinkedIn on a regular basis. It’s another great place to reach out.


Fantastic. Jonathon, thank you so much. I’m excited for the opportunity to take a peek at what you’re doing with your workshops. I think that that is a great gift back and to help people kind of pull together elevating their service experience to their internal people as well as to the cut their customers in any way. So that’s outstanding.


I appreciate your time and everything that you do.


Yeah, thank you so much. I really appreciate you having me. It was a wonderful conversation.


Awesome. Thank you. Take care.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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