Higher Highs with OTA President, Mike Richardson

Eyal Shahar made an exciting announcement last week welcoming Mike Richardson as OTA’s President.

“I am very confident Mike is the right co-pilot to help continue taking Online Trading Academy to higher highs as he brings great strategic thinking, planning and execution,” stated Eyal in the announcement.

Mike too expressed his delight in putting himself “in service of our mission, our culture and reaching our full potential, for both the business overall and for every franchise owner and for every employee in their careers.”

As you probably already know by now after participating in scrum meetings, reading the Agile series in the newsletter, and seeing the walls in Mike’s office (if you haven’t seen them yet, it’s worth a trip), Mike operates in the framework of an agility operating system with one important goal in mind:  to wrap our heads and arms around the total agenda that drives success forward for all of OTA’s employees, franchises, and students in a sufficiently agile way.

A sufficiently agile way means that we keep the company, the franchises, the employees, and the students on their desired growth trajectory with the agility to be staying in traction and avoiding wheel-spin at all times.

The framework lives inside two axes,” explains Mike. 

“The vertical axis is high-level strategy, mid-level infrastructure and ground level and operational processes. The horizontal axis is short-range, medium range and long-range time-horizons. To be agile as a business and network, we must address this total agenda, working inside these two axes while simultaneously, working on our 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 business models.”

  • We must be working “in” our current business model (we’ll call it 1.0) and assuring the best possible performance out of that which we can … it’s the only thing paying the bills, keeping the lights on and funding everything else.
  • We must be doing continuous improvement of the current business model (1.1, 1.2, 1.3 …) with sustaining innovation to extend the runway of our current business model and improve its performance … streamlining for efficiency and effectiveness, improving coordination, collaboration and communication between departments, taking our culture and leadership to the next level.
  • We must be working “on” discontinuous improvement, making step-function shifts to a business model 2.0 … implementing new systems and processes, rolling out new products and programs, driving new approaches and mechanisms.
  • We must also be working on disruptive innovations making game-changing shifts to a business model 3.0 in a constant flow of reinvention … if we don’t self-disrupt ourselves, the world will for us, probably bigger, faster, sooner than we think! For example, think Kodak, Blackberry, Blockbuster and Automotive Dealerships who haven’t evolved an internet strategy … all are businesses who didn’t pivot to the new digital, online world far enough and fast enough … becoming the disruptee not the disruptor … going from boom to bust, victor to victim and first to worst, bigger, faster and sooner than their worst nightmare!

Not us!  More than ever before, we are working in and on business models 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 simultaneously, to remain masters of our own destiny and continue taking OTA to “higher highs”.  But that can be challenging and tests our agility.

Sound impossible?

In a meeting the other day in which Mike attended, Gene Longobardi summarized this beautifully, saying that Eyal is a genius at believing the impossible, expecting the unreasonable and achieving the ridiculous … by starting out as fast as we possibly can … and then accelerating from there!

“That’s my cup of tea!” explains Mike. “It’s my WHY for being here. To be a co-pilot for that flight plan, shifting into a next gear of organization with an agility operating system which is up to the challenge, will pass the test and will allow us to enjoy the journey and have a lot of fun along the way.”

“The challenge is to get all of these moving parts to come together in unison, well integrated, well aligned and well attuned to the nature of the journey,” says Mike. “It is like gears in a gear box, with everything meshing together well. It’s about translating agile strategy and agile execution into traction, avoiding wheel-spin, with the agile goal setting, agile operations management, agile mental models (agile thinking, paradigm shifts, mind mapping, visual thinking, metaphors and analogies) required, with a culture of agility and an agile approach to productivity, all facilitated with an agile infrastructure.

Mike says, “We have started putting all of these building blocks in place. The next gear is how it all comes together, how it all begins to click, how it all starts to gel, align, and integrate, and how it all starts to be highly tuned for the next part of the journey.”

“And I am delighted and honored to be a part of that journey, putting myself in service of our mission, our culture and reaching our full potential, for both the business overall and for every franchise owner and for every employee in their careers. I look forward very much to working with everyone and getting to know each other.”