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Executive Exchange “Round Up” – Rethinking How We Work

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Executives are rethinking ways of working for today and tomorrow, in particular through diversity, sustainability, ideation and innovation.

On October 5th and 6th, Iron Mountain hosted an Executive Exchange with 28 of our global customers. The program was designed to address the need for business renewal and reinvention across all verticals and geographies made even more urgent, and necessary, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As one astute customer said, “going back has never been how we go forward.”

During the 5 hour virtual event, our customers heard from Iron Mountain’s executives, including our CEO, CTO and CCO; Marc Randolph, a co-founder of Netflix; and a panel of customers who discussed their response to the pandemic – all sharing how to rethink ways of working for today and tomorrow, in particular through diversity, sustainability, ideation and innovation.

DAY 1: Adjusting to a “new normal” while continuing to innovate

Greg McIntosh, Iron Mountain’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) shared a new way to look at Iron Mountain and what we offer. He described how we not only continue to help lock and protect what matters most to you – physical or digital – but also further explained our ability, through technology, to unlock that information for competitive advantage, compliance, and more.

Bill Meaney, our CEO and President, spoke candidly about our global response to the pandemic – steps put in place to continue to service our customers as well as developing new solutions, such as digital mailrooms, while keeping our employees safe. He also focused on our efforts to create a more diverse work environment, support community volunteerism and create solutions that align with our sustainability goals – such as our data centers that are powered 100% by alternative energy (which, by the way, contain 68 exabytes of data!)

Our Covid-19 panel consisting of 4 customers in manufacturing, financial services and insurance, related their journeys to minimize the pandemic’s disruption to their businesses and roles. Some key takeaways were:

  • Access, connection and flexibility remain essential. There will be a “new normal” going forward and organizations must continue to communicate updates and changes to all employees as well as provide ways to allow employees to be heard.

  • Strong governance and crisis management plans must be in place to meet any crisis. Having a single enterprise approach with an accountability structure in place allows for faster decision-making, activation and recovery.

  • The pandemic is the biggest challenge and disruption people have experienced and it takes a toll on employees’ mental health. Leaders need to ask people how they are doing – not just about work – and they have to be equipped to provide necessary resources for people in crisis.

  • Making a determination of how to handle the records and data created or received as a result of COVID-19 (such as health surveillance, contact tracing, health and safety) has been a challenge that practically every organization has met differently. The best course of action is to follow an existing risk management framework. The goal should be to physically protect employees no matter where they are in the world, and that includes protecting their privacy, as well. Some organizations are considering the creation of a new record retention code: keep the records and data for the life of the crisis, the end of which is determined by a designated internal authority.

In essence, we are all being forced to rethink not just where we work, but how we work and with whom.

DAY 2: Re-imagining how business is done

The discussion between Kim Anstett, Iron Mountain’s CTO and Ari Adler, Managing Director at IDEO, an innovative design firm, began with the premise that “uncertainty is an opportunity.”

Large corporations tend to struggle with innovation because their success prevents them from seeing any solution to their customers’ problems other than their own. The way to counteract that phenomenon is to “build new muscles” around human-centric design. The idea is to explore questions that don’t necessarily have answers and to build on them, focusing on continual learning and hypotheses – but always with the customer in mind.

Iron Mountain has adopted IDEO’s concept of “innovation pods” composed of diverse people who like to dream big. We’ve carved out a space that’s separate from running our business, giving members of the pods time to get to know each other which enables mutual innovation without the fear of judgment.

We also had guest luminary speaker Marc Randolph, the co-founder of Netflix who served as their first CEO. He now invests in numerous tech ventures, mentors rising entrepreneurs, has co-founded a number of successful startups, and recently published a book entitled “That Will Never Work.” Some highlights from our discussion with Marc were:

  • “Nobody Knows Anything.” Ideas don’t mean anything. They’re almost always wrong. Truly the only way to know if an idea is good or bad is to try it. You have to DO something with your idea. You’ll learn more in one day of doing something than in six months of thinking about it.

  • Most business plans are a waste of time. All the time we spend researching and writing plans, we’re delaying the moment you can take an idea and let it collide with reality. You have to think more like a start-up. Don’t assume you know what’s going to happen.

  • Innovation is cultural, not strategic. The culture comes not from what you say, but what you do (who you promote, who you reward, who you punish). If you believe innovation is important, celebrate the people who try and fail.

Lastly, our Product Management leaders highlighted 2 solutions:

Secure Offline Storage (SOS) which helps “lock” data and protect it for the long term

InSight which helps “unlock” the value and potential of data and records.

In closing, the Executive Exchange fulfilled its brief to share ways in which we can re-imagine how we do business through ideation, innovation, agility, and embracing diversity.

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