Recalculating…

Our new Chief Strategy Officer shares “why” he chose to join the Trility team.

Originally published on Brody Deren’s LinkedIn Profile on Oct. 3, 2019.

This is not how I drew it up; it’s not how I planned it. I’m type A. I like to be in control… and this wasn’t my original Google Maps route.

I have joined Trility Consulting as Chief Strategy Officer, and I couldn’t be more jazzed about it!

Wait… what???

“You just started a business 5 years ago, didn’t you?” Some might ask. “Why would you want to work for someone else?” they’ll say. “Why not start another company?”

I did start a company 5 years ago, yes. A technology recruiting and staff augmentation company called Dynamo. It became profitable within 12 months, grew every year (became an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company), supported a bunch of great customers, and built a great brand with a great group of people.

I was honored to help lead that company, from its initial twinkle-in-the-eye to becoming a growing and recognized brand.

It just wasn’t the right organizational arrangement at the right time. I eventually came to the realization that it would be healthier if we restructured the company, and that led to me exiting. It was hard, yes. It was emotional, very much so. But it was the right decision.

Since my exit, I’ve listened to a bunch of people and considered numerous ideas for my next road to travel. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to grow a network of great contacts, gained know-how, and have a number of potential customers to pursue if I were to start another recruiting and staff augmentation business. It’s a compelling opportunity to consider, and I’ve given it a lot of thought. So why not do it?

Trility is why not. Matthew Edwards is why not. Brenton Rothchild is why not. And the rest of the great team of people at Trility are why not.

Trility is a collection of incredibly bright, value-driven, people-first advisors, technologists, and business people who have critical skills and experience to help clients win in the modern digital economy. They are a business and technology consultancy that delivers results, predictably and repeatedly. They solve complex problems, help guide clients down roads they’ve never ventured, and offer solutions in areas like Cloud, IoT, Cybersecurity, Strategy and Roadmapping, Operational Modernization, and Data/Analytics. They bring products and services to the table that are helping lead enterprise companies (I mean huge Fortune 100 companies) through transformational efforts. And they do it all with security top of mind, all of the time.

I’m also ready for a new challenge. I’ve spent the last 14 years of my career in the recruiting and staff augmentation space. I learned a lot in the industry, and it provided a great foundation. This next chapter comes with different challenges, a different business model, and a bigger opportunity to impact the customers we serve. And Trility does it better, with a more human-centered approach, with more satisfied customers than its competition (think 7-star service, on a 5-star scale).

My personal roadmap has often been in a state of “recalculating” over the years. Heck, I went to Creighton University as an exercise science and business major, and I thought I was going to become a Physical Therapist and start a PT practice. A few unexpected reroutes since then, and I certainly haven’t arrived at that destination. And that’s okay. I’ve learned to adjust my outlook and path, based upon passions, priorities, and opportunities.

I’m blessed to have worked with a ton of great people in my career. I’ve learned so much, from so many. I only hope to give back a sliver of wisdom, inspiration, and know-how that I’ve gleaned from colleagues, consultants, clients, mentors, students, and contacts along the way.

It’s time to get started down the next road. In my role, I will be helping the Trility team expand its markets, customers, offerings, partnerships, impact, and growth. I’ll be looking to help the team promote and reinforce the innovative, always-improving, and team-first culture that already exists. We will be growing, we will be hiring, and we will be ready to partner with companies looking to defend or extend their market share in the digital economy of today. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out.

My new route is set. I’m not sure what surprises are in store on this road, but I’m sure there will be plenty and I’m looking forward to each of them.

Go For The Win

The “fail fast, fail often” mantra may NOT lead to a win in the world of digital transformation. Just like in soccer, your company must focus on the desired outcome (scoring goals) to win.

The mantra “fail fast, fail often” is a rallying cry for technologists pushing organizations to become more Agile, more Lean, and to push teams to deliver faster. What is being delivered and how valuable it is long term, however, tends to get lost in the shuffle and “fail fast, fail often” can lead to a big fail when there isn’t a clear goal in mind. 

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in France and if you’ve watched any of the games, one of the statistics talked about is time of possession. During the course of a game, teams will drive forward to test an opposing defense, then pull back, sometimes all the way to the goalkeeper, and try again. However, as soon as the defense has adjusted and passing lanes are open the offensive side is on the attack again working towards the desired outcome: Score a goal.

Fail fast, learn often may not lead to a win in the world of digital transformation. You don't win if you aren't focused on taking shots at the goal. The first step is defining the desired outcome.
Fail fast, fail often may not lead to a win in the world of digital transformation. You don’t win if you aren’t focused on taking shots at the goal. The first step is defining the desired outcome.

In April 2018 Sunnie Giles, a Forbes.com Contributor, posted an article: How To Fail Faster – And Why You Should. She states, “In today’s complex business environment, where things are changing constantly, speed of execution is a lot more important than perfect execution.” She points to a concept of iterations creating positive autocatalytic feedback loops which eventually leads to radical innovation. This is a pretty common view from many leadership teams on how they want to push their organizations forward.

Radical Innovation

The words “radical innovation” stuck out when I read the article. I have had the privilege to work with a number of organizations throughout my career. In some cases, the leadership inside the organization coveted innovation and spent a significant amount of time and money building up innovation teams. The opportunity to drive the business into adjacent markets, new markets entirely, or to refine their existing market offerings to expand the organizations hold on a market. More often than not, the “radical innovation” introduced by leadership was either cut off from the rest of the organization or was actively under attack by more established parts of the organization and in the end, not effective in achieving the original business objectives.

Teams get locked into playing possession and lose focus on moving down the field and scoring a goal.

7/2/2019 World's Cup Score: England Vs. USA
Above is an illustration of losing focus. In last week’s game, England had more possession, more passes, and better passing accuracy, but because they didn’t attack they lost the game.

Why? Executives jockeying for power, friction between “the way we’ve always done it” vs. “the new way we want to do it now,” shrinking budgets, changes in priority to shore up existing market share. A large number of different factors all branching from a common thread: a lack of focus on the desired outcome. Teams get locked into playing possession and lose focus on moving down the field and scoring a goal.

Four Steps to Fail Fast AND Achieve the Desired Outcome

How do you prevent getting locked into playing possession? At Trility, we break the process down into four distinct stages: 

1. Discover
2. Definition
3. Implementation
4. Evolution 

Each stage in the process has a clearly defined outcome to help ensure stakeholders can see the value along the way. Often companies are eager to jump straight to the Implementation stage and the “fail fast, fail often” mindset can achieve the discover and define stages – thus the desired outcome along the journey. However, unless you know where the goal is your team is just playing possession.