What We’re Reading-July 2019

July 3, 2019

This month is Jeff's book recommendation: Get There Early by Bob Johansen.

These days, every leader struggles with a paradox: you can’t predict the future, but you have to be able to make sense of it to thrive. In the age of the Internet, everyone knows what’s new, but to succeed you have to be able to sort out what’s important, devise strategies based on your own point of view, and get there ahead of the crowd. Bob Johansen shares techniques the Institute for the Future has been refining for nearly forty years to help leaders navigate what, borrowing a term from the Army War College, he calls the VUCA world: a world characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Continuing with a theme of "planning through massive complexity", I've referenced Bob's model multiple times and in multiple different contexts. Creating an enterprise discipline that supports operating model transformation through a foresight, insight, action process helps generate critical discussions that needs to be happening at every organization. I've heard many times from senior executives that there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with current-state operations, let alone thinking about strategy. At the same time, Digital is forcing operating model changes for everyone so defining a model for evaluating impact, determining investments, and aligning execution that works for your company is imperative. I also like his way of explaining the current operating environment/landscape where we are making decisions: VUCA - Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. You will see more from us in the future on what it takes to select and develop leaders that can operate in a VUCA world. 


Accomplished Executive Joins FocalPointe’s Advisory Group

July 2, 2019

FocalPointe Group has announced Bob Garcia, Board Advisor and Equity Partner at Catalyst Capital Holdings LLC, has joined its Advisory Group. 

“We’re excited to have Bob join our team in an advisory capacity.  He is a seasoned executive with a track record of defining strategy and leading organizations successfully through major technology disruption and achieving results,” said Jeff Steffens, CEO of FocalPointe Group.

Mr. Garcia has over 25 years of leadership experience in technology, telecommunication and manufacturing companies.  Most recently, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ: SNCR), a leading software as a service (SaaS) company serving the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) industry in North America, Europe and Asia.  As a founding member, he was instrumental in facilitating the growth of the company from a start-up in 2000 to the firm’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2006 and its international expansion until his retirement in 2018.  Bob sits on the state board of the Junior Achievement of New Jersey and is a Board Advisor and Equity Partner at Catalyst Capital Holdings LLC. 

“FocalPointe is changing the way companies engage, use and get value from business consulting services in an era of massive technology change,” said Mr. Garcia. “I’m honored to be a part of their Advisory Group, and I look forward to working with the management team in the company’s continued growth and success.”


FocalPointe Group Creates Corporate Advisory Group

June 26, 2019

We are excited to announce the creation of a Corporate Advisory Group to consult, optimize and accelerate our go to market strategies and plans. Members of this team will be outcome-driven, critical thinkers with horizontal or vertical expertise that supports key areas of focus/development for our firm.

“In a fast-paced, complex and volatile environment, extending visibility of our strategies and plans to a broader group of leaders will help us target and improve the overall strength and quality of the results we deliver to our Clients”, says Jeff Steffens, FocalPointe Group CEO.

FPG plans to add 3-5 members to its Advisory Group in second half of 2019 with the first appointment expected in July. 


Milan joins DAMA Board

June 21, 2019

Our Chief Technology Officer Malu S. Milan has been named Co-Vice President, Programs and Education for the Puget Sound chapter of DAMA. Congratulation Malu on your appointment.


Better Service Than Banks? Not for Long.

June 7, 2019

Credit unions have long been known for better customer service than big banks. But according to our partner John Krpan, technology is helping big banks beat their smaller competitors at their own game. Click on to read John's opinion in Credit Union Journal.


What We’re Reading-June 2019

June 4, 2019

This month is John Krpan's book recommendation: How to Be a Leader: An Ancient Guide to Wise Leadership by Plutarch.

Prior to the plethora of leadership books, trends and fads, Plutarch profiled leaders such as Mark Antony, Caesar and Alexander the Great - what made them great, or not so great. A common theme in his work was that good character was a prediction of good leadership. He follows with advice that people should pursue positions of leadership only if they are motivated by "judgment and reason"—not "by the vain pursuit of glory, rivalry, or a lack of other meaningful activities." He cites leaders who were very adept at creating a false image of competence, followed by eventual failure when they could not live up to the images or expectations that they created. Conversely, people who demonstrated a positive strength of character, morality and ethics ultimately prevailed.

The book should resonate with anyone looking to offset cases where there is a tendency to align with aggressive leaders that promise short term results and establish leadership through outward appearances, salesmanship and a “win at any cost” attitude.


FocalPointe Group welcomes Malu S. Milan as Chief Technology Officer

May 30, 2019

Milan brings extensive experience in Cybersecurity, Privacy, Digital Quality, Process Automation, Enterprise Architecture and IT Management and will continue to build out FocalPointe Group’s capabilities in the emerging technology space. Milan will lead the company’s technology roadmap and operations.

“With the massive opportunities for blockchain, AI, Privacy Regulation, Social and Cloud services, FPG is an exciting company to help guide in conjunction with our thought leaders to determine the right mix of technology and change management required to effectively and efficiently adopt such technologies,” said Milan. “I find it to be a place where one can be smart, kind, ethical and pragmatic all at once.”

Prior to her Capgemini GRC & Privacy COE Leader role, Milan served as General Manager, Quality and Business Excellence at Microsoft where she led a large organization and five, GM, Senior Directors & Directors globally responsible for improving products, services and operations at scale. Prior to Microsoft, Milan held Executive Leadership positions at Pepsico International, Stativa and Motorola. She also serves as Vice President of Strategy for the Puget Sound chapter of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and board member for OPEX (Operational Excellence) Society.

“We have been looking for a Chief Technology Officer for more than a year; someone with a strong balance of business acumen and technical aptitude. We found the perfect mix when we met Malu. Her 20+ years of industry and consulting experience across many different disciplines, coupled with critical thinking makes her a great fit for supporting FocalPointe’s mission of helping companies define, plan and orchestrate outcomes," said Jeff Steffens, President and CEO.


IT Governance: Get Back to Basics

May 15, 2019

John Krpan, our Partner, Strategy and Business Development, knows a thing or two about IT governance. Check out his latest article in InformationWeek.


What We’re Reading-May 2019

May 14, 2019

This month is Jeff Steffens' book recommendation: Escape Velocity: Free Your Company's Future from the Pull of the Past by Geoffrey A. Moore.

In Escape Velocity, Geoffrey Moore provides his view on how to escape the gravitational pull of legacy businesses and focus on building material positions in next-generation categories. Technology is not only enabling, but forcing companies to pivot their operating models to stay competitive. Moore’s horizon model for planning and investing in these waves of technology disruption, balanced against legacy, is a great mental model for driving the conversation. Additionally, it exposes dependencies between horizons that must be rationalized as part of the planning and commitment process.

It’s a recommended read for leaders making enterprise level investment decisions to advance the capabilities of the organization.