Stefanie Shelley, Former CMO at Broadridge Financial Solutions and Capital One Bank, shares innovation strategies for startups and large companies and how to create high-performing teams.
Stefanie Shelley has worked in Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager roles at companies including General Electric, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One Bank, Citi, and Broadridge Financial Solutions, where she’s led major growth and digital transformation initiatives. Now, she’s an advisor to startups including Betterment and a mentor at Barclays Techstars Accelerator.
At the start of the conversation, I asked her about the most important considerations for driving innovation at both startups and large companies. After all, startups and large organizations each have distinct strengths and challenges. For example, whereas startups have a clean slate for ideas and a passionate group of people, large companies have an established customer base, capital, and proven business models.
However, Stefanie points out that even when things are going well at a large company, change can happen quickly. Competition from new startups, the emergence of new technologies, and changes in consumer preferences can put your company on the brink of obsoletion. In any organization, even when things seem fine, ask what you can do better, Stefanie says.
Stefanie recommends taking time away from your day to day work, analyzing data and research, and having regular discussions with your team. She emphasizes the importance of thinking beyond what customers are requesting to find opportunities for breakthrough innovation. Discover what customers don’t even know they need, Stefanie says.
Stefanie highlights the key findings in the Alpha 2019 Product Management Insight Report that product managers don’t do enough research. She shares a story that illustrates the importance of looking for small nuggets within large research studies. One seemingly small insight can change the trajectory of a company.
Hire the right team, or in the face of a company reorganization, ensure that the cultures mesh well. This ensure that teams can successfully capitalize on breakthrough innovation. Stefanie identifies three key components of high performing teams:
- The right mix people
- Passion for the mission
People feel more connected when they understand the mission and vision, their managers communicate goals effectively, they feel heard, and they feel a sense of accomplishment. “Don’t over-focus on the “what” and “how.” Instead, focus on the “why”, Stefanie says.
You’ll learn a lot from this episode about how to discover what customers want and create high-performing teams.
Here are the highlights:
- The most important considerations for innovating at startups and large companies (6:13)
- How to make change and innovation a priority (11:26)
- Stefanie’s approach to keeping her teams motivated (14:48)
- How to build high-performing teams (19:31)
- Stefanie describes how to use research to identify new growth opportunities (22:49)
- Stefanie’s advice for people going through a reorganization (25:52)