How to Start with the Customer & Think Backward to Create A Customer-Centric Company – Interview with Dr. Lynn W. Phillips, PhD

Lynn W. Phillips, PhD

(Award-Winning Scholar, Executive Educator in Customer Value Delivery, Founder and Managing Director of Reinventures)

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What are the main Aspects of Creating A Customer-Centric Enterprises, How to Measure the Customer-Centric Growth? How to Improve your Customer Value Proposition, Customer Satisfaction and Contracts Win Rate?

 What is VDS? and What’s is DITLOC? Which University is the Best in the World for Entrepreneurs?

Video Interview

With English and Arabic Subtitle

Audio

Bio

Reinventures was founded by Dr. Lynn Phillips, a former faculty member (and award-winning teacher and scholar) at Stanford Business School for 12 years—in addition to having held faculty positions at Harvard, Northwestern, Rice, and UC Berkeley business schools. Now devoted entirely to executive education and implementation guidance, Dr. Phillips is widely recognized as the co-creator and developer of many of the essential customer-focus and value-delivery frameworks, concepts, tools, and disciplines that are EMPLOYED by leading companies worldwide to hone their competitive edge, reinvent their businesses, and drive sustained growth.

Dr. Lynn W. Phillips

A former award-winning teacher, scholar, and faculty member of the Stanford Business School for 12 years (as well as a faculty member at Harvard, Northwestern, Rice, and UC Berkeley), Dr. Lynn W. Phillips now devotes his full time to executive education and implementation guidance as the founder and principal of his firm, Reinventures. Dr. Phillips is widely recognized as the co-creator and developer of many of the essential customer-centric and value-delivery frameworks, concepts, tools, and disciplines that are employed by leading companies worldwide to hone their competitive edge, reinvent their businesses, and drive sustained growth. For over 30 years, he has been sought by businesses across the globe looking to employ his firm’s breakthrough day-in-the-life-of-the-customer protocols and methodologies in order to help them win large commercial and government contracts; catalyze game-changing innovation; expand globally; discover new uncontested market spaces and segments; align channel partner teams; leverage worldwide mega-trends; make the transition to Enterprise 2.0 technologies; and more.

Dr. Phillips’ Ph.D. is from Northwestern University.

Founder and MANAGING DIRECTOR of Reinventures, a boutique executive-education and implementation-guidance firm that specializes in helping businesses become more customer-centric.

Dr. Phillips and his firm are known for their breakthrough work in helping business teams from forward-thinking enterprises to choose winning customer value propositions; then architect and systematically execute a designed value delivery system to deliver them profitably. These methodologies and protocols, now the de facto standard deployed by countless leading-edge companies and practitioners, help business teams to “become” their targeted customer communities by “spending a day in their life,” thereby gaining an imaginative understanding of their unmet needs, transcending what the customers could envision on their own.

A former faculty member at Stanford Business School for 12 years, Dr. Phillips has also held faculty positions at Harvard, Northwestern, Rice, and UC Berkeley business schools. Today, Dr. Phillips is a member of the Global Faculty of Duke CORPORATE Education (Duke CE), ranked Number 1 in the world by Financial Times for the last ten years in a row.

More than 100,000 executives worldwide have attended live and web-based seminars and workshops led by Dr. Phillips, frequently hailing them as offering some of the most powerful sets of business frameworks and tools on customer-centric management and business reinvention they have yet encountered. Dr. Phillips is widely published in numerous refereed journals spanning a broad diversity of professional disciplines including marketing, social psychology, sociology, ADMINISTRATIVE science, business economics, consumer affairs, and public policy, and is a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences.

Specialties:Winning big CONTRACTS, catalyzing innovation, global expansion, discovering new markets, improving existing business model performance, keeping ahead of change, optimizing marketing efforts and aligning channel teams

Websites & Social Media Links

http://www.reinventures.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/lynn-w-phillips-phd/10/18a/632

Interview Questions

  • You never planned to be a professor, please take us through your interesting journey and background?
  • Please tell us about your Indian Heritage?
  • How did you fight the Leukemia in 2006/
  • Did you start any other entrepreneurial venture other than your consultancy COMPANY or you wanted to focus only on teaching and consulting?
  • You worked in many top level universities like Harvard and Stanford, from your perspective what are the best entrepreneurial universities in the world?
  • What are the main aspects of creating a creating customer-centric enterprises?
  • What are the major tools (best practices and tool sets is better than major tools) that any COMPANY should use to develop a customer and market focus enterprise?
  • From where you usually start when you decide to design a customer centric company?
  • How to measure the customer-centric growth?
  • Is creating a customer centric service or company the main factor to sustain growth in the information age?
  • What are the questions that any business should answer to commit a customer value proposition?
  • What is VDS?
  • What’s is DITLOC?
  • How do you engage with the clients you serve and what’s a typical engagement like and how long does it last?
  • You have worked with many small, medium and big size multinational companies, which of companies that you have worked with provide the best customer experience?
  • You help companies win big contracts, is that by focusing on the customer service and experience or you focus as well on sales and MARKETING STRATEGIES?
  • In plain English what’s Enterprise 2.0?
  • Please take us through the Reinventures’ seven-phase engagement model? And within how long in average this model can be implemented?
  • At what point you think Apple started understanding the game of being more customer centric company than Microsoft and started changing that in its advertising campaigns?
  • We spoke about the different characters of some leaders during your visit to Dubai, who’s were the most interesting for you and why?
  • Tell us more about your other projects that you are currently working on or planning for the future?
  • What’s your daily life and WORK routine looks like? 
  • What are your other hobbies?
  • Who’s your no.1 mentor?
  • The most important factors for success in 3 words?
  • What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient?
  • What are your top 3 favorite books?
  • What are the top 3 people that you are inspired by? 
  • Do you listen to any music when you WORK?
  • Do you follow any routine to sleep?
  • What makes you really happy?
  • How people can contact you?

Transcript

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Hi everyone this is Ahmed Al Kiremli and welcome to Be Efficient Tv. The mission of this web TV show is to boost the efficiency of your business and life through tips and tricks from leading experts. Today I have with me Dr. Lynn Phillips, he is an award-winning scholar, an executive educator and customer value delivery and he is the founder and managing director of reinventures. Welcome to the show Dr. Phillips.

Lynn Philipps: Hi, it’s great to be here Ahmed.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: My pleasure. You never planned to be a professor, can you take us through this interesting journey in your background?

Lynn Philipps: Sure, I just recently wrote a commencement speech at my alma mater for my twin brother Wayne Phillips who is a famous former federal judge and United states attorney appointed by Ronald Reagan and George Bush and in the commencement speech I started out with the introduction of both of us from an article that was written about us when we were thirteen years old in Oklahoma City times and we were interviewed just after playing in a table tennis tournament, believe it or not, and it was the second or third table tennis tournament where we both made it to the finals in the article was asking us both what we want to be when we grew up and my twin brother said you want to be a commercial artist and I said I wanted to be a construction worker and I’m sort of reminded now thinking back to the movies and Star Trek or Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock go back in time and try to change history and I think had the crew from the enterprise gone back in time and spoke to us when we were thirteen years old and told us both what we were going to be we would’ve left our hearts out and said that could never happen, he could never be a judge and later go on to be a famous mediator and I would never go on to be a Stanford professor, what actually happened was we went to school in the University of Tulsa and we were both on scholarships, my twin brother was on a tennis scholarship and I was on an academic scholarship and we both came from modest families, our only way to go to school was through scholarship, when we graduated from undergraduate my twin brother got a scholarship to go to law school, I also want to go to law school but I applied to several schools and although I got in I didn’t get a scholarship, interestingly enough my professors in business school at the time said one of you apply for a PhD in business? So at their urging I did and not only did I get into business school but I got into a PhD in business school and I got into one of the best ones in Northwestern, Kellogg’s graduate school of managing so I followed that career path because it was the only career path available to me, the only scholarship that I got to go to graduate school. Interestingly enough I was not admitted in the first round, I was admitted as an alternate after five other people had been accepted, one of them didn’t accept and I later got into it was unusual that I got in but when I when I did great and made like fifty-two straight A’s in all of the classes that I took I graduated at the top of my class and graduated in Stanford afterwards as a professor so it was sort of an unusual journey to become a leading professor at a leading university, I later went on to teach at Northwestern where I was there for my last two years at the PhD program I also was a visiting professor at Harvard I was on the faculty at University of California Berkeley and also at Rice but my longest and was at Stanford so that is the journey by which I ended up being a business school professor and now of course I’m no longer full-time faculty but I do executive education and consulting for companies worldwide.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: So is it a PhD from the beginning how does it work, do you have to finish a bachelor degree and then go to the PhD because I understood that it was a PhD from the beginning?

Lynn Philipps: It’s very interesting asked that question first of all those people who get a PhD usually get a master or Masters degree first and then going to a PhD, I entered directly into the PhD program directly out of undergrad, I was fortunate that I had also finished number one in my class and my twin brother finish number two by the way it’s feeling time I’ve ever been him in my life that anything, when I entered they allowed me to enter directly into a PhD program at Northwestern and what they told me was that in the event that I didn’t graduate with a PhD they would grant me the Masters degree but if I went straight through and got me the PhD they would grant me the terminal degree the PhD and I finished in five years and could a finish sooner if I wanted to, I completed all my coursework in three years and passed my written exam but I wanted to stay on longer I was young at the time, one of the youngest people to graduate and apply for a job at Stanford, by the time I was hired there I was the age of the average student, twenty-six years old so I want to stay a little bit longer to practice teaching and really make a run at getting a job in one the best business schools and fortunately I was able to.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: So it’s five years Masters and then three years PhD?

Lynn Philipps: Now it’s five years total for the PhD and I never got granted a Masters degree they only granted me the terminal degree. Many people would probably spend two years getting the Masters and then five years with the PhD but I went straight through in five from undergrad all the way to PhD and I could’ve even done it sooner if I wanted to but I want to stick around Northwestern and hone my skills as a teacher before I went out looking for a job.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Tell us more about your Indian heritage.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Well I am Indian but with quotes on it is the best way to put it. First of all my wife Anjali Lakhwar is Indian, her parents are from Delhi and also from Kashmir and consequently my son and daughter Kole and Anya are also half Indian but I am also Indian of a different type, I’m from Oklahoma and my dad James Arthur Cole Phillips is some percentage Cherokee Indian, we are not sure how much because we never got to meet his mom and dad they died when he was very young, he was raised by his grandmother, but he was in the Oklahoma National Guard and the Oklahoma forty-fifth infantry division, also the hundred and seventy-ninth Battalion of the forty-fifth division, all of that was composed principally of Native Americans and he was proud of his heritage, exactly how much Native American I am I don’t actually know so I am a combination of both Oklahoma Indian and Delhi Indian.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: In 2006 you had a problem of leukemia cancer, tell us more about this experience.

Lynn Philipps: Yes it was unusual I had just finished going on Safari in Numidia with my children, at the time interestingly enough I was in spectacular health, I’ve been training a lot for squash and other sports, I was may be in the best physical condition I had been in since I was twenty-five or twenty-six years old and had really been working out hard and my doctor shortly after coming back from Safari noticed an unusual blood chemistry result in my blood chemistry test, I was getting ready to play in the squash tournament and it was required to have a blood chemistry test before I went into it as well as a cardio exam etc. and when I took it I immediately got on a plane to go to Australia and by the time I get to Australia I doctor called me and said hey you have to come back, there is something really strange in your blood chemistry you have a really low white cell count, I actually blew it off because it’s not unusual for endurance athletes to have low white cell counts and I had been working out a lot and just thought it was a fluke. I didn’t go back to see a doctor for almost 2 months and when I returned to California after several business trips he called me and urged me to go in again, again I had no symptoms and didn’t feel bad at all but I went in and had the test and sure enough the doctor came back and told me that I shouldn’t even be walking around, I had no white cell count, it was like five hundred where the normal male white count is between four thousand and ten thousand, he basically said you have no immune system and did a bone marrow biopsy on me that day and the next day I was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia which is a very deadly cancer of the blood at the time it was killing about eighty-five out of one hundred people inside of three years, but the good news is I have an identical twin so I had spare parts, I had spare cells basically I was able to go through bone marrow transplant and get my own cells back and as a result I had one of the fastest recoveries ever in the history of the hospital, I was in and out of the bone marrow transplant in about three weeks and I’m now pronounced cured and I’m fine and I will be able to complete this interview.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Tell me when he told you that you have one year to survive, what did you answer him?

Lynn Philipps: It was worse than that they told me that the only way to beat leukemia is to have a bone marrow transplant and while some people can beat it without that it is very unusual because typically what happens is that while the cancer is easy to put into remission through chemotherapy and radiation it typically has a very high incidence of recurrence and thus patients relapse and the only way to beat it is new cells, a bone marrow transplant, bone marrow transplants are risky, if you are doing a transplant with a sibling if you have a sibling that’s a donor which is only one out of four chance the mortality rate is still in about the 25% range, if you get a bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor it can be about 50% mortality. But a transplant from a twin, a syngeneic transplant is actually very safe it’s only about a 1 to 2% mortality but there is still risk, the problem was that my doctor actually told me that she thought I was a high risk patient that my odds were fifteen hundred survival she thought my odds were less than five and a thousand, she thought I was a high risk patient because she suspected I had a precondition called myodysplasia with put me in a high risk category. I remember the day she told me that she said I think your odds are five and a hundred and I said Doc I have never finished out in the top 5% of anything that I’ve ever done in my life, I think we have about a 2% cushion and she laughed out loud and said I think you’ll be an interesting kind of patient. The good news was she was wrong, I wasn’t a high risk patient I turned out to be a low risk patient with a special chromosome inversion called chromosome inversion sixteen that only a small percentage of the population has so I just sailed through and I look back on those times and I think those were some of my best times, my fight against cancer and leukemia, some of my best times I don’t regret it at all.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You been teaching in big schools like Stanford and Harvard, did you start any entrepreneurial venture other than focusing on teaching and consulting for your company?

Lynn Philipps: First of all it’s important to remember that when you’re at a university especially at Stanford or UC Berkeley, and your first years it’s largely what’s called publish or perish, you are writing articles for journals honing your skills as a research and making important contributions on important topics that are important to important people in business whether academics are practitioners, most of your first 10 to 12 years is devoted to that. It was at that time that I decided I wanted to start my own company and do consulting full-time, I had already started and Stanford as well as other programs to teach executives and executive programs and I found it exciting and I want to do more of that as opposed to continuing on with the full-time MBA education. I enjoyed it but I had done enough of that by that point, I’ve been on the faculty for a couple of years, I finish my PhD, I’ve been on the faculty at Stanford for a while, I started my own company, I’ve had my own company since about ninety-three, but having said that, that is my only entrepreneurial venture but let me say I am constantly involved as a partner in entrepreneurial ventures. I’ve worked for equity as a business partner in five startups, I felt one of my closest colleagues with a startup, we took it public on the normal market, I aided and abetted the whole process of gaining venture capital and advising the company on its strategy and business plan, in fact I am working with that same entrepreneur right now in a new venture he has an digital locks using Deerfield communications technology. I’m constantly involved in entrepreneurial ventures were typically for equity, and not the founder per se.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You mentioned that after the PhD you have to keep publishing, usually when you publish these papers or essays you publish it where? I just want the audience to understand.

Lynn Philipps: When you are a faculty member the real incentive at major universities is about publishing in refereed journals, that’s what brings you prestige when you are coming up for reviews from assistant professors to associate professors to full professors, they are writing a group of your peers in the field and saying how good is this person and how good are they articles are they leading articles in the field or the award-winning etc. After that once you are doing the kind of stuff that I’m doing now you are not writing for refereed journals anymore you might be writing for an important business publication or writing things on your own for clients, writing things such as I recently authored with one of my colleagues thirty e-learning modules for describing my intellectual property available in five minute briefs produced by one of my former students companies a gentleman who is the CEO of the UK media company, United business media so I am constantly writing, I’m just not writing for refereed journals.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You have been involved in many top schools all over the world, but most of the schools lacking the entrepreneurship programs, which schools can you recommend to the audience to go to what the best entrepreneurial schools in the world.

Lynn Philipps: Needless to say I am biased in that regard I believe that today that pinnacle and top school award really goes to the school that has made the greatest contribution to that area for some time and that is Stanford, if you just look at the track record of major founders coming out from Stanford business school and Stanford engineering school and computer science, the founders of Google and Cisco and into it, the founders of capital one, it is a long list and the reason for that is, the school really has a unique relationship with Silicon Valley which is located right in the middle of venture capitals on Central Rd., University Avenue, is just an incredible environment for spurring entrepreneurial thinking and leadership, you have great mentors you can rely upon it is really an unusual laboratory environment but I would say that they face competition in the future I wouldn’t be surprised all if we see similar kinds of environments coming from China and India etc., so while there are many great schools that do focus on entrepreneurialism and innovation and new thinking, I would say Stanford ranks the highest, it is an unusual confluence of not only faculty but also entrepreneurial leaders as well as the vessels for capital for making entrepreneurial companies, very unusual environment.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: How much to their programs cost like the bachelor program or the MBA?

Lynn Philipps: Well first of all Stanford doesn’t have an undergraduate business school it only has a graduate business school and the percentage of course it is more entrepreneurial in nature I’m not exactly sure what it is now in the new curriculum but many of the projects that people do before they graduate have to do with entrepreneurial ventures and I was just writing today a recommendation for someone who is entering school as a joint program, the business school partners with other parts of the school and this particular individual is actually trying to enter the joint program in business as well as in education with the sole purpose of bringing entrepreneurial Silicon Valley new game thinking to the whole area of higher education especially university administration so it is definitely a focus of the school much more so than it is of other major business schools, Stanford has a small class relative to many other business schools there is a lot of emphasis on entrepreneurialism, you have speakers coming from the Silicon Valley environment whether it was a Steve Jobs or the CEO of Intel or what have you, just a very unusual kind of laboratory environment are entrepreneurial thinking and entrepreneurial education.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Let’s move deeper in your area of expertise, what are the main aspects of creating a customer centric enterprise?

Lynn Philipps: I started teaching on this topic when I was at Stanford, I actually was teaching a class that was a capstone elective which had the title of building market focused organizations and I later went on under other titles, such as building market focus in customer centric enterprises etc. but having said that the real heart of this is I think best stated by Jeff Bezos, and I would urge all of your listeners to actually take a look at another great interviewer like yourself, Charlie Rose, his interview with Jeff is a fascinating interview, right at the outset he asks Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, what are the things that really characterize what is unique about Amazon? I think that his three answers probably get at what is the heart of a customer centered enterprise, it’s about mindset, it’s about DNA, the organizational culture and he said three things, he says first of all Amazon as they have been in business is trying to be unique in three areas, number one he says they are customer obsessed not competitor obsessed, he says we quote unquote start with the customer and think backwards and secondly we really value innovation, we strongly believe that while we start with the customer we simply don’t listen to the customer do it they say, we start with the customer and try to be innovative try to be pioneers try to be disruptive, try to bring solutions to customers that transcend what they can imagine and the third piece which he says is quite interesting he says long-term thinking, we are not obsessed by quarterly earnings, we are interested in innovation that delivers profitable value over the long term and I would say those three traits that characterize Amazon, those three traits that characterize most customer centric enterprises.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the best practices and toolsets for any company to achieve that?

Lynn Philipps: That’s a great question, that’s the heart of my practice, I am hired to do two things, I’m hired to introduce best practices in becoming customer centric, best practices in what I call customer experience engineering and secondly to help organizations embed and institutionalize those practices and produce superior business outcomes from doing so, the concept of being customer centric and the tools relevant to that, I think about in terms of four key tools that I code off with colleagues of mine that I was working at Stanford and those four key tools have become four of the top ten business concepts both in strategy and execution used by leading enterprises today and there is almost no company that I go into that I don’t see these ideas already used and I try to take their practice and bring it to a higher level, those concepts are basically customer value proposition, it simply states this: any business offers a proposition to the customers it serves, in the market spaces and segments in which it competes for dollars and preferences. We say simply choose the value proposition, choose the combination of experience and price which if delivered to some customer segment in some market space we win, but what’s new about that concept is not that the business delivers the value proposition, what’s new is about consciously explicitly deliberately choosing it and then using it as a touchstone to drive all elements of business. That notion of all elements of businesses best captured by the second concept which we call value delivery system, that’s the execution of a business, it simply says that all aspects of the business, all products and all services and all assets and all resources and all marketing and sales communications materials, all organizational infrastructure in supporting organizational machinery have to echo and reflect the chosen value proposition, if it doesn’t we are not engaged in flawless execution so make sure every element of business system echoes and reflects the value proposition and how we bring it to market and how we convincingly communicate to customers. That’s in essence what people call the business model. The third concept is called deadlock, unusual, it is spelled DITLOC, and it stands for day in the life of customers, and harvest business review we made a film on how to spend a day in the life of the customer and was based on our concept and utilizes our concepts in the context of a case study of an organization that use them to turn around their business. They and the life of the customer really speaks to a fundamental issue in business which is where do great customer value propositions and business models, value delivery systems come from? They don’t come from asking what customers want, they come from studying customers almost like anthropologists, making a movie of their life almost like Steven Spielberg, stepping back with the expertise of a multifunctional team not just marketing and sales but all functions of a business, engineering and operations and legal and compliance and supply chain and logistics, creatively inferring an improved scenario for customers that transcends what they can imagine. When you take that approach to immersing yourself to a day in the life of a customer, with the multi functional even cross business team, you come up with ideas of the customer could never come up with, if you just ask them what they want they will ask you to do things that are on actionable and unprofitable and of course the real challenge with asking customers what they want and listening to the voice of the customer is that often they don’t know what is possible. Day in the life of customer methodology gets beyond that. The fourth concept is what we call value delivery chain, it refers to the customer value delivery chain and it speaks to organizations that compete in complex customer communities so for example as you know I was just in the UAE working Etisalat, they recently just won a big contract with Thomson Reuters for ICT solutions, and enterprise information communication technology solution. The real customers please stand up inside Thomson Reuters because Dana life we have to understand to deliver a superior value to Thomson Reuters and when their business through large-scale contract. Customers exist at multiple levels of the enterprise, there are strategic sponsors of people in procurement and people who actually use the solutions, this is about navigating the customer value delivery chain to understand which customers are most crucial to our success, even in Etisalat’s consumer business they actually deal with customers through distribution channel partners who are also customers and also candidates for a value proposition so the customer value delivery chain reflects the fact that any business typically reaches there end users through a chain of customers to deliver value and it is mapping that chain and navigating that chain, I urge business seems to be like Indiana Jones, go out and navigate the unexplored links of the customer value delivery chain to uncover new ideas for innovation. Those four concepts really are the toolsets that I think make up the four pillars of great customer experience and if you look at the Zen masters of who is done that, the apples and the Amazons of the world they have mastered all of those concepts of what I call customer experience engineering.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: But don’t you think like I have heard one time Apple saying that sometimes we offer the customers things that have never been there because they don’t know what they want, not always the customer knows what they want so we offer them things that they never expected to have.

Lynn Philipps: Yes that is the essence of what DI T LOC methodology is supposed to do, Steve Jobs was once quoted by a journalist when he was asked what consumer research did he do to guide the development of the iPod and he remarked none, is not the consumer’s job to tell us what they want. However from that comment which is sort of often taken out of context and made to give the impression that Apple engages in customer freethinking, he goes on to talk about how one of the most successful product ever in the history of the company, perhaps the most successful up until two thousand and four, Macintosh, not a single customer ever requested any of the most popular top ten features of Macintosh. He goes on to say how can customers tell you what they want when something you are designing is so far removed from their reality? That does not mean that you engage in customer free thinking, much of the commentary about the very formation of Apple was simply Apple studying videotape of the day in the life of a desktop computer user trying to access the application power of a computer using MS-DOS software on a PC and they readily concluded as did most that it was like an Italian comedy typically very hard for most people and they said as a strategic vision try to make it easier to access application power of a computer so they can accomplish their and state goals better. The customer is not supposed to tell you how to do that, that simplifying insight came from studying customers. That’s what he is getting at, he is not saying that asking customers what they want is evil and sinister, he is simply saying that they can’t tell you what to do because they don’t know what is possible.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: When you work with companies, from where do you start to design a customer centric company?

Lynn Philipps: You start with mindset, first and foremost the issues mindset, mindset depends on the historical evolution of the company for example Etisalat is a fabulous enterprise, a very much leading edge pioneer in mobile networks, received many awards for that but if you went back in time in the history of the company you would see that most of the mindset was what might be described as more inside out than outside in. It starts with being engineering driven and technology driven in part because that is actually what is required at that stage of the evolution of the enterprise, start with getting out the network, rolling out the networking making sure it is reliable and available, telling customers about the value of the network, starting with the technology and not the customer and that was appropriate at that time but as my work revealed, the world has changed, the world is changing in terms of a series of new competitors and discontinuities and technology, had a really start with what Jeff Davis talked about starting with the customer, the customer experience, what unusual great value experience can we bring to the customer? That we can uniquely brand and uniquely own and thinking backwards from that’s what we have to look like and how we have to shape ourselves to deliver it, that difference between inside out and outside in is the first and foremost challenge you have to do with in many scientific and engineering companies. So I say start with mindset first, where are we at in the evolution to becoming a truly customer centric enterprise, start there.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: How to measure the customer centric growth?

Lynn Philipps: It depends again on the company, I have done quite a bit of work in aerospace defense, national security, one of my largest engagements was with Lockheed Martin, I have later gone to work with General Dynamics and LYDOS and SAIC, with other companies that compete with large military as well as commercial contracts. Often I’m asked to simply take those four concepts I told you before, customer value proposition, value delivery system, day in the life of the customer, customer value delivery chain and incorporate them directly into what would be referred to as their capture, the business capture process and keep sold process, that’s about keeping the contracts you’ve already won. How can you keep contract when rates and improved contract execution by incorporating those concepts so when you are competing on a large contract let’s say DPS three which Lockheed Martin wrote a seventy thousand page proposal to the government, it’s really important to actually lay out and convincingly communicate your value proposition. What combination of experience and price are you offering the government versus say the competitor, Boeing and its team of partners. The rest of the seventy thousand pages is not just about elaborating on that promise although that is required, quantifying it etc., it’s about showing how we’re going to deliver the value, here is our technical volume and cost volume and management volume, when they evaluate your proposal, people at multiple levels of the enterprise look at it, people from procurement, people who are users, people who are sustainment and logistics officials, people who are responsible for regulatory oversight committees look at the proposal and then the table and say these people understand me and my role in our mission and they get it. That whole concept of putting those ideas in place should have a measurable impact on contract when rates and on contract execution and on customer satisfaction of contract execution so for those clients I actually measure what is the increasing contract when rate and in particular since many other factors can affect contract when rate besides just where we involved in introducing these concepts, we go back and interview the capture managers and ask how much it helped for the team to a line around the superior value proposition and communicate at every volume of the proposal so we do it with both quantitative data as well as qualitative data, now if it’s not about large contracts and consumer business we often look at other indicators, it might be customer satisfaction scores or net promoter scores but depending upon the company there is always a set of metrics where did this thought process, did the set of value delivery concepts and customer experience engineering, didn’t add measurable value to the enterprise and they are objective to deliver profitable value?

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What do you think creating a customer centric company is the main factor to sustain growth in the information age?

Lynn Philipps: That’s a great question, I actually teach quite a bit on that these days, I often comment that most people who went to business school fifteen years ago didn’t get exposed to what it is that I think I and my colleagues who teach these ideas really represent today, I remember when I was going through business school and even doing my dissertation the popular competitive advantage there is a time, the ones that people were most interested in studying and mastering had to do with things like competitive advantages, a function of building a fence against the five competitive forces, one of which was the customer, the customer was the enemy capable of bargaining away our rate of return, other perspectives on competitive advantage really emphasize that companies who out on the industry average tend to have things like size and scale and brand equity and brand awareness and long track records of incumbency and past performance track record and breadth of product portfolio and extent of geographic footprint and of course over the last ten years there has been a new age that has happened, had you gone into Sony in two thousand and two and told him about the future or gone to Motorola and Nokia and Best Buy and Circuit City and told them by the year two thousand and twelve they would all be disrupted by a company called Apple Computer which at the time was largely characterized by mediocre products and bloated inventories etc. I don’t think you would have been able to change history of following the logic of Mr. Kirk and Mr. Spock going back in time I think they would have had a hard time believing that their formidable measures would fall to a competitor who was armed with this mindset that I just described that was characterized in their approach to disrupting the dominant incumbents with things like speed and timing and innovation and customer experience engineering, I think that those examples I just cited are one of fifty examples I could cite to just imagine going to IBM in two thousand and two and telling them that by the year two thousand and twelve they would lose the six hundred million dollar contract to a company called Amazon to the CIA who hires Amazon instead of IBM to put in place a cloud services infrastructure not only for them but for the sixteen other federal intelligence agencies, just imagine them saying are you talking about that little company in Seattle that sells books online of a warehouse? You say yes that is the one, example after example that says the nature of competitive advantage has changed in the last 10 to 15 years and it is companies that are quickly able based upon day in the life of customer insight to choose and deliver winning value propositions that are highly innovative and go far beyond what customers can imagine, create a unique brand and experience that disrupts dominant incumbent, you see that again and again and I think we’re in a new world.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the questions that any business should answer to commit a customer value proposition?

Lynn Philipps: That’s a very good question, many people think that value proposition is like a message tagline such as Etisalat, their tagline is that we extend people’s region we power and extend the ability of small to medium enterprises in the UAE, all of that is great but it’s really more advertising, when I talk about value proposition I am talking about the upfront strategic architecture of a business plan, business plan for any company where there is an entrepreneurial company or large scale enterprise competes in multiple segments and spaces, that always has to start with what is the market space we are targeting with growth? What segments are we targeting the growth? Within the segments, what is the value proposition and value delivery system we are going to implement to win? And a good value proposition as an upfront strategic architecture is not a messaging or tagline, it is not twenty words we’re going to put to music or going to rhyme and sing and hold hands about, it’s an answer to six tough questions: what is the intended timeframe for this value proposition, are we writing the three-year plan of the five-year plan? If it’s the three-year plan that we can do more in three years than the cut in five-year, if it’s the one year plan that constrains us, we can only articulate what is the value we are going to deliver over the next year. Of course I’m an advocate of writing a three to five-year plan that says it has subcomponents and here’s what we’re going to do in year one and two and three and four, the second question beyond intended timeframe, are we working on a short-term or long-term plan is who is the intended target customer segment and here we have to describe the target customer segment not just in the usual demographics we have to describe their day in the life customer profile, what set of problems and frustrations and unmet needs does the segment have that is unique and by the way what is their size and growth potential that makes them a lucrative target to go after? The third piece that actually says what are we proposing? What do we want the segment to do, it’s not to buy product and service, isn’t there a piece here that says first of all they need to become aware of what we offer, maybe they try some of our stuff at the outset if you want to get and value proposition that could lead to a sustaining growth, what are we proposing? Are we proposing they just buy a product or a combination of products that they engage in a relationship with us that perhaps develops over twelve months, what are we proposing is an important element of the customer value proposition, then the fourth pieces, what are the best received alternatives, who are we up against, if the customer doesn’t do we propose will they do? The best received alternative is not necessarily a direct competitor it could be that they won’t do anything and will persist in their status quo, the fifth component of value propositions is what unique customer experiences are we going to deliver to the customer community? What specific measurable events will be make happen in their lives with what consequences of value in comparison to the best competing alternatives? Both benefits as well as equal experiences and trade-offs. The final pieces about price, what is the price that customers have to pay to get that set of experiences from us versus the competing alternatives. Of course the idea about this is that if you answer all six of those questions you have a complete value proposition, if you register message tagline you cant assess whether that will really be superior. So consider Southwest Airlines original value proposition. Offering frequent business travels in the state of Texas the following: it has to them to fly Southwest that of driving between Dallas and Houston, the experiences are you will save about an hour and you will get a 30% lower price close to the cost of driving but you’ll have to trade up full-service, assigned seats and meals and ticketing and baggage handling in order to get that set of experiences. Of course this is the classic cruel to be kind business, by denying customers full service on a forty-five minute flight which they don’t need they can give customers more what they really want, saving time and cost I just ask yourself is there a segment to a trade-off assigned seats and meals and interline ticketing and baggage handling on a forty-three minute flight to save about an hour door-to-door and get a lower price 30% lower than the competing alternatives close to the cost of driving? I just described the most profitable airline business model of the last thirty years. No customer will ever suggest that, no customer would ever suggest that but there are sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of Southwest on every continent on the planet Earth including by the way UAE which we see fly Dubai and air Arabia etc. so that whole notion of writing a complete value proposition addressing the six questions is really key.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What is VDS?

Lynn Philipps: VDS is simply a value delivery system as I was trying to indicate earlier it is the execution engine of the business, it says what are the problems that we have to solve, and the processes we have to reengineer and the capabilities we have to build to deliver that value proposition and to deliver profitably so in the Southwest example one of the things they had to master was how do we turn planes at the gate and 10 to 15 minutes and still be equally as safe as the safest airline? If we could do that we can fly with fewer aircraft than our competitors, we would have much greater productivity using the key asset of the airline which is the plane which costs fifty-five million dollars for new seven thirty-seven and the idea is that if you need to be productive in using that acid you could charge a lower price and still make money, how do you solve that problem? To solve that problem by denying customers assigned seats and meals and interline ticketing and baggage handling so you can turn planes faster. You also solve it by flying only one kind of aircraft, the seven thirty-seven, etc. The whole notion of the value delivery system is about execution, I do we have to shape herself in every asset and resource and acquisition and partnership and sales and marketing and social media communications to deliver that value proposition? To get customers to store long-term memory and use it as a basis for decision-making.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: How do you engage with the clients that you serve in what is a typical engagement like and how long does it take?

Lynn Philipps: Answer to that question is that it depends on clients, there is always two components of any engagement, number one typically a component on executive education and that is about mindset, it comes back to what is the mindset of the customer centric enterprise, how does that stack up versus the mindset that is in this enterprise, and in the heads of the different people and pivotal jobs throughout the enterprise? How is it the mindset that I’m teaching by which customer centered enterprises operate fundamentally different from what is going on in the enterprise today. You have to have that as a foundation, from there you have to write the movement implementation guidance and coaching to close the gap between what is old and typical about their mindsets versus what is new and required. As an illustration for Etisalat after teaching in twelve different sessions and six different locations across the UAE I wrote up a set of recommendations about where we could take this key set of frameworks and concepts and toolsets on customer experience engineering and apply them to actually produce a superior business impact for the enterprise so I identified fifteen areas in which we could work but we were probably just pick some subset to work with as pilot projects are actually shown we can do to show what we can help them succeed and those typical engagements in working with clients on implementation coaching and guidance the length of them depends on what is their starting point, how far they away from being a truly customer centric enterprise and it also depends on the nature of the tasks that we get some of the tasks that we get coaching a very long-term engagement some are not some are very short-term engagements but a typical engagement might be in the year, I typically long-term engagement might be four years. Some clients I’ve worked with on an ongoing basis for ten years, I’ve had an ongoing engagement with Hewlett-Packard that exceeds ten years. I’ve had relationships that sometimes are a year and duration and amount, after three or four years I basically succeeded and embedding the set of ideas into the institution, Lockheed Martin for example I trained seventeen value transformation strategists as they were called to do this and they carried on that work long after I was gone from the enterprise. The real issue is embedding it into the enterprise, institutionalizing it. The question is how long does that take and it depends upon the starting point and it depends upon the actual tasks given for embedding and institutionalizing it, the rough answer is that engagements last about a year to four years.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You worked with many small to medium-sized companies and big size companies, multinational companies, from your experience which one do you think provides the best customer experience?

Lynn Philipps: Well of companies that I have worked for and I’ve engaged with I would say that the companies that I highlight are actually companies that I use in my illustrations, I talk about Apple and their customer experience not just from devices but also from their in-store experience and I also have a large engagement a number of years ago with FedEx which I found to be also a leader in customer service and I teach not only precepts that emerge from the founding of their business but also their transition to try to attack new market spaces such as global supply chain optimization for large-scale enterprises the likes of which could be a Cisco or a Philips semi conductor, I am very impressed with the work of those organizations have done the experience of the deliver but outside of that I am also very influenced by organizations I have not worked with, my second home here in Southern California is close to Disneyland and I go to Disneyland all the time with my kids and I’m just amazed at the experience that they deliver, especially even to this day my kids are now thirteen and seventeen but I remember distinctly when I would take my kids to Disneyland when they were much younger and Disney’s experience of taking kids away to so far away exotic place that they can otherwise go and experiencing the mystery and fantasy and excitement of being in that place, they deliver that beautifully, my daughter didn’t come home from that which is five years old and say that we went to a place where a bunch of people that were adults dress up like a big mouse and a big dog and play pretend, she thought she met Mickey Mouse. I’m very impressed with how they do that, it’s a stellar example of customer service and customers for his engineering.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You help big companies when big contracts is that by focusing only on customer experience or also on sales and marketing?

Lynn Philipps: The whole process of winning big contracts is a sales and marketing and business development exercise in some sense because you have to write a response to a request for proposal so as I was mentioning earlier if Lockheed Martin wants to win GPS three they are going to have to write a proposal to the response to the government issued RFP now of course the real challenge is you don’t wait until the RFP comes out you actually start work on the customer value proposition long before the RFP comes out to you can shape the customer communities issuance of the RFP so when you respond to an RP your basically response into a song that you helped to write. The challenge here and actually winning big contracts has to go beyond customer experience as I mentioned these proposals, these responses to winning big contracts typically have two components to them that are crucial, you have to describe the customer value proposition they are going to deliver common has to be very clearly communicated and in most RF responses you have to quantify the value proposition because the customer community gets lots of pre-RFP help on what it wants, what they have a hard time doing is measuring the value of what you and the competition is going to deliver, if you focus there you are going to win, but the promise is not on the government and the large-scale enterprises, they want credibility that you can actually deliver that value proposition they want to see your past performance track record they also want to see what solutions you are going to bring them and how many times you brought the solutions before and if you bring innovative solutions that really are game changers for the organization they want some trust level that you can actually do it because landscape is full of companies that overpromise and under deliver so they want to avoid that, their major concern is not just getting to their and state goals and the acquisition but getting the journey to the Zen state goals reduced in time and cost and complexity and risk in both the CVP, the customer value proposition and the value delivery system have to reflect that and then of course as I was saying the major thing they have to include is that the CBP and the PDS were based upon imaginative insight spending a day in their life, you know them and you know their mission and you know their goals and you know their challenges and all of that has gone in. I say if you do that, if you actually choose and commit to a value proposition and a line of value delivery system around that and convince the customer community you are intimate with them and understand the challenges, even if you are up against other great company that is just as good as you than you are going to win, because you are going to communicate better and more convincingly even if they are just as good from an engineering and technical standpoint you’re going to win, my experience is that you win about 85% of the time.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: In plain English can you tell us what is enterprise 2.0.

Lynn Philipps: Enterprise 2.0 is simply a term coined by a Harvard business school professor to reflect the challenge that enterprises face and incorporating social software platforms or social technologies into the enterprise and there is really a purpose in doing this that is about collaboration, so there’s two forms of that, one is collaboration between employees and executives between the enterprise and a typical application in our work is that it’s not enough to just choose a value proposition, I recently worked with an aerospace and defense client where we had to figure out what value proposition are uniquely going to bring to the customer community that actually wasn’t integrated value proposition that cut across four or five businesses where if we combined and collaborated as business units we can deliver a unique value proposition versus competition. We did lots of interviews with customers and lots of interviews with executives and we put something on an internal wiki which basically internal social technology social networking website and there are many platforms of this particular one I’m talking about was jive and we are talking about strategic dialogue across the enterprise of whether this is the right value proposition and what we should stand for. What’s good about that value proposition and dangerous and risky and now you start to get people to ideate around that so one element of enterprise 2.0 is basically collaboration within the enterprise and another area where we use it quite a bit is where we bring day in the life of customer research back to the enterprise and we post it on an internal website and now we get ideation or multiple functions inside the enterprise to actually say here is how I make that better. There is another enterprise of 2.0 and that is between the enterprise and its customers, between the enterprise and its supply chain trading partners. In our business and our practice we are often using that to do things like okay we have come up with a new value proposition concept by spending a day in the life of the customer, no customer could’ve come up with this but let’s go validate that and test that, let’s go present that in the description form by web-based scenario, to customers directly to get their feedback on and see what they think about it so we use social technology for collaboration between the enterprise and its product development groups and customer communities they want to serve. Often we use it as a basis for trying to really understand better the day in the life of the customer communities that we serve, in fact one of my clients United business media designed what was considered about a year ago one of the highest-rated websites in the world on a number of dimensions but especially value to the customer community called ONC will.org, ONC.org and it is basically a website for oncology nurses and oncology practitioners and it is an amazing website, oncology nurses globally go on the website and blog about the best practices and what they’ve learned because cancer as you know with cancer becoming increasingly an individualized medicine, that whole area of medicine is moving away from chemotherapy and radiation to individualized medicine the equivalent of a particular form of leukemia now you can just take a pill and you are in remission for ten years, much of medicine is living that way, that presents new challenges for oncology nurses are now have to face different patients who need different kinds of help in using these new oral oncolytics. That whole community is an amazing community which is sponsored by pharmaceutical clients they can actually study the data from the customers just through those blogs so it’s those kinds of ideas, enterprise 2.0 that’s really about webbifying the enterprise, leveraging the best of web-based technologies in particular, technologies of the social media nature to deliver a more profitable value so that is what people are doing.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Can you take us through the reinventure seven phase engagement model?

Lynn Philipps: We start with executive education and then we move into a set of training modules on how to actually go engage with customers through they in the life of customer methodology, there’s an upfront piece that says we are actually going to teach this mindset and get people to buy into this mindset, this mindset that we teach is not the dominant logic in the enterprise, then we moved to implementation mode, we prepared teams to go out and do day in the life of customer research with a multifunctional team guided by best practices andDITLOC methodology and then there’s a third stage where we go do research and ideate on it and then the fourth stage is what we call customer value proposition and value delivery system initial hypothesis, stake in the ground. What we mean by what we think is we have to implement to deliver profitable value to drive profitable growth, maybe it’s not one but several strategic options that emerge, that is the fourth Bronze Age, the fifth broad stage has to do with let’s go out and let’s test the strategic option some more, those are the ones that emerge, they are the vital few, which one should we pursue? What is the size and growth potential of each of those, which one looks like a winner, which ones really look like a winner, we also have a follow-up stage of course the sixth stage where we take, we winnow down and do extensive validation and feedback back and forth in a gradual process to get their feedback, we conditional choices to if we did this would be better and if we did this would be better, the final stage that involves simply rolling out the CVP and BDS that we thought had the greatest merit and then let’s go follow them through and measure and monitor and adjust the CVP and BDS as we roll out. We basically take people from the very early mindset stage although its implementation.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: At what point do you think Apple started understanding or becoming a more customer centric company then Amazon? In terms of advertisement?

Lynn Philipps: I don’t know that they are more customer center then Amazon I would say that both companies have taken a lot out of each other’s playbook I would say the real comparison there is Apple versus competitors especially Apple versus Sony or Apple versus Kodak or Apple versus Best Buy and Circuit City and Motorola, I actually think that desperation was the mother of invention for them I think that they faced a crisis, I think that they pretty much concluded that there inside out mindset which had done them pretty well gotten them ten or fifteen billion dollars was really not a mindset that was going to get them to the future as many entrepreneurial ventures come to that conclusion and I’m reminded about a very interested speech that Steve Jobs gave a developer conference where he said look the tendency that I had for many years was actually thinking inside out starting with the technology and asking what value it can deliver to customers and he said that he had learned over time through the school of hard knocks and he had more scar tissue to prove it than anybody else in the industry, you have to start with customer experience not with technology, what the really unique customer Susan we can deliver is? Start to think back to that to the technology and all aspects of the value delivery system, how we have to shaper sales and partnerships and acquisitions, what we have to look like and how we have to shape ourselves and our marketing communications, the turnaround of Apple was not something that was all of a sudden they had finally hit their stride because they were always customer centered I would say that it was an amazing turnaround in mindset, from what was great economic uncertainty. Basically starting in the early two thousand straight on the that mindset had much greater wealth generation potential than their old mindset.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the other project that you are currently working on ?

Lynn Philipps: as I said I am constantly involved in a series of projects, most of the work right now that I do, 50% at least is overseas in an emerging market so I have a large project that I’m working on in Saudi Arabia, I hope to be coming back soon to the work in the UAE, not only with Mashar bank but also with Etisalat, but I have projects ongoing in Europe next month I’m in Berlin for a while, I’m also engaged here in the United States with a large oilfield services company called Baker Hughes, so my projects really vary quite dramatically I’m also involved in projects that deal with very large-scale multinational enterprises trying to move into commercial markets, I’m also involved in markets with Entre narrow companies.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: How usually most of your customers find you, is it by referrals or how do you market for yourself as a speaker and expert?

Lynn Philipps: A great question, I’ve been very fortunate, I do very little marketing, I have clients come to me and ask for me for help, clients who move from one company to another often asked me to come back and work with them, I get very little business just coming over the web from people who are unfamiliar with me. Most of my work comes from past work and past performance and password, sometimes I will be referred to or I will have a client who is referred to me by another client but most of the work I think is just based upon past work that I’ve done for clients and clients moving on and moving on to other jobs and asking me to come help them.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Who is your number one mentor?

Lynn Philipps: That’s a good question, I think the answer to the question really of course varies in any stage of your life, today I would say my number one mentor is my identical twin brother and he is a trusted advisor and a trusted counsel and we have enclosed for of course many years, I really do value his advice and counseling, but he would not have been my number one mentor at other stages of my life, when I was growing up my dad was my mentor and was a great coach and a great coach of support, when I went to graduate school my mentor is worth to keep mentors in grad school, a professor named Lou Stern, and a professor and Brian Stannenthal who really influenced me in my thinking, after grad school when I was at Stanford I would say I had another number of great mentors the best of which was actually a former business partner of mine named Mike Lanning really influenced my thinking and my teaching and many aspects of my business more so than the other Stanford faculty. After I left Stanford I would say that my mentors have been my clients, I learned so much from the strategic sponsors who hired me at Lockheed Martin, a general named Stan Sloan really taught me the ropes about what is unique about aerospace defense and military contracting and government spending I learned a tremendous amount from Stan so the mentors change based upon who you are working with, my greatest mentor the last four years or so was my colleague in Reinventures, Billy Mills a former West Point graduate and IT system architect who really helped me understand enterprise 2.0 and how it influences the concept I teach, incredibly valuable but long-term mentor is definitely my twin brother Mike.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: In three words, the most important factors for success?

Lynn Philipps: I believe always think backwards is a good motto, it carries the right connotation and surprises people a little bit but always think backwards, first of all with business start with the customer and always think backwards, think backwards from them to what you have to look like and how you have to shape yourself to deliver value but I think that is transcendent, it is not just in business but in relationships, if you want to have a relationship with someone you always have to think backwards, if you want to love somebody and want them to love you, you have to start with them and their circumstances and their unmet needs and occasions and you have to think backwards, always think backwards to what you would have to look like and how you have to shape yourself to meet their needs and I really like that notion of always think backwards, that would be my contribution to the three words.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the habits that you are trying to develop to stay efficient ?

Lynn Philipps: 2 things, I think actually you teach in some of your other interviews that I’ve looked at, some of my readings of some of the things that are key that you talk about I would say in my business the two things that are key are outsourcing in partnership so again there are things that I can outsource, I need to be spending more time on developing client work and spend more time on actually making sure that client work is of a high quality, what I don’t need to be spending a lot of time on his actually writing a proposal to when that work, I have team members that I can outsource that to and many of them have been with me for seventeen years so they can complete any sentence that I start and they are really terrific, one guy that I worked with for a long time is just my right hand person and really fabulous, outsourcing is really key for doing work like writing proposals, graphics for classes etc. it takes me out of that and allows me to focus more time on core activities, the second piece is partnering, my friend Billy Mills that I mentioned is a great illustration of for me to be successful in the evolving world of aerospace defense and national security which is increasingly net centric and an IT game, and also being valuable in helping enterprises transition to enterprise 2.0 you need somebody to really understand that an entire spectrum technically very well and he is outstanding, he is probably taught me more than anybody has taught me in the last five years, he is a young man to his about thirty-four or thirty-five years old and you can never stop learning at least if you do what I do.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the top three, your top three favorite books?

Lynn Philipps: My top three favorite books are first of all I am a lover of biographies so William Manchester’s books on Winston Churchill are fantastic and very inspirational and I keep them front and center I also love Edmund Morris’s books on Teddy Roosevelt, and very inspired by both of those historical figures and I guess I would have to say the Bible think the Bible is an amazing story, I read it all covered a cover when I was in the hospital recovering from leukemia really is an amazing story so I would be remiss if I did not that to the list.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Top three people that you are inspired by?

Lynn Philipps: Well if I was going to go beyond Churchill and Roosevelt both of whom inspire me I would say first and foremost one of the people that I definitely remember being inspired by his John McCain because I remember when I first went in for leukemia therapy I knew that it was going to be pretty much a solitary existence basically when you go in for leukemia therapy you have to make sure that anybody who comes to see you wears a mask, my kids actually cannot come in the hospital for prolonged periods of time they had to wait with me outside the window because if you have anybody come in when you are white counts are down and a sneeze on you and they have an infectious disease you can die in fact most leukemia patients don’t die of leukemia they die of infection that they pick up when they are outside the hospital or even in the hospital. So I knew it was going to be a solitary existence, and it was going to go on for about eighteen months and I was wondering how is going to cope with it and then I read just out of the blue I read John McCain’s book on his incarceration in Vietnam and when I was reading it I actually went to the bookstore thinking I was going to buy some books and CDs before I entered the hospital and I just picked it up on a lark and I got into the hospital and I started reading it and I guess I was sort of feeling sorry for myself when I was reading it and I started to read it and I said wait a minute this guy got shot down over North Vietnam and he then went on to be in solitary confinement for almost 5 years, what am I doing here complaining that I’m sitting in the hospital with CNN and DVDs and computer and the Internet, the only way you could even talk to anybody for the first three years was by Morse code and tapping and he had a broken leg and I thought I think I should quit complaining and just take his experience and say if you can do it I can do it because I am a lot better off than he was. I found that really inspirational, another guy that I find inspirational is really one of my best friends if not my best friend his name is Matt Thomas, he was an orphan in Japan, he was orphaned the son of a Japanese woman and an American servicemen and he was orphaned in Japan early on and had to go up in an orphanage he was small he got beat up a lot he actually learned to fight their try to escape several times he was finally adopted by another American servicemen and his wife and he moved to California and he grew up in California is a half Japanese half American but he was incredibly resilient, he studied on his own and got into Stanford on a scholarship and didn’t have any money to live on the actually built the treehouse in the woods behind Stanford and lives in the treehouse for his first 3 ½ years until the president of the university discovered the treehouse and had a knockdown, he then graduated from Stanford and went on to Harvard Medical School, he didn’t like medicine and went on to government service, both in clandestine services as well as military service for many years, was a patriot that served his country in many missions, when I met him he was my twin brother’s bodyguard and when my brother was a federal judge. He also is my kids martial artist instructors, he developed a class called model mugging that has now trained literally a hundred thousand women on self-defense, how to win a street fight, not strict martial arts but if you are attacked on the street, either by someone who is armed or unarmed, all of his tools and techniques are about how to win that street fight and it has an amazing track record I’ve actually taken the class III or four times along with my seventeen-year-old daughter and it is an amazing class, I find him really inspirational and all the things he has done, I often think that people who are inspirational it is more about what they’ve overcome than what they’ve done and both McCain and my friend Matt Thomas have overcome a lot and I would also say the same thing about my twin brother he is a major source of inspiration, both he and I grew up from a modest background and I remember when he was a federal judge making something like ninety thousand dollars a year in Oklahoma I remember him being in debt and wondering if you ever get out of debt and I felt sorry for him because he devoted his life to civil service but when he finally got out of civil service and went into private practice he was rewarded with an incredible career, he has been amazingly successful, he has done fantastic knowledge from a money standpoint, being a great father to his two sons and his daughter, he really overcame an incredibly modest background to go on to become really one of the nations if not the world’s best mediators of complex lawsuits so those of the three people that inspire me a lot.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: You listen to any music when you were?

Lynn Philipps: Well remember my work has two components, one part of it is that I’m actually involved in speaking, platform speaking so I can listen to music then although I do play music when I do platform speaking, I have a bunch of really cool songs that support the content that I teach, you’ll have to see it sometime, cruel to be kind is one of them. The times when I’m writing, I do listen to music and I listen to music that constantly when I’m writing or on planes or on home office, it’s a great soothing way to sort of stay relaxed as you work.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Do you follow any routine to sleep ?

Lynn Philipps: I sort of fell into a habit when I was in the hospital in 2006 and 2007 of taking an allergy medication called Benadryl, it’s over-the-counter and makes you drowsy and you go to sleep and I find that really helps me so I still take Benadryl, I carry that tradition on ever since 2006.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: What are the things that make you really happy?

Lynn Philipps: Well-being with my children first of all Anya and Cole, the context in which I’m with them, we are fans of Africa, lovers Africa I have personally been to Africa on Safari maybe 15 or 20 times, my kids have been with me four or five times, we love trekking through the hills of Africa, being together and being alone, we also let’s work together, we love being on the squash court with a great squash player like yourself, or alternatively my friend Rod Iles who is a former world champion, also my friends locally here, Rocky Carson who is not a squash player per se he is actually the world’s number one racquetball player but he is a heck of a squash player as well as you can imagine, we love doing sports together and being together with great athletes, we love all kinds of sports in the same thing applies to golf as well, so being with my kids and playing sports and walking around Africa and being with great people like one of the reasons that I so enjoy my time with you is that you are a fantastic squash player but you are also an intellect and you are an entrepreneur and I like spending time with great people so that is really what makes me happy.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much. Last question how can people contact you?

Lynn Philipps: My website is reinventures.com, you can just go directly to it or you can contact me directly via Lphilips@reinventures.com, that is my email address and that is actually post on the website as well so we name the company reinventures, as we found that much of the work we were doing actually had to do with reinventing and enterprise so sometimes it was a very large-scale enterprise and we had to bring an entrepreneurial mindset, a venture mindset to that reinvention task, thus the name reinventures, so check me out there or send me your comments or thoughts on our interview today.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Thank you so much for the amazing time and interview and information Dr. Lynn, I really appreciate it.

Lynn Philipps: Hey it’s great, I look forward to seeing you in the UAE again my friend.

Ahmed Al Kiremli: Sure, thank you so much, thanks everyone, be efficient stay efficient and see you soon with another leading expert.

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