Ken Spangler is Executive Vice President of Information Technology and CIO of Global OpCo Technologies of FedEx, a $ 84 billion Fortune 45 company with 560,000 team members worldwide. Previously the CIO of each of FedEx’s businesses, he brings a unique business perspective to his role in overseeing the global information technology team that supports FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Logistics.
With a customer base spanning 220 countries and territories, FedEx maintains one of the world’s largest aviation businesses, a ground fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles, and transports more than 15.5 million cargoes per day. increase. As you can imagine, it takes innovative technology to perform this complex operation. However, as Spangler points out, the acceleration of technology in today’s business, coupled with the challenges of the last two years, pressures business and technology leaders to quickly implement new features and increase agility. I’m wearing it.
When we talk My CIOW hisperers podcast, Spangler shared some of the secret sources behind FedEx’s ability to be revolutionary or evolutionary. He also discussed how he could take advantage of his expanded role to help further differentiate the company in the market. After the show was over, we spent a few more minutes talking about the pillars of success he says are central to navigating today’s technical complexity. Following is the off-air conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Dan Roberts: I hear that many CIOs are talking about embarking on a big initiative with all the right words: modernization, transformation, agility, etc., but they reach the finish line or are complete. You rarely realize the benefits. What are the pillars for achieving important results beyond buzzwords?
Ken Spangler: I think there are some things that are really essential, but some of them don’t sound revolutionary. They are just blocking and working. One of the things everyone is talking about today is change. Some of the sayings and images that our group has created are that we need to do to transform. Often, people are trying to drive change initiatives because they have bad processes, bad technologies, or just bad operations. And I strongly believe that you have to do it first to transform.
As part of execution, The first thing we talk about is always operational excellence. To do anything else, you need to run a world-class system. next, TransformOften, in business technology, if people don’t reach the final state of what they’re looking for, it’s because something else gets in the way. We strongly believe in a proven framework. As I mentioned in the podcast, I have plans to create a simple framework, transactions, and adjustments for the story. This has always been the key to success. If you keep it disciplined and do it, you have little difficulty in reaching the end. However, you need to understand the framework. You have to be trained in the framework. And you have to be relentless.
FedEx’s response to the pandemic, that is, how it cared for people while responding to customer needs, is not impressive. What made you successful about your culture?
Our organization has responded around the world at the level of urgency and consideration that is part of the culture. As part of that, IT had to deal with it in several unique ways. The first is different levels of scalability, all with urgency, from our amazing work to the thousands of people who literally had to work at home all of a sudden.
Some are missions, some are compassionate, and some are aware that this is different, so we need to scale up. And it needs to be scaled to the quality and operability you need. Sounds easy. It was hard every day. Literally, it was managed at 7am every day, so you’re sure you know everything you need to do and everything that’s different because it was operating at different times.
But I also want to give credit if I need it.Fred [Smith, Chairman and CEO, FedEx Corporation] Always looking to the future.And Rob Carter [EVP, CIO, FedEx Corporation] We are relentlessly working to take our technology to the next level. As a result, many foundations were in place to extend from them. These two are good at living in the future and guiding their vision. It was the way they led the company forever, and it was a really powerful enabler when we suddenly had to slingshot into the future.
Everyone talks about agile, but FedEx does it, thinks about it, and does it differently. Given the size and complexity of OpCo, this is not an easy task.
I don’t think it’s free to be agile do it Agile is very important to all businesses today, but perhaps even more important because we are a very large federation business. Early on, we found it easy to say that we were agile, but the interpretation of agile varied from person to person. It also enabled us to compete jointly, operate jointly, and innovate digitally as part of our three strategic operational principles. This means that what you do across the enterprise is more important than ever. So for us, it’s more about agile enterprise business than just agile. We have constantly focused on lean portfolio management and a simplified view of what common processes, classifications, and tools are.
Still it sounds very simple. However, organizations of our size operate in a variety of large operating companies around the world, and their consistency is a key factor. Its lean portfolio management is incredibly powerful. And in the end, it leads us to enterprise portfolio management. Again, not everything is an enterprise priority. If everything takes precedence, nothing takes precedence. So it’s really a corporate priority, its narrow horizons, and what are those unique priorities for these individual operating companies, which are huge multi-billion dollar companies.
There are also architectural design principles called solid cores and flexible edges. What is Enterprise Core? Also, what is flexible, edged, and empowered? This is another part of why enterprise business agility and its consistency are our enablers.
You have a great interest in the team. You have a great interest in people. But we are doing a very dramatically different job than it was 20 months ago. How do you know if your team is working well?
First, through years of collaboration with the global team, I have developed this feeling of hearing words like “us” and “us.” Before the pandemic, I often went to different parts of the world. It’s like sitting down, starting to meet the team, listening to “us” and “us” consistently, and realizing that these two words are. It’s powerful that you knew this would be a successful and productive team.
Second, our way of working today is actually more connected than ever. What’s interesting is that I’ve seen all the teams more than ever before, whether I’m in Europe, in Asia, or wherever I am. We are always together. Collaboration tools have changed what is possible. And finally, we are very quantitative and qualitative, and the measurements show that we are absolutely more productive.
In the podcast, we talked about “principle”. This is the expression you use to become a very effective communicator. However, it has two aspects: a speaker communicator and a listener communicator. What are your intentions for both?
I was fortunate to be around a great communicator. It’s nothing but Rob Carter. He is a world-class communicator, part of which is that he is a great listener. I have projected the people I respect and learn.
For me, being a communicator is first making sure there is air in the room for other leaders. I have multiple senior vice presidents, each with a very large organization. We plan to communicate throughout the year, including city halls, videos and all forms of communication. But the first thing I emphasize when I sit with the White House Chief of Staff or a professional communicator is that the senior vice president must first make sure there is air in the room to communicate. about it. They also need to have space to communicate.
Then, when communicating, make sure that all forms of communication are two-way. I think that is the most important thing. However, being a good listener does not mean that you are silent. Therefore, the last part is to try to do it in a clear and simplified way when speaking. And just because it’s simplified doesn’t mean it’s missing details. It just means that you can understand.
Listen to the entire podcast episode here to learn more about Spangler’s leadership philosophy, urgent and important perspectives, and what it takes to build a business technologist’s muscles, mindset, and brand.
FedEx EVP/CIO Ken Spangler on enterprise agility as an enabler for innovation Source link FedEx EVP/CIO Ken Spangler on enterprise agility as an enabler for innovation
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