Having spent more than a decade studying rebels in unexpected places, Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School Francesca Gino joined the CFO Summit to share what she learned, applying it to the evolving role of the CFO. This article is inspired by and reflects some of the themes of her presentation.
Like most retailers, Walmart began its journey by opening just one store. Still standing today in Rogers, Arkansas (but now a Supercenter), the first Walmart opened its doors in 1962. Yet over the last 57 years, Walmart stands out from other retailers by the sheer magnitude of its growth. The company has become a household name and now boasts a total revenue of $515 billion and $28 billion in operating cash flow. It has retail presence in 27 countries and employs 2.2 million total associates who help to complete an average of 275 million transactions per week.
For chief operating officers and chief supply chain officers, the new pace of change is driven by questions that that have the potential of completely transforming operations: What if our customers could co-design an entire service or product virtually with our firm –-how would that change our operations? What if a supply chain could “think” on its own-- what would that mean for our business? What if value shifted from single firms to broader ecosystems and networks--how would that impact our current business model and create new ones?
When James O’Neill became the Police Commissioner of New York City in 2016, the department was in the midst of significant change. During the previous summer, the NYPD launched a neighborhood policing pilot program in four precincts. The goal was to test strategies for building trusting relationships between residents and police with the hope of further reducing crime and police-involved shootings. Some of these strategies proved successful, and the NYPD worked to expand the program, but there was plenty of resistance. It was up to O’Neill to make the case for neighborhood policing and lead the Department toward making necessary changes in its policing philosophy and practices.
As CFOs and financial executives at the Summit have reflected on their role in the world, they’re experiencing profound change now, as well as seeing shifts on the horizon. In fact, over the past three years of the CFO of the Future Summit, and average of 71% of attendees said they have experienced “significant or extreme change” in their operating environment over the past five years, and 86% anticipate even more change over the next five years.
This level of change – driven by massive social, economic, and technological shifts – is moving CFOs to relook at the core strategies, competencies, and activities they focus on. This reflection and anticipation have made it clear that the CFO of the Future has to not only protect and drive firm value, but also create and harness new business models and forms of value. As Tracey Travis, CFO of Estee Lauder Companies and member of the Summit Executive Leadership Group framed; “In finance, rather than creating static reports to look at trends, it’s about our ability to help the organization be more predictive in what’s trending and determine what response we can develop to generate new value from that. We have to create more real-time dashboards, understand what’s happening, and be ready to capitalize on that.”
In a post-Amazon world, there has been a dramatic shift in customer expectations. Consumers want more personalization, on-demand products and services, and immediate access. How can the supply chain and operations leaders of tomorrow meet these new demands while addressing a growing set of disruptors? At Johnson & Johnson (J&J), customer intimacy is a critical part of the equation. The company engages with people through some of the most challenging experiences of their life – when they have new babies, when they are diagnosed with a disease, or when they get hurt. Now as the company looks toward future growth, J&J’s Supply Chain is playing a critical role in finding new ways to bring even more personalization to its products and solutions.
In this digital era, chief operating officers and chief supply chain officers have an unprecedented opportunity to harness new business models and be on the forefront of enterprise growth. Yet realizing the potential of emerging ideas is often difficult. What does this journey look like for supply chain leaders striving to break through barriers and leverage new business models to elevate the customer experience and increase enterprise value? At its core, Starbucks, the number one purveyor of coffee in the world, is and always has been, about creating the Third Place Experience, a place where all are welcome; a place to connect with one another over a cup of coffee. To accomplish this, Starbucks aims to create the best experience possible for its customers around the world, and this is integrally connected to the supply chain and operations of the company.
Red Hat—the world’s leading provider of open source solutions—has experienced rapid growth in a quickly evolving industry. To support this level of growth, the finance team has had to update its processes, layer in new digital tools, develop deeper insights on customers, and work across the business to help the entire company better understand the new landscape. The finance team made this transition by studying the existing ecosystem of the organization and learning how to work within it. From there, the CFO has been able to put finance in a leadership role, guiding innovation within a sound governance framework.
Regardless of industry or discipline, leaders successfully driving enterprise-wide transformation must develop strategies to maintain core activities while incubating, evolving, and scaling innovations. At AB InBev, Peter Kraemer, the Chief Supply Officer, and Elito Siqueira, Global Vice President of Logistics and Operations, are developing a long-term vision to connect with customers and exploring how the future of supply chain can enable that. AB InBev’s Disruptive Growth Organization (DGO) tests new innovations and then determines how effective new approaches, strategies, tools, and techniques are brought back to the company through larger scale pilots. At the same time, they are tenaciously ensuring that their core activities remain strong and consistent.
As demands for greater policing accountability and outcomes continue to increase, police departments across the nation are embracing predictive analytics to not only increase efficiency in operations, but also improve crime prevention and response. Yet with all the potential, most leaders struggle with critical start-up questions such as: How do we start? Where should the methods be applied? What is the impact on the community? How do we test and scale the initiatives?
During The 2018 Public Safety Summit: Leadership in Turbulent Times, Evan Levine from the New York Police Department, Jonathan Lewin from the Chicago Police Department, and Sean Malinowski from the Los Angeles Police Department shared lessons learned on implementing emerging data science and “predictive policing” into public safety strategies. The following synthesizes some of the most important leadership lessons learned.
Leadership for a Networked World’s applied research, student innovation challenge, and on-campus summit programs are an initiative of Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie, Innovation Fellow at the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard (TECH), part of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. TECH is a hub for students, faculty, alumni, and government and industry leaders to learn together, collaborate, and innovate. LNW accelerates these efforts by connecting leaders across sectors and developing cutting-edge thought leadership on innovation and organizational transformation.