Kyle Nicholas McCray:


053 – The Scrappy Intrapreneur Transforming Customer Experiences with Kyle Nicholas McCray

Kyle Nicholas McCray:


053 – The Scrappy Intrapreneur Transforming Customer Experiences with Kyle Nicholas McCray

Share this podcast

In this episode, Kyle Nicholas McCray, Director of Innovation at American Pacific Mortgage Corporation, joins us to discuss his experience as an intrapreneur and innovator within an established financial business. We cover with Kyle his early career at Apple, his time as an entrepreneur and how that led him to set up Scrappy Labs, an innovation lab within APMC dedicated to exploring new and innovative products and services to revolutionize the relationship between the company and a new generation of homebuyers.

  • Why Kyle decided to set up Scrappy Labs and the purpose of an innovation lab within a traditionally ‘small i’ innovation organisation 
  • APMC’s approach to ‘institutionalizing innovation’ and its focus on how it communicates with its customers – the foundation of a services business 
  • How Kyle acknowledges generational gaps between the company and its customers and how he responds to and leverages new trends and changes 

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • The importance of pivoting, responding quickly to changes in communication and technology, and bridging the gap between older and younger generations of staff and consumers 
  • How nurturing a culture of ‘scrappiness’ has been essential to reducing the risk that new innovations are rejected when they come out of the ‘lab’ and are integrated into the wider organization 
  • The importance of understanding the different communication ‘styles’ of team members how this common language helps to limit conflict and maximize the results of the innovation process 

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

Summary

In this episode, Kyle Nicholas McCray, Director of Innovation at American Pacific Mortgage Corporation, joins us to discuss his experience as an intrapreneur and innovator within an established financial business. We cover with Kyle his early career at Apple, his time as an entrepreneur and how that led him to set up Scrappy Labs, an innovation lab within APMC dedicated to exploring new and innovative products and services to revolutionize the relationship between the company and a new generation of homebuyers.

Kyle Nicholas McCray

Kyle Nicholas McCray is the Director of Innovations, American Pacific Mortgage, heading new business initiatives and launching new products and services. Kyle is an intrapreneur and disruptor, driven to create mechanisms of change and bring about improvement from within the organization. He embodies the core value of ‘Scrappy’ and strives to produce concrete social, environmental and economic benefits that are at the forefront of mortgage banking today. 

What Was Covered

  • Why Kyle decided to set up Scrappy Labs and the purpose of an innovation lab within a traditionally ‘small i’ innovation organisation 
  • APMC’s approach to ‘institutionalizing innovation’ and its focus on how it communicates with its customers – the foundation of a services business 
  • How Kyle acknowledges generational gaps between the company and its customers and how he responds to and leverages new trends and changes 

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • The importance of pivoting, responding quickly to changes in communication and technology, and bridging the gap between older and younger generations of staff and consumers 
  • How nurturing a culture of ‘scrappiness’ has been essential to reducing the risk that new innovations are rejected when they come out of the ‘lab’ and are integrated into the wider organization 
  • The importance of understanding the different communication ‘styles’ of team members how this common language helps to limit conflict and maximize the results of the innovation process 

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

So welcome back to the Innovation Ecosystem. This is Mark Bidwell and with me today is Kyle Nicholas McCray who is director of Innovation for America Pacific Mortgage and I have to say, Kyle, great to have you on our show. Kyle, you are what I call a super listener to the Innovation Ecosystem podcast, right?

You could say that. Thanks, Mark, for having me on the show.

Well, not at all, and the reason I say that is we’ve been in conversation over the months and you’ve been commenting on some of the previous guests and so this is a really interesting conversation because I think your role as Director of Innovations, you’re going to explain it in more detail but you are essentially an intrapreneur trying to move the needle and trying to make change happen in an established industry albeit quite a young company. I think your company is twenty years old, right?

That’s right and what I really appreciate about the conversations you’re having is with the prestigious guests you have on the show which I listen to regularly, I like how all of these people are thinking about the future and how they’re trying to advance their company for the future, so you talk about ‘killing the company’, reinventing the company, these are themes that we’re having discussions at American Pacific Mortgage.

And you use that language, ‘kill the company’, it’s important. Not only does it refer to our first podcast with Lisa Bodell way back when, but she talked about ‘killing the company’ and actually, her book is called Kill the Company, but I think the mandate from your chairman who hired you from Apple, and we’ll come back to that in a minute is, ‘Kyle, go and kill the company’. So tell me, what did he actually mean by that and when he said that to you how did you feel about it?

Yes, and let me clarify. ‘Killing the company’ can scare a lot of people although I respect the book, I love the book. We are intentional about institutionalizing innovation at American Pacific although we’ve been around for almost two decades. Depending on what industry you’re in, that could be very old or new, but institutionalizing innovation, it really is bringing in new ways of thinking throughout the organization and our proactive approach for advancing the company, and all this is the end result – benefiting our customers which in our business are our branch managers and loan officers. So we’re advancing the company. We’re bringing in new ways of thinking so that we can better serve our customers.

And Kyle, your chairman, he hired you away from Apple so before we get into ‘what does it mean by institutionalizing innovation in your company?’ just tell a little bit about the story of studying in entrepreneurship, to Apple, to ending up at APM. How did that happen?

Yes so it’s certainly progression that’s happened basically over the last ten years and something that I never really expected to be honest with you, to be where I’m at today, but I love what I do and I’m happy to be here so just a little bit about my journey. Very untraditional route, I knew I always wanted to be in business. I always had a passion for it. My family, my mother specifically, pulls out when I was little that I wrote these contracts. I have these handwritten contracts with my younger brother on trading different knick knacks in the house and we contractually obligated ourselves to making an exchange, so I was always interested in building business relationships and building companies but what I ended up doing was studying entrepreneurship at a local university here in California. At the time that was very new, that wasn’t the traditional route. Universities were experimenting with the concept but what that ended up with or resulted in is an internship at Apple and this kind of set my career.

And this was when, Kyle? 

Back in 2008/2009.

So that was when Apple was well on the recovery route, right? 

That’s right. At the time, the late Steve Jobs was still leading the company and albeit that they are technically considered as successful today by many measurements, back then I think in terms of driving innovation, that they’ve never driven innovation as much as they did back when Steve, in my opinion, was leading the company, so I happened to benefit from that. They created this internship program for employing college students to work out of their dorm rooms to take customer service calls, so the hundreds of millions of users of iPhones, iPads, Macbooks etc, instead of calling maybe an outsourced call center, in a lot of cases they would reach a college student working out of their dorm room which was very innovative at the time. I happened to be one of the first, I think, fifteen people they ever had in that inaugural class to test the viability of that program.

And how were you able to stand out? Why were they hiring you versus presumably lots of others who were interested in that internship?

Well, I was lucky. My understanding is they recruited or interviewed something like tens of thousands of college students and I happened to be lucky enough to be picked. I think in retrospect a lot of it had to do with how I was their ideal customer. I used their products, I was passionate about their products and services but also had the kind of hungry, humble, smart type of mentality – I was motivated to be very good at my job and especially with Apple because they’re – you know, what I respect about them even today is they are machines. Everything is measured, everything is quantified and perfected and that’s really where a lot of my experience came from – how to set proper expectations, how to better serve consumers, how to provide the best possible experience. Those foundational pieces, I all learned from Apple.

Yeah, and I guess this plays out to – when you used the language as you said earlier on, industrializing, institutionalizing innovation, quite a lot of that has come from your experience at Apple, I presume?

It has and after my time at Apple I started my own business because I wanted to do that very thing, I wanted to bring the innovations and my experience and the best practices from Apple to other companies.

OK, and then how long were you doing that before you came into relation with your chairman?

There were a couple years in between were I spent some time working with small to medium sized businesses doing business development, dipping my toe in the intrapreneural spirit, being that entrepreneur inside of companies, spent some time in Silicon Valley in the technology space, a few years had gone by, and then American Pacific Mortgage.

What was it, I think you mentioned the average age in the industry is 55, it’s clearly a growth industry but it’s also probably under pressure, the industry, from new technology, new entrants. It’s not necessarily – moving from Apple to running your own business to going into the mortgage industry is an interesting path. I guess, I’m trying to be diplomatic here. What was it you saw about it? What did you like about it?

Right, diplomatic is the correct way to phrase that. Like I said at the beginning, I certainly didn’t expect to be where I am today but I love the opportunity and I love the culture and the company that is American Pacific Mortgage. So you’re exactly right. The average age of our customer, the loan officer today is somewhere around fifty years old and that’s coming down but it’s still very high and what the disconnect is, is really – it creates a gap between who our customers are and who we’re serving at the end of the day which is consumers, and as consumers, home buyers in our particular case, get younger and younger and our workforce becomes more aged, more mature probably is the more professional way to say it, there can be a hard time connecting with our buyers and so, for me it’s not as important to emphasize age, I think you do need to relate and connect to our buyers but I don’t think that necessarily means you have to be a particular age. I think it more has to do with your mindset and meeting customers where they are. So if our new profile or our new home buyer, if you will, is a millennial that prefers communication through text messages or wants to start the home buying process online, we’ve got to tool our loan officers and branch managers to have the ability to do that and to train them to meet them in those places.

But as you say, technology is one thing but mindset trumps technology. To what extent are these loan officers really able to put themselves in the shoes of their customers who are probably a similar age to their kids potentially? How does that play out in terms of – because it creates an enormous challenge for you, I guess, responsible for driving these new processes, new technologies, new ways of thinking into the marketplace?

That’s right and a lot of it has to do with acknowledging the gap and responding to the trends very quickly. For organizations of our size and bigger, it can be more difficult to pivot or respond to those changes and in a quick way, and so my job as Director of Innovations is to help us respond to those more quickly and then to provide those tools to be able to respond and leverage those trends. More specifically there are a number of things that we do at American Pacific. One, just very simply, is ‘how do we better communicate?’ And we’ve partnered with a company called Market Force that basically is a human dynamics company and essentially the job of Market Force is to limit conflict and maximize performance by leveraging the best way to communicate, and the way that they do that is by implementing what is very simply the Platinum Rule – understanding how other people want to be communicated to and communicate in that way and relating that back to millennials. If a potential new home buyer prefers to be communicated with via text message, our loan officers have to be comfortable with communicating in that way so that we’re better serving that buyer.

Interesting. Now I think this company you’ve mentioned several times in previous conversations, they work with a number of other companies so I get the communication, making sure that you’re putting yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to communicate with but are there any other things that this firm helps you with? From my notes from our earlier conversation, you talked about how people perform under pressure. Is there anything in terms of their approach that makes them very unique or that has really unlocked some of the value in your innovation programs by working with them?

Yes and there are a number of ways to answer your question because there are so many applications for Market Force and what they train us to do by leveraging their methodology is, if we can limit conflict  through a number of different ways, we just speed up the process and we better the experience of both our customer, the loan officer, and our consumer which is the buyer and so from an innovation perspective we’ve applied their system of styles, more specifically, and I know that you wanted to talk about this in greater detail so essentially there are four main styles for tendencies or habits, for how people communicate and just imagine them as buckets. So, very quickly, you have your control at the top which tends to be your visionary, your Steve Jobs, in our particular case our chairman, Kurt Reisig; these guys are setting the vision and the tone for the direction of where to go. You next have, to the right, are your influences. These are your social creatures, these are the life of the party, they’re great at, from an innovation perspective, socializing the new ideas, getting feedback from as many people as possible. At the bottom is your powers. I would fall in this particular bucket, and they’re very good about process, structure, creating checklists and working through the problem with their hands and then you have, to the left, your authorities, and your authorities are very analytical in nature and they prefer to look backwards before they look forwards because they want to know what works so they can know the best way forward, and so we leverage these particular styles by identifying, ‘Do we have the right people on the bus for this innovative initiative and are they in the right seat?’ and what that allows me to do on behalf of the company is just to better organize the existing resources that we have. Scrappy Labs, our Innovation Lab, implies that we’re very resourceful. Not to say that we don’t leverage outside resources but if we can better leverage our existing resources in different ways to solve new problems by leveraging these styles and how people best innovate, that’s how we maximize our return on investment. That’s how we are able to successfully innovate in new ways.

Is this common language at the water cooler or in the halls of your company? Does everyone understand when you say, ‘He’s powers or she’s authorities’? Is that how it looks in the corridors there?

That’s right and I’m glad you mentioned the phrase ‘common language’. That’s exactly what it is. It’s a common language or framework that just creates an understanding. Now I do need to preface that statement with saying, we don’t put people in a box, we’re not labeling people these names. As a power, I’m not only solely responsible for the things that powers are traditionally respected for but I have an awareness of what potentially my gaps are. So what I mean by that is, if I’m a very strong power then I need to be aware of the other styles, more specifically the other people and the styles that I’m working with and then as well as, as I was talking about, there’s a process, by creating a vision, socializing the concepts, putting structure around it and then analyzing it, not just the styles themselves but if you look at this in a clockwise fashion, that’s how we innovate. So if I understand where my blind spots are in the other styles, I understand where we’re at in the process and where my role is to move that process forward. That common language just helps us get through that and they use this as the prosperity path as they define it. We’re creating a system or engine that just moves smoothly. Like we talked about earlier, we’re just limiting conflict and maximizing performance by being able to have the same conversation through a common language.

Fascinating, and examples of results that you’ve achieved in the marketplace by using this approach? I’m curious as to how would you characterize the successful initiatives, if you like?

Right, spoken like an authority, what’s our measurement for success? There are a number of ways that we can measure how successful these investments are. For Market Force, there are two in particular that our company would leverage, and keep in mind this is an international company. They’ve serviced very, very large organizations and small, and implemented this kind of methodology within the organizations. Going back to how success is measured, they’ve done it in two ways. First is, everyone wants to know or a lot of, let’s call it C-suite executives, want to know, ‘What’s the return on investment’? The easiest way to measure our ‘why’ is – they’ve done studies as well as – we’ve monitored this very closely at American Pacific, very directly, how has production performed since institutionalizing this common language.

Right, so before and after analysis essentially?

Exactly. So we run an experiment and over time we measure basically how production is performed before making this investment and after, and what I can tell you just very directly is, going back, I believe it’s been three years since we started working with Market Force, not coincidentally the company has never performed better. We just came off the most successful year in our history almost peaking ten billion in production and a large part of that is how we’re able to communicate, how we’re able to limit conflict and innovate in some cases. The second piece for how you would measure success as it relates to creating a common language is satisfaction and we measure that, as many companies do, with our NPS score. So on an annual or biannual basis we will serve our almost three thousand, I think we have over three thousand employees, we’ll survey our employees and through this survey we’re constantly measuring their satisfaction in the workplace from a number of different angles and what we’ve found is again, not coincidentally, by creating a common language, again limiting conflict and maximizing production, we’ve never had better scores and higher levels of satisfaction by our employees, so those would be two specific ways where you could measure success and Market Force specifically has successfully done that at other companies and been able to measure those results in having positive impacts in those two ways.

OK, and I think I’m right in saying that your role as Director of Innovations, is it fair to say, do you use this approach in other parts of the business? Does this become part of the DNA of the business or is it just related to innovation related activities?

Across the board and that’s a great question. This doesn’t just apply to innovation.

But that was what was going through my mind here, Kyle, because often we talk on the podcast, I’m talking to the heads of R&D for instance, who are talking about big I innovation whereas this is actually small i innovation in terms of innovating how you actually do business, how you communicate with one another, how do you go about the day to day industrialization of your business, if you like?

You could say that but I would argue differently. A lot of people, and I had this discussion with an educator just very recently and what the discussion was about is what you just brought up, is how significant is this investment? And I would argue the most significant because although it doesn’t get the ‘sexy’ – it’s not the newest iPhone coming out, it’s not the newest Tesla that’s been invented so it doesn’t have the same marketability but what I would argue is communication is the foundation of how we do business and if we don’t have a common language and we’re not minimizing conflict in what would be a very controversial, aggressive, new space that we’re playing in with innovation, then how can you reinvent or produce the next greatest thing? It allows us to create a better process to be able to do fun stuff or create new products or services, so in my opinion, I would argue that it is actually more important and a foundation of how we do business at American Pacific.

Yeah, and I think we’re in violent agreement because I wasn’t suggesting this is less important than big I innovation, it was more the point – as you know I’m an anthropologist by training and so I’m all about culture. A company can come up with a new widget, a new software, a new product but that comes and goes. These things have shelf lives, right? It’s like yogurt, it goes off after a while-

Exactly.

-whereas if you get the innovation right and you get the culture of innovation right, and you get this embedded into how people do work then you have the incremental compounding effect of innovation on top of innovation on top of innovation-

Exactly.

– and that long term moves the needle so I think we’re in violent agreement but I just want to clarify that. So a couple of other things, Kyle, you mentioned Scrappy Labs, I absolutely love the name of it. I’m on the board of a company and we’re hiring people and the kinds of people we want even though we’re venture funded is, we want scrappy people who are resourceful-

Great.

and it’s a lovely word which, perhaps, we in Europe aren’t so familiar with, but tell us a little bit about how does Scrappy Labs work in APMC, in your company?

Yeah, that’s great. I think Scrappy is probably not as commonly used here in the United States as well although probably most people are aware of generally what it is but essentially how it came about was American Pacific Mortgage lives up to our core value. So you talk about a culture of innovation and we’re really focusing on that piece. Think big but act small, and this is how we’re acting. We’re acting small and creating that culture is one of our – well, there are three core values; respect, transparency and scrappy – and how we continue to create that culture of scrappiness is, now we’ve created this program with the intention of – we keep using this institutionalize word which is just essentially taking these concepts that we may develop somewhat outside of the traditional org chart or organization of the big corporation, and then reintroducing them into the larger entity, and the concept of Scrappy Labs is all those things that scrappy represents. A relentless approach, resourcefulness, a will to win, and when we bring those ways of thinking to new ideas and we have this intention of maturing these ideas to a point when they can be integrated, that’s for us what the job of Scrappy Labs is. It’s not just this outside thing creating new ideas; we’re very much focused on how, with a lot of large organizations integrating with or partnering with startups or these fledgling concepts, they can be rejected by the execution engine that is the larger organization. So you talked about Kill the Company but also this is greatly discussed in the book Built to Last, it’s what makes very big companies successful or what gets them there, doesn’t necessarily keep them there and so our job at Scrappy Labs is to keep us there but we mature those concepts to a point where the bigger organization will accept them and then they basically take them on. So a couple of the first investments we’ve made, we basically created new business models, not just products and services but new business models and brought them back into the organization to leverage new trends like homebuyers moving online, so that’s our intention with Scrappy Labs and why we call it Scrappy Labs.

So when it’s really integrated back into the core business, the mothership as it were, there is that risk of, I think the language they use is tissue rejection, where it-

Exactly.

It’s designed for being reintegrated from the outset essentially.

Exactly and our job is to just understand intimately how the larger corporation works and then taking these concepts and maturing them to a point where they won’t be rejected once we bring them into the corporation. 

Yeah, got it, got it. So Kyle, fascinating conversation as I knew it would be but just beginning to wrap up now. I sent you a few questions in advance. First one – what have you changed your mind about recently?

Wow, that’s a good question and I spent some time on this. For me, I love this concept I’ve been reading about, this concept of ‘mental athlete’. I played sports growing up, basketball and football in college, so I’m familiar with the term athlete and the mentality and the will it takes to be an athlete at a smaller level but as I’ve matured in my career, I’ve really begun to understand the mentality you need to have, not just in sports but also in business and so this mental athlete that’s described in the book that I’m reading called Deep Work, which is basically essentially training your mind to exceed your current capacity, maximizing your performance through intense focus, and I think that that is lost today with – everyone has an iPhone or mobile device attached them at all times, they’re being bombarded by emails and text messages and notifications and updates on Facebook etc., we’re constantly being distracted and especially in the innovation space if we’re moving into new areas or building things that have not been created before, you need an intense focus to be able to develop these as much as possible so this concept of deep work and intense focus is one, and the other, of course, that we’ve been discussing is the human dynamics of work environments and specifically pressure in work environments, how to best work with people and how to create a process to maximize production, so those two concepts I’ve really started to develop and I’m really passionate about pursuing as kind of a mastery skill if you will.

Yeah, it’s interesting you say that, Kyle, because it’s a great book, Deep Work, and I think there are two things that resonate for me. Firstly, a common theme of guests we’ve had on the show up to now, and I don’t think you’d be any different and I don’t think the people coming forward who we’ve lined up for the show will be that much different, is they want to expose themselves to multiple stimuli particularly if they’re trying to come up with new ideas, and if you can manage that in your calendar in a systematic way, that’s great, but the danger is it bleeds into your day to day activities and therefore-

Exactly.

-the ability to remain focused gets hugely compromised. The counter position, the optimistic side of this book is that if you are able to carve time out and focus in a very, very deep way and do the deep work that he writes about, and he gives some great tips as to how to do that, it becomes an enormous source of competitive advantage because as you say-

Exactly.

-most people are unable to do that or are willing to do that or don’t even know they need to do it.

Well, you bring up great points. I think the neurology suggests that if we’re constantly jumping from one thing to the next, our brain is incapable of remaining focused on the one thing and also, there’s a residue, so once we transition from one subject or topic or concept to the next, we’re still subconsciously thinking about the thing that we were just working on and so we don’t give our mind time to reset and be intentional about focusing on that next thing. We never position ourselves to really give our mind the freedom to develop that concept. So this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone’s position or job. I fully understand that there are influences, and to speak in Market Force language out there, that their job is to socialize and to understand everything that’s out there all the time and that’s their role and so they’re on social media very consistently and they’re managing multiple different platforms. If that’s your job maybe this doesn’t apply but in our particular case in developing these new concepts, we need an intense focus and so limiting those distractions is a benefit and like you said, a competitive advantage for us.

And the second question which might lead on from the first, do you have a personal work habit or a practice that you can share with our listeners that really has helped make you more effective?

Sure, sure. So we’re getting into the details here. I’d be happy to share my best practices, and again, I’m not an expert. I fully understand that I have limited experience in these but they’re certainly passions of mine and have yielded great results for me which is why I continue to make these investments. Partially, this is my style and I understand I’m great at this and I’m striving to be better in these but the first thing is, one – you’ve got to have a great system and in my particular case, a great support system. When you’re doing new things that can create conflicts within traditional businesses, the mortgage industry is a somewhat mature traditional type of business, the banking even more broadly, you have these new concepts and these new ways of thinking that can be rejected and so if you don’t have mentors, coaches, partners, and advisors helping you, that are more experienced, with you – and I follow the Henry Ford’s of the world – and are surrounded by much smarter people than you, having that great support system is number one. The second of three is an exhaustive planning process. I leverage a process for me that I constantly tweak, everything is pre-planned. I pre-plan my days in advance so I spend the night before blocking out my time in organizing the day in a way that the most important things go first and then I block out the amount of time that I intend to dedicate to that particular opportunity, and I do this on a daily, weekly, quarterly basis. Now there are some broader perspectives that I kind of ‘milestone out’ but my focus is on the daily work and I have a planning process. The last is these habits, these daily habits and just very quickly a few of them that come to mind is, ‘How am I getting better every day’, ‘How am I advancing the corporation?’. These are not necessarily self-serving. ‘How am I helping other people do their job better?’. This one I really like and I heard someone use this – we’re constantly bombarded with new ideas, I heard this and it really resonates with me, ‘It’s a no until it’s a hell yes’. Unless you’re very passionate about it, unless you see the opportunity you’re willing to really engage in and invest time in making it successful, for me I’m not very good at spreading myself thin and doing a lot of things so I focus on the things that will yield the greatest results. And in going back to deep work, this concept of extreme focus, I do these sprint recovery types where I’m blocking out my time and those daily habits manifest itself into the long term success metrics because I’m constantly reminding myself of the daily work that I have to perfect to get better. So those kinds of practices have yielded very good results for me personally and I look to continue to refine those over time.

Brilliant, brilliant. Yeah, it’s the compounding effect of these things that – most people overestimate what you can achieve in the short term and underestimate what you can achieve in the long term.

That’s right.

That’s why these are so powerful and then-

I love that quote.

Final question. We’ve talked a lot about success but let’s go to the other side of it. What’s your most significant failure and what have you learned from it and how do you apply that learning?

And I love how you position that. It is learning. Failure should be understood as part of the process and there’s a really famous investor, Ray Dalio, who I personally follow, owns a hedge fund, very, very successful and he has these kinds of mantras that he lives by in the organization that he runs, and he talks about this a lot. Failures are understood as part of the process and it’s not really considered failure if we’re learning from the experience, is it? If we’re learning from the experience then technically it’s not a failure but what they do also as investors is they limit their downside. So he talks about this concept of asymmetric risk and I try to keep this in mind when we’re evaluating or prioritizing our innovation investments, essentially what it says is with each investment, ‘How do we limit our downside but maximize our upside so that if it doesn’t work out it’s not a catastrophe but if it works out, it changes the world?’, if you will. So the part of the learning process is if that generally is accepted, it’s just, again, part of the process, it’s not known necessarily or considered failure for learning from it but more specifically, probably the greatest failure for me is not at American Pacific. Like I’ve discussed on the show I have a great support system, the chairman, the president, CEO, a lot of the executives are behind what we’re doing and the organization respects advancing. We all want to create a company that lasts, in a lot of cases, beyond us even, and that goes back to creating that great culture, but again for me, I look back over my career and I’ve kind of evolved into this intrapreneur type entrepreneur working in big businesses but that wasn’t always the case and so in particular instances, at the beginning probably due to my lack of awareness, I didn’t commit to aligning myself with people that were invested in my long term success, and younger generations are starting to reach out and I’m having conversations with people and I think that looking back that would be probably one of the most important things that I could employ younger generations to do is, number one – acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers, and I thought I did and I wanted to do it all myself but that’s probably not the best way or it may not be the fastest way to get what you want. So finding someone that is invested in your success could transform your career and it has at American Pacific Mortage for me. It didn’t previously. And the second piece, going back to that awareness is, I didn’t, prior to being trained in Market Force and having some of the skills that I’ve been able to acquire at American Pacific, I never was able to successfully negotiate enough time to be successful. I heard this again, one of the founders of Market Force has dubbed this or quoted this as, ‘You’ve got to learn how to play politics long enough to be successful or long enough to be to be given the opportunity to do the job’. It’s, given an infinite amount of time, almost anyone can complete anything, right? But there is a lot of push-pull in large organizations, a lot of people vying for a limited amount of resources not just in large organizations but small. There are a lot of dynamics and politics and things in place. You’ve got to be able to play the politics and be given the time to be successful and that’s why, in part, we’ve been able to do so many great things at American Pacific. I have great relationships here, I have the support that I need to be successful and that translates into creating an entity that successfully transforms the company for the future. So those are the things that I would employ younger generations to focus on and what has really helped me transform my career at American Pacific Mortgage.

Kyle, there are some great resources that you’ve put in there. I think the Bridgewater Associates, the Ray Dalio materials, it really is very, very compelling. It’s not for everyone, there are very few people who can put up with that kind of environment but what he’s doing in terms of creating a genuine learning culture in the corporate world is so unique but it’s also so powerful if you can align that in a certain direction which he’s managed to do. We’ll put that in the show notes. We’ll also put a reference to the Deep Work book which is a very profound book and more and more relevant today as more and more people get more and more addicted to their devices.

Right. Exactly.

And I think the third thing for me is the power of discipline and habit which you touched on earlier on. These are all really important messages or disciplines to build and I love the way you’re suggesting that the next generation take advantage of these because they do make the difference and again, it comes back to, it might be painful in the short term but the results yielded in the long term both personally and professionally, are huge. Wonderful. So we need to wrap this up but, Kyle, where can people get in touch with you?

And here I am talking about how I try to remain focused but I’m still present on several different platforms. I can be reached via e-mail and I’ll provide you with that information or LinkedIn, Twitter. I can be found online. 

Super, and your Twitter handle is what? If you could just spell it out?

Yes, @_thedisruptor.

All one word?

That’s correct.

Excellent, very good. Good handle. So, Kyle, it’s been a great pleasure having you on. As I say we’ve been in touch on a number of occasions, we were pleased to have you as a super listener and this is an important show for lots of people who are doing the kind of work that you’re doing in large organizations, disrupting, being intrapreneur, so I really appreciate your time, your openness and your clarity of communication which is good news because that’s at the heart of your innovation process.

That’s right.

So, really appreciate it and we’ll keep in touch but thanks very much for your time today.

Thank you so much. I have a lot of respect for you and the people that you have on your show. As much as we can do to advance these concepts in advanced new ways of thinking and how corporations can work with startups and do new things, the evolution of big businesses is something that I’m very passionate about. I believe a lot of people, a lot of your listeners are passionate about it as well so thank you for all that you do.

Not at all, and have a great day. Thanks, Kyle.

Take care.

Thanks, bye.

Thank you. 

Follow us & Join the Community