Welcome to Conversations with Chief Innovators, in which our CEO Pat Sheridan discusses innovation in business with transformational leaders across industries. In the third episode, we bring you Seth Webster, Director of Transformation at Brinks Home Security.
Watch the full episode below:
With over 1200 employees, Brinks Home Security is on a mission to provide security for life to its customers. Its solutions provide peace of mind to over one million people in the United States.
Seth Webster joined the Brinks team as a product manager and rapidly transitioned into the world of digital transformation. As the director of transformation, Seth spearheads large-scale strategic initiatives at Brinks.
Here are a few excerpts from our conversation:
1. How do you innovate in a highly regulated industry like home security?
I love the statement fail fast, and I think that a culture that embraces failure is where you learn to succeed. Still, you must clearly communicate what failure is and where to draw the line.
For example, a tax form filed incorrectly is not an okay failure, but failing at how somebody interfaces with a tax form is fine as long it paves the way for improvements. When you are regulated, you need clear communication on what is deemed acceptable. You can’t leave it to interpretation because that can undo the culture of safe failure.
2. How do you identify and prioritize transformation initiatives?
I have found OKRs (objectives and key results) to be an incredibly successful framework. Objectives and key results are three to five major things that the organization wants to accomplish this year. So you make key results measurable things that will accumulate to complete the objective. If you can be precise, key results become the objectives of the work streams.
Brinks Home Security provides security solutions to over a million Americans.
Now, you still want to leave the door open for left-field ideas. But if you use the 80-20 rule loosely, probably 80% of the ideas will align directly to the organizational goals for the year. And 20% might be ideas that require further vetting. Such a framework helps focus on possibilities that matter in the near future.
3. How did your transformation office handle forced remote transition due to Covid?
The transformation office really proved its value in the quick pivot needed to execute the remote shift. We crushed it as an organization.
I’ve always been an advocate for remote work. Within reason, there’s a lot you can do remotely. An important piece from the transformation office perspective is that we should own the processes cross-departmentally. There should be a culture where one department can easily engage with another without disrupting them. Until that occurs, we need to grease those gears.
You don’t want the tail wagging the dog, so you don’t want the processes to be the ones that dictate interactions. If there isn’t a clear path to interaction, then the transformation office needs to facilitate those interactions
4. What is the primary goal of the transformation office inside an organization?
The primary responsibility of the transformation office is to keep up the energy and urgency and continually communicate with different departments.
We collaborate, communicate, and serve. We coach our initiative owners to oversee the implementation of their projects. It’s our responsibility to ensure there are no siloes and that there is a shared understanding across different departments. Finally, communication is crucial. Where communication stops, abnormality sets in.
5. Any advice for leaders running a transformation office in large organizations?
Fifty years from now, technology isn’t going to look anything like today. But the fundamentals of relationships and interactions will be the same. So I would highly recommend anyone interested in moving into transformation or is currently in transformation to up the ante on how you view relationship development.
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