Bouncing forward

Rethinking business for a digital-first world


Last week, I got to sit down with Dan Murray, advisor at Quantum Metric and former CDO of Bed Bath & Beyond. Dan is whip smart and has worked on several massive ecommerce re-platformings for companies like Target and Sprint to name a few. As a true movie buff, Dan won our game of “who can work in the most film quotes,” and our conversation holds some gems about innovation, driving revenue via ecommerce, leadership, and organizational effectiveness. Dan is a thoughtful, strategic leader who is laser-focused on the voice of the customer and reaching those customers through omni-channel experiences and engagement. I certainly learned a lot from Dan and hope that you take some time to listen to his insightful thoughts about customer centricity.

Episode highlight

Post-pandemic: Digital is everything

Digital is increasingly important post-pandemic; it used to be the tip of the spear and now it’s the entire spear. Our experiences have increasingly moved completely online, whether they be banking, retail, or ecommerce experiences. This presents a huge opportunity for agile organizations who can pivot quickly to really meet customer needs as they appear. Agility has proved to be a differentiator and advantage to many Celerity customers who have rapidly developed and deployed products and services in response to changes wrought by coronavirus.

This rapid digital escalation has also allowed companies to become more efficient in response to the shifting environment. Decision-making and processes are being streamlined and organizations are becoming more efficient in response. Digital marketing and spend has shifted towards social as users are spending more time on social platforms, which presents an opportunity for companies to further tap into digital as a way to build authentic relationships with their customers.

Episode highlight

What to know in massive re-platforming efforts

When organizations are tackling projects at the scale of multi-hundreds of millions of dollars, what lessons do you really need to apply? Dan relayed 4 lessons he has learned in leading ambitious, large-scale efforts:

  1. Lead with the core objectives. It’s important to really understand what you’re trying to accomplish and to make sure those objectives are prioritized by impact. It’s like building a digital product, where you build an MVP around the top 1-3 objectives. Keeping the team constantly focused on those top objectives.
  2. Meticulous planning leads to agility. Think in long- and short-term horizons, and work and plan both forwards and backwards.
  3. Set an organizational structure and operating model that makes sense. Projects at this scale are business and IT projects, not siloed to one function. It’s essential to work as a team across the organization with joint accountability.
  4. Have a great team working with you and for you. Team enablement and shared success are key to executing projects. Dan gives some tips about the hiring process and how you enable, coach, and motivate those teams.

Episode highlight

Common pitfalls to avoid

Dan shares a few of the biggest mistakes he sees companies make when it comes to digital:

  • It’s easy to choose not to do something because it’s hard, putting the business needs ahead of the customers. Organizations need to optimize for their customers in order to retain and grow customer loyalty, and decisions need to be made while considering both the business and the customer needs. If you hear someone say “Oh, that’s too hard,” you’re fighting for your constraints and when you fight for your constraints you keep them.
  • It’s a mistake to think that business needs and customer needs are opposed. Challenges to customers or the business present an opportunity to align for a win-win, although sometimes you need an outside perspective to help discover that win-win across organizational siloes.

Watch the full episode

Dan’s insight and experience are consistent with Celerity’s work supporting large organizations and effective teams as they use technology to transform in response to a shifting landscape. Rapidly responding to change is both difficult and essential as we navigate uncertainty. Dan recommends keeping the customer at the center of the equation.

We always end our interview with a few reading recommendations, and Dan shared The Lean Startup with us, as well as The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. Celerity is reading The Culture Code together in November, and we hope that Dan will join us for that discussion. You’re welcome to read along as well, as we dive more deeply into the secrets of highly successful groups.

Are you ready for the next normal?

Interested in learning more about how to build business resilience to thrive in the next normal? Reach out today. And make sure to find out about future episodes in the series by following Celerity on LinkedIn.