Accelerating Value
Accelerating Value

Episode · 1 year ago

Johnson Controls' Change Leader Julie Brown: Fast Analytics are Key to Delivering Value

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, I interview Julie Brown, Global Director of Business Transformation – Services at Johnson Controls, about how the 2 pillars of value are rooted in understanding the times.


What we talked about:

- The 2 pillars of value: humility and recalibration

- Stagnancy is the death of value

- Energy conservation, minimizing risk, and opportunity cost

- The biggest obstacle to driving internal change

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Today. Every budget approval is an investment deal. If you're a marketer, sales or business leader, you had to promise to deliver value and impact. Writing the wave to get there is hard enough. Finding your way through the storm is even harder. If you're looking for that path forward so that you don't wipe out, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Hi everybody. I hope everyone is having a great day. Mark stuice here, your host, and this is the award winning podcast that we call accelerating value. To our knowledge, there's not another one out there like this. Right we focus entirely on talking about value creation, how you invest in it, how you defend it, how you increase it, expand it, and we talked to all kinds of people across corporations, so marketers, certainly, sales people, HR leaders, CFOs, CEOS, we talked to everybody under the Sun, and then we also talk to people at different ranks in the organization, because depending on where you sit, that determines where you stand on value and how you define it, how you understand it. So so what the whole purpose here is is to get people to share their experience and share their insights around value creation with you in the hopes that it helps you. You find something about what they've said that speaks to you in your experience and you're like wow, you know what, I'm going to go do that, I'm want to go try that. So that's really what this is all about from our end, and everybody, every guest, has a unique point of view on this, right. So that's also the thing that makes ...

...this very dynamic and very interesting every single week. Today we have Julie Brown. Her close friends refer to is downtown Julie Brown, right. But the bottom line here is that Julie is one of those people who started out in her career doing one thing and then, because of a an obsession with value and the language around value and being able to demonstrate value, her arc in corporate America has taken her to a very, very different place, in a very exalted place. So she is now running business transformation at Johnson controls, JCI, which is a competitor to companies like Honeywell and train. So we're here talking to Julie Right, and what you're going to find is that this is probably some of the most talking I'm going to be doing for the next twenty five minutes. Julie's very eloquent. She speaks volumes. It's just going to be coming it you just like hell, won't have it. So this is going to be something that you're going to want to download and listen to again as well, as you know, again and again and again, because phenomenal reference. She's just amazing in it with her insight. So, Julie, great to have you. Thanks so much, mark you. I'm going to try and live up to that great flattering introduction. But it's really excited to be here talking about value and you know how that can help and how that can play and arc in companies because, you know, we're sitting here, you know at the end of April. You know we've got hope happening with, you know, the rollout of the vaccine, coming out of the...

...pandemic, but in many ways that the landscape that everyone is doing business in has transformed, and so the criticality of value coming through in every action that's happening within company's regardless of their size, is is now just starting to settle in. We're at the new normal. Last summer we talked about what will be. It's here that foundation that dust is starting to settle and all of that, you know, all the HBR case studies to get written in two years. It's all starting now. I would argue it all started about ten weeks ago. So I agree. So one of the things that HB are also has talked about in the past is that all change is a negotiation. HMM. And then a big part of negotiation, just like a big part of value creation, is the idea of confidence and trust between people and within organizations. How do you, how do you see that right now, against the backdrop of everything that we've all been through in the last twelve to fifteen months? And what does that do when you think about business transformation, which is really about, you know, value, increasing value, delivering value, either more value, faster value, big or, you know, wider, whatever. How do you how do you think about confidence and trust right now and that in that context? Yeah, it's a good question mark. I think there's really two, two pillars to that. One that I think is is very unique to this time, which is, in all fairness, having humility, and I'm quoting a good friend, Mark Schaffer. You know who's talking about. Right now you really need to have the humility to go back and re listen to your customers. You know, if you thought you new healthcare, it's different now and we're not seeing the full repercussions of for example,...

...if healthcare is a sector that you work in, the financial impact of dealing with the pandemic right, it's creating some new growth lanes, but it's going to put a lot of sectors of healthcare into crisis. So having the humility to go back and revisit. You know, Johnson controls is in a lot of her transportation right. I mean airlines are are coming back, they're stepping their way back. What does that mean for Airports, stadiums and entertainment? All of this is at a point right now where they still got more to learn, but they probably have a better senses to what is going to be. That takes a lot of organizational humility to really listen to them and to kind of listen through that to what could that mean. So that's the first part of that and then the second part is recalibrating on what I call the hard, hard reality right, which is the number. Are Your Kpis still relevant? Are the numbers by which you're assessing your business still the right numbers in this particular climate. You know that that's the piece as we look at transforming, for example, our services business, making sure that we're very clear on what's the customer experience we're trying to design, but also what are the KPI's and and the data, because you know, it's that universal language. Right at we're talking global transformation. That's happening in lots of countries. You know, if you talk about in a service contract standpoint, how many customers renew and how many how much attrition is happening. It doesn't matter what language, what country. That data is a powerful engine to recreating that trust because we all trust that those numbers are in fact kind of the the truth,...

...or at least they're all they're all numbers. The the piece that I would extend that to is what I'm seeing shift now in the market is the level of granularity. You know we had, certainly before the pandemic. You can look at companies, you know, like apple, that we're doing really great work around kind of mass customization, right and we're seeing that now starting to press in on more of the BETOB space. You know, we now are starting to talk about microcreet segmentation in micro verticals. So I can't just treat them like hot healthcare. I have to talk about hospitals. They can't just talk about hospitals. I have talked about rural hospitals. Can't just talk about rural hospitals. I need to, you know, keep breaking it down, and that's now how those two come together, right, the humility and understanding your customers and having really good day about what's going on so that I can get to those micro verticals to create that new client of kind of true or climate of trust and respect in the organization that can help you bring people along on your journey of change. Absolutely. One of the one of the things that's like this right is in the easy example would be corporate guidance, right, a lot of corporations, public corporations, issue annual guidance and then each quarter they report out against that guidance and sometimes they have to alter their guidance up or down depending on what's happening. But the bottom line is that the guidance itself is a projection, it's a prediction. They're basically saying this is sort of what we promise, you know, with some air quotes around it, and then this is how we're doing in terms of executing is that promise and that the data is certainly part of that equation. But the ability to project forward right and then measure progress against that reasonable or unreasonable goal,...

...right, is a huge part of what constitutes trust and confidence between the company and the investors or the market. Right. How do you see that evolving within a corporation today? So in between human beings, it's sort of always been there, right, but the analytical underpinnings, that the data and the analytics that undergird this or intensifying right now for early dramatically. How are you seeing this in real life? You know, I think there's there is a continuation of something that, in my mind, started decades ago in corporations that's now expanding. It's it's getting farther into more and more functions within the business. Right. And you know, we've talked about how, you know, if you went back to the you know, the s and you looked at manufacturing, yeah, they kind of did manufacturing and then we had you know, six sigma and quality come in and transform how manufacturing is done. And so today, you know, they have, you know, depending on what the manufacturing I mean they're measuring inches because they want to take the waste out of the movement from A to B because it's not adding value. Right. They they've figured that out. And with that control comes to your point, the ability to very accurately predict manufacturing output. In the case of a global pandemic and a lot of shipping crisis that happen because a ship gets stuck in the Suez right, manufacturing supply chains can now vary quickly, understand the impact of those and start modeling up alternative scenarios to minimize that impact. You know, it went from there. You I the story I tell is how you know it. Imaginary CEO is sitting here, gets that from them, turns...

...around and goes and looks at it and says, Hey, I'm spending a whole lot of money on you. What am I getting for that? And so that's where we started to see things like Oracle and sap and a lot of that it transformation kind of come out in the early two thousands and through the teens, so that now you know, if I look at it, you know the CIO, the it partners are really partners in the business and they get they have gotten to be very adept at making a business case about what they're bringing forward. If they're proposing that they're going to upgrade to the next version of an office suite or, you know, switch vendors on your hardware or whatever that may be, going up and using Amazon web services or somebody else, they're talking about we're doing this because this is the return that it's going to have on the business. This is the savings and they're very critically and I think this is very smart of the it profession to constantly be looking at where they have opportunities talking about how that's not just going to save money but perhaps by doing this, this is going to help us deliver to our customers and this is the lift on revenue or profitability that it is bringing to the business. And so to your question, when I'm seeing in companies is that that that pressure is now going to other areas. Right, you're starting to hear it in legal departments or if they've outsourced it to law firms. Right starting to have the you know, what precisely are you doing around patents to increase the value of my company, not just you know, what are you doing to help us in, you know, preventing legal risk through writing better contracts. It's not just about writing good contracts, with the fact that good contracts actually have an impact to the health of the business and eventually...

...gets translated to shareholders. You know, and another area in this is one that I'm a lot closer to, is in marketing. You know, it really seeing a lot of pressure coming to the Marketing Organization and saying, you know, we're we're spending all of this money to create markets, to create leads, to create opportunities. Help me really understand what marketings contribution is to that versus the sales reps who get the opportunity. And now that the conversation start evolving a little bit right to say, okay, well, if we can better understand what those opportunities are, then I can deploy very rich, powerful impactful sales resources. But maybe I can get span by creating sales channels that sit on the backs of marketing and I don't need to get those sales professionals and called because they can't get enough sales professionals for the amount of growth that I'm going to do. And that's it's a tricky conversation to navigate, but at the same time that the truth at the bottom of that conversation is there's more grows. You know it. This is this is about more opportunity than the sales team can even handle. Right, and so it's when linear and not in your growth, exactly right. And so this isn't like we're trying to pull it off over here because we aren't going to use you sales services like. No, we've got we we need all of you and then some. But the trick in that then ties back to my point on data, which is making some of those functions being able to shift their footing from a retrospective on. What did they do and what was the value to actually being able to forecast because, as you mentioned, as it is, we talked about earnings and valuations of companies. That's what it's all about. Is that the guidance that says, you know, if I invest in hiring this many more salespeople, I know at this it takes them this much time to...

...ramp up, I get this much coverage and this is the lift that I'm going to get. Conversely, when there's really hard decisions that have to be made, you know, the reality is a president of business, when they take fifty sales were ups out. They know it's going to hurt, but they understand what that hurt is. It in many case is has gotten themselves to being able to articulate that, yes, when they make cuts, that's going to hurt. But now the CFO, the CEO, they have understandings of those tradeoffs. And the change that's happening in companies is they're starting to look at every single function and expecting that function to work that way. They really the the huge opportunity that that I find really exciting for marketers is that if you can work through that, and it's change and it can be uncomfortable because it creates maybe some transparency and accountability, but it moves you into a position of respect within the organization and it moves you into a position of resources within the organization right because you know, I think it was sharing with you as on a call, listening in with our CEO a few weeks ago and he said, listen, we're not just going to spend two hundred million. We need to know what we're going to spend on and what we're going to get out of it. And and and that's just a flat truth, whether it's on marketing or it or supply chain or procurement or a new manufacturing plant or sales head count. That's that's the transformation that's happening in the business right now. Yeah, I mean in particularly given the speed of change and the volatility of the of the overall world situation across many different vectors. Right, that really amps that up even more. So let's let's go to that next step then. How do you think about risk today? Because, like,...

...as a as leading change, right, there's risk associated with that change. So you, some people would argue that you are a risk creator, right, and yet you're also mitigating risk, right, because you're trying to let go of identifiable risk and you may be incurring some new risk, but it's all kind of in there together, right, and overall, if we just stay static, okay, we got a problem. We got that's the biggest risk of all right. Right. So how how do you think about that? Yeah, that that's actually you do. That's how we think about it, which is doing nothing is death, right, and I would rather selfinfillic the pain then someone else do inflicted upon me. I talked about just in family. You know, things that I've got some some young people that I work. I'm like going listen, welcome to being a grown up. A lot of things are choosing your least bad option, and when you're looking at risk, it's you know, if for a company like Johnson controls, we've just got huge opportunity on the agenda that is half opening right now. You know, buildings consume a significant portion of energy. Right. So if you really want to help with the environment and sustainability on the planet, which we know has a direct causal correlation to the quality of people's lives, right, you can do that by improving your buildings. But if we don't change how we as look at servicing those things, providing technology that goes into those buildings, right, the world's going to figure it out another way and oftentimes in a way that's more clumsy, it's less efficient, but that also requires us...

...to think and work very differently from how we have before. You know, and in our case, it's making sure that there's an arc between the products and the people that come into buildings and service those making sure that what that experience is when they come in the buildings. You know, when you're looking at really changing lives and the talent and technology and people that are in the trades. That's how we're looking at risk is, you know, it's it's not just risk for our company, but part of because of what Johnson controls is doing. It. It's it's risk for a lot of people where, you know, resources to getting more scarce. Energy conservation is becoming a really important part of how we as a global community to deal with some of the hardest problems that we're facing today. So let's I want to follow up on that this way. So we're a lot of times, and I think we saw some of that in the in the present speech, to nights goo and stuff. With the infrastructure renewal. We're talking about really significant capital expenditures that that hit companies. So we'll stick with companies, as both the country hit companies in in different ways. Right, and the speed to value is really crucial as a way of D risking that investment. And again that that that right there applies on both Kapex and opics. Right. How do you, how are you reimagining the way that you help your customers gain value while d risking the capital piece? It's a great question. So, you know, one of the the transformations and and that that we look at a lot are and a lot of companies are is focusing more and more on kind of what's...

...their ultimate mission, what are their outcomes and what can be done to actually align your align your value and your delivery to that mission? Right. So, you know, I think of you know, even other industries, like like airlines and aircraft engines, right where they shifted from paying for the engine itself sitting on the wing too. We're just going to make sure it always stays up for you and you're going to always have flight time off our engine. Right. And and it's that's that's the value to d risking. It's saying we're looking at what's the value. You know, airport, stadium, university, hospital, you know, Data Center. What is it that your mission is? And in our case of buildings? Right, how do I line up behind that value to say, what are we doing to make sure data center, that data centers use a lot of energy? We're we're now lining up behind making sure that we're helping you in your energy goals. We're helping you and your availability, right, because if a Google data center goes down or an anathon data center goes down, that's a really bad day. Right, how do we make sure that our offerings and our services now start moving to a model of prediction? Right, so can you look at the equipment and see how it's running and go, Oh hey, we're starting to see these things. And when we know that these things happen, if we start taking these countermeasures now, we can actually prevent we can predict that there might be a hiccup and we can start preventing that. And that starts aligning the value and the risk of we've lowered their risk, we're bringing or value and we're doing it in a way that anticipates issues, whether that in, you know, security platforms, fire platforms or you know. But it extends...

...to multiple businesses. So it sounds like then, that the that the real kind of revolution here, after a lot of Yakadya Kadyact for the last ten or fifteen years about it. Right, is that historically, a situation like yours, big capital expenditure, the first thing that a big company like JCI or honey well or hp or anyone else would do is they would introduce the customer to their financing options. Right, they're financing department, right, they kind of they bundle it all up right into kind of a glorified loan. Right. What I hear you talking about is that, while some of that still may continue or not, right, that really the emphasis is on really speeding up time to value in ways that are really superprovable and that also adhere to a predictive probst. So then you're absolutely right. And so then let's circle back to your earlier question about what's changing within businesses. Right. So the example in the conversation I've had with one of my colleagues is, and I use the example of sales. Right, if I add fifty head count to my business, I know how long that's going to take to add value. The speed to value that happens as a company in the market comes from being able to now do that in more and more functions. Where can I get that predictability in HR processes around talent development and ring? You know, huge portion of our business is tied to the traits right at and and there's just such a need for people with that background, but getting those skills to them. How do I figure out a way to speed the value of getting people technically competent in trades in against technologies that are changing faster and faster and...

...in hr can I start doing predictive modeling on when I bring in trades people, how fast can I train them? How quickly can I get them up to Journeyman's status? That not only has an impact on their earning power but what we're able to do with those resources. You know another one, and you and I are, you know, working on this, is in marketing. Right to not just say, you know, I'm going to run this campaign and I'm going to get this many leads, but to be able to actually, you know, use a technology like profanalytics to actually say, you know this how much I'm spending on marketing and to the earnings, to the forecasting, being able to now say these campaigns and marketing in this period of time are going to be delivering this much revenue to not just leads, not just website clicks. This is how much revenue at this level of profitability that the company can count on it. Oh, by the way, you know that campaign, that marketing function that had inside sales. The most effective peace in that is inside sales. So if you double your spend in inside sales, I can change the arc and make that faster or higher. And here's you know, here's a range, but here's still the lift range I'm looking at, and that kind of comes back to our opening point about, you know, trust and respect. You need real numbers and data to do that and that, you know, when I look at, you know, my time and marketing and the marketers that I work with, that's the piece that gets really exciting, right, because they kind of if you're in a role in a company where you're feeling like we can never get enough resources, you know how come it's always we're sitting here with just this little bit and everything is going into another function, right, I don't know, sales gets it or manufacturing, your quality or wherever you're seeing those innovation and ideation, right. I mean those are choices that, in all candor, somebody probably did...

...a better job articulating the business case behind what the forecasted future return was for that investment in that manufacturing capability versus that ad campaign. And I think that's one thing for for business. Anybody who's in businesses, you know, trying to lead teams, to keep in mind is, you know, there's a little bit of internal friendly competition. Right. The company doesn't have infinite resources and the company is trying to D risk and the company is trying to show valuation, and so opportunity cost comes out, and that's CEO that's got two hundred million dollars to spend. He's going to put it with the leader that he thinks has made the best case and is able to prove that that case is founded on the highest reliability of being able to deliver that. Then answer your question mark. Oh yeah, absolutely. So last question. MMM. So you're leading change. What is your biggest obstacle to driving internal change? As much as we talk about data, companies are still living organizations and the people in them and the communication and and getting their hearts and minds, you know, behind it. I was talking a little bit about, you know, linear and law, nonlinear growth, right, and so it's really easy for someone to come to an understandable conclusion that if I'm going to start automating more and more of these sales related functions, well, that mean you don't need sales reps anymore. The exact opposite is true. I need sales reps more than ever, but I need them doing the highest order, highest value, most skilled things. I'm trying to get the kiddly little stuff that eats up their time that actually they're probably not as in enthralled with. You know,...

...we were doing some benchmarking with other companies and, you know, looking again at a lot of the technicians in the field, you know, and looking at other companies and saying, you know, what is it that we can do that maybe we can get the equipment to solve on its own instead of having to send a technician. And in every industry where this has happened, the reality is you actually need more technicians at the end of the day, because is you're finding more of these things, you're then finding the bigger things that really need their talents and the thing that humans are never going to leave the equation on, which is problem solving, the creative problem solving that you need, whether it's a chiller plant or a complex fire system that never ever goes away, and using all of this data that can help predict that just helps this do a better job and find areas that have had risk from a building standpoint of failure, that have been at risk for years. We just haven't been able to see it until the catastrophic things happen and as you open that up you start seeing it just more and more awesome conversation, Julie. Thank you so much. This is has been terrific. I think that all you guys really seriously should like play this multiple times, because there's just a lot of gold. And I like to point out that it's a very rare podcast that we do that goes beyond twenty five minutes. So this is like eighty percent more than normal and there's a reason for that. So I hope you really enjoyed it and we'll see you again next week. Thanks. Mark. The sooner you can optimize your marketing spend, the quicker you can start delivering clear, measurable value to Your Business. That's exactly where business GPS...

...from. Proof analytics can help. Learn more at proof analytics DOT AI. You've been listening to accelerating value, where raw conversations about the journey to business impact help you weather the storm ahead. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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