Category Archives: Leadership

9. Turning Ideas into Positive Impact with Mauro Cozzi

There is sufficient venture capitalist funding for every business to become a positive impact business. With this in mind, what is the formula for launching a successful startup?

  1. Generate ideas
  2. Test ideas
  3. Execute on an idea
  4. Fail 
  5. Rinse and repeat

Fairly simple right? But the secret sauce in the success of a startup is largely dependent on three ideals:

  1. A founding team blended by years of solid friendship or individuals that can quickly find a cadence with one another
  2. A team that complements each other and can rise from adversity stronger than where they started 
  3. A compelling answer to why the business exists and how it has the potential to change the world

These are one of many lessons I learnt from my conversation with Mauro Cozzi. Mauro alongside Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie are the founding team of Emitwise.

Emitwise empowers companies to accelerate their carbon to net-zero targets by using AI to automate how businesses measure, report, and reduce their carbon emissions throughout their operations and supply chain. Emitwise went from ideas on post-it notes in a kitchen to having some of the largest corporations in the world using their solution. 

All this in 12 months!

The ambitious founders quickly identified the need to recruit the right people and expertise. It’s not only the right blend of experienced individuals, but how the co-founding team engages, that has been pivotal to their rapid success.

Mauro, Eduardo and Ben are building a moonshot. One with a viable business model and the ability to support real, sustainable climate action.

Mauro and Eduardo’s friendship stems back to High School in Chile. Even at an early stage, they were ideating solutions to help tackle the climate challenge. Inspired by a physics class that explained climate change principles and the feedback loop that exacerbates global warming. 

They were on a mission to make a real positive impact.

In this episode, we focus on Mauro’s story from his origins in Argentina and travel via conversation around Latin America, North America and the UK.

We also breakdown:

  • The mechanics around ideation. How idea’s should be tested and why noise around issues/challenges is largely irrelevant when pitching for investment.
  • How Mauro, alongside his dorm room friends Maciej Szpakowski and Przemek Zientala first got a taste for entrepreneurship at a University Dragon’s Den Programme
  • How Mauro’s first experience in the startup world landed him on the acclaimed Berkeley Skydeck accelerator programme in Silicon Valley
  • How Silicon Valley contributes to shaping core values and promoting a mindset change in young entrepreneurs 
  • Why Mauro’s first startup failed and how this contributed to Eduardo and Ben accidentally co-creating a new opportunity

There is a serendipitous nature to this story.

Mauro’s journey has a degree of randomness. Lots of disparate pieces that on their own are difficult to stitch together. But when viewed through the lens of Jazz Fusion – yes, I suspect you weren’t expecting that twist – there is a relationship, a series of events coupled with a degree of improvisation that can create a musical masterpiece. 

One that has the potential to change the world.

QUOTES

Activism ‘in a pat yourself on the back type of way’ is a privilege. Activism in having real meaningful impact is a responsibility. – Mauro

You are here to build a moonshot.” – Mauro

Ignore whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s the biggest game of Russian roulette the world has ever played – Elon Musk.“ – Mauro

The most important thing about a business is the why. Everything falls out of the why.“ – Mauro

I’m not any kind of exceptional person, I was just told I could do something different and I listened.“ – Mauro

“Every day on a constant basis we are reminded of the companies’ mission and vision. To accelerate the transition to a net-zero world.“ – Mauro

By flexing the idea muscle you’re only going to make it stronger.“ – Bobby

RESOURCES

Website: Emitwise
Twitter: @emitwise
LinkedIn Profile: Mauro Cozzi
LinkedIn Profile: Eduardo Gomez
LinkedIn Profile: Ben Peddie
Twitter: @mauro_cozzi
Twitter: @eduardo_a_gomez
Twitter: @benjaminpeddie
Website: Berkeley Skydeck Accelerator
Website: Future Worlds Dragons Den
eBook: The Business Benefits of Carbon Accounting
Blog Post: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Idea Machine
Website: Snarky Puppy – A Great Introduction to Jazz Fusion


RELATED EPISODES

Episode #5: The Sustainable Enterprise with Mike Mcilroy
Episode #6: Phreaking Out with Matthew Dytkowski
Episode #8: Going Green on Nuclear with Zion Lights

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

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7. The Times They Are a-Changin’ with John Wallace

In this episode, I unwrap the employee experience with my guest and good friend John Wallace. John and I have worked closely together for several years on global HR change initiatives. Right now, we are both navigating the same commercial challenges of our ever-changing present whilst also attempting to define our future trajectory.

John is a native of – and still resides – in Cardiff, South Wales. A prominent and influential HR leader who has been at the forefront of people transformation programmes in aerospace, steel, telecoms, public sector services and beyond. 

We start John’s story in the depths of the 1980s. During the UK’s most challenging people management crisis of the 20th century. A period that saw the decline of steel and coal mining industries and the knock-on – people and political – impact that tore through South Wales at a velocity not dissimilar to the pandemic. 

It’s leaders like John, with authenticity and pragmatic governance that can balance the scales between external disruption and positive change. Vision is the ability to put the employee experience at the forefront of decision making.

Employee experience is the theme of this conversation.

We explore the impact of automation, artificial intelligence and when infused with John’s candid personality our conversation paints a picture of a future Britain that may not be too dissimilar to the ghost towns of the 1980s.

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE?

  • How technology should augment the workforce and not just be a vehicle for downsizing
  • How authenticity is the cornerstone to a good employee experience and the downstream impact on the customer experience
  • How the socioeconomic impact of artificial intelligence is already written in the history books; we can learn a great deal from previous industrial revolutions
  • Why organisations haven’t kept up with the velocity of technological change and how this has adversely impacted people management
  • Why conformance and performance are the two key factors to good corporate governance
  • How organisational values often fail to translate to the employee experience and how this can create a subculture of departmental value silo’s
  • How words written – in the 1980’s – by UB40 and The Specials, relate to this eerie snapshot of our present socioeconomic status

QUOTES

“Sometimes things might not do you any good but might not do you any harm. Being involved and trying is a worthwhile enterprise within itself.“ – John

“When it comes to the cold hard economics of change, who’s going to blink first?” – John

“Every employee is an advocate, but they may not be an advocate of what you want them to be.” – John

“Organisations want to exploit technology without a single thought for the employee experience – apart from… we just need fewer of them.” – John

“Don’t defend the indefensible…” – John

RESOURCES

LinkedIn Profile: John Wallace
Blog Post: The “New Normal”?
Blog Post: Employees Are Customers Too
Ted Talk: Daniel Sussking on the 3 Myths About the Future of Work and Why They Are Not True
Web Link: Lattitude Global Volunteering

RELATED EPISODES

Episode #5: The Sustainable Enterprise with Mike Mcilroy

EBOOK RELEASE

My next eBook is scheduled for release on 1st Dec 2020. PRE-ORDER your FREE copy of the Top 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

All of my eBooks are available at bobbyjagdev.com/ebooks

SUPPORT THE PODCAST

The best way to support the podcast is to share this episode and have this conversation.

I also have an affiliate programme with organisations that I either work closely with or I’m aligned to their mission. For a complete list of my partners, affiliates and even any discount codes, please visit my partners page at bobbyjagdev.com/partners

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.

4. Skillz from the Vault

This episode is a continuation of the blog post – Mastery of craft. Where I alluded to a lost year, an experience and set of skills that are one of my best-kept secrets. 

WHAT CAN YOU LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE?

  • A lost year of education and a teenage ambition, that has now been resurfaced, reshaped and fused into my current career path
  • A valuable leadership lesson in allowing individuals to make their own mistakes
  • Why any experience, no matter how small or historic is never wasted

QUOTES

“We all have old experiences and skills that can be dusted off to create something new, and that’s exactly how good ideas begin.” – Bobby

RESOURCES

Blog post: Mastery of craft
Instagram: My new podcasting studio
Web link: An introduction to Indian classical music – What is a raag?
Web link: What is computational musicology?

EBOOK RELEASE

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to PRE-ORDER a FREE copy of my new eBook Top 5 Contracting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

My eBook is scheduled for release on 1st Sept. All PRE-ORDER’S before this date will receive a series of BONUS material, where I will share two decades of hard learnt contract negotiation techniques and strategy.

CHECK IN WITH BOBBY

Visit me at: bobbyjagdev.com

Follow me on social media: LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

JOIN MY MAILING LIST

Sign up to my mailing list and receive detailed show notes, the latest episodes and new articles direct to your inbox.

FEEDBACK AND FOLLOW

Thanks so much for listening! If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and rate and review on your favourite podcasting platform.

You can also leave feedback about this episode on LinkedIn or Facebook

Quality decision-making – What’s your boardgame?

A board room is one of those occasionally used spaces, off the grid of the online booking system and with its own sense of exclusivity. I should remember them for their character destroying building experiences. But it’s the scent of the room, that I recall most.

Undertones of leather masking an obscure aroma of heavy cleaning products. Reflection of a room frequently cleaned but infrequently used. When occupied, the smell of fresh coffee provides an almost recognisable warmth. But it’s not a room that one should get too comfortable in. The tide can turn quickly, and the board room can soon become – dare I say it – a war room.

As I stand around the table, I almost feel like I don’t belong here. Outranked by the industry equivalent of five-star generals and outflanked by an onslaught of questions. When the attack commences, this room can often be a lonely place. There are not many allies willing to pop themselves above the parapet for fear of the attack changing its trajectory. 

I’ve been here before. No matter how well prepared and how well socialised a final proposal is, the most talented leaders know when and how to ask the right questions. It’s these types of questions, designed to derail your presentation and to highlight inadequacies in your readiness.

And why shouldn’t they? I’m not only asking for endorsement of a significant financial commitment, but failure to deliver could have career impacting implications on the leadership.

As I pause to focus and structure my response, let me explain how I ended up here…

The process

Most IT projects are conceived in or around some type of procurement process. This reaches its apex on a crucial decision point. A preferred supplier – be it software, services or hardware; the differentiation is largely irrelevant.

If the process is run correctly, this shouldn’t come down to one or two decision making meetings. As requirements and the solution evolve, so should the stakeholder’s journey.

Poor decision making is one of the most common and costly pain points of any IT delivery project. The ability to make decisions, is one of the core tools in any leader’s toolbox. For a technology-enabled change, it’s often my role as Lead Architect to act as the advisor and influence the quality of that decision.

A chess Grandmaster knows, that a quality chess move is one that requires a piece to be moved only once. Several quality decisions provide leverage over the entire game. In the context of business, this leverage takes various forms. From risk avoidance to alleviating project time pressures and providing measurable value to the business.

Quality decision making however, is largely contextualised in the eye of the leader. We rarely see this through the lens of the advisor. 

Quality of the advisory

Decisions are made upon the status of information known and presented at a given point in time. As we progress through the project lifecycle we learn, we innovate, we find new solutions. I believe, there are three core principles that directly influence the quality of a decision;

  1. Frame – How you introduce your proposal, the problem statement, solution and benefits is a journey. Your stakeholders should be taken on that journey, slowly building up collateral and momentum as you approach the final approval gate. Properly framing a decision validates that you are trying to solve the right problem. This process is key in gaining executive alignment. Many ERP projects fail due to lack of executive support.
  2. Options – Should all be profiled around risk, impact, benefit and cost. Being creative around all the possible options, really engages the learning process. However, as that process evolves the number of options will naturally dial down. Only those that are achievable, meet the same goal, are complete (not strawman), but different enough from each other should be presented. Depending on the scenario, leading stakeholders into developing a hybrid/flavour of an option can be an incredible engagement enabler – however there is a fine line here.
  3. Time – Leadership respond well, when they have not only influenced the shape of the journey but been given sufficient runway for decision reflection and challenge. However, this must be balanced right-to-left, without compromising the critical delivery path.

Observing leadership styles and team dynamics can add significant value. The leadership, like any other team, are likely to have their cliques and internal political motivations. 

I once tagged along to leadership meetings, purely to observe. Familiarising myself with body language, mannerisms and picking up on small quirks. One that always stuck in my head was a certain leader’s distaste for colour gradient fills in a presentation. In his opinion; red, amber or green should be solid colours, not a gradient fill from amber-to-green as this indicated indecisiveness! This was a clearly a personal preference and may even seem trivial.

However, these observations are about removing the noise. Allowing you to maximise your limited time and delivering your message without compromise or distraction.

Back to the boardroom

I not only survive the onslaught of questions but provide leadership with sufficient confidence that the projects recommendation is the right way forward. My approach drives a debate across the options, and we secure endorsement to proceed. Not forgoing a few obligatory caveats. 

Lobbying for support outside of a formal setting is crucial in bringing risks and concerns to the surface. Addressing these, both officially and unofficially is a powerful tool in gaining support. But don’t get caught off-guard, any loyalty you gained can soon swing if the mood of the room changes.

However, in some cases, you don’t always need the full support of the room. With the right counsel, good leaders should have the confidence and experience to make a decision without consensus. There are always likely to be absconders; those sitting on the fence wanting to distance themselves from any future failures. Key challenges in the role of the advisor is to judge the political position, remove the emotion and allow the facts to be seen unclouded.

Let’s also not forget, that outcome is not always a reflection of the quality of a decision. Where the right technology/supplier decision was made, many projects I have delivered could have quite easily failed due to other issues. Many nearly did – however, that’s a post for another time.

Choice of technology and solution is only one part of the puzzle. It’s all about engagement, approach and education. Just like a chess Grandmaster looks for leverage with every move, enable your leadership to make quality decisions.

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