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CEO Experience with Patrick Spence

HERE ARE THE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE DISCUSSION WITH PATRICK SPENCE: (not necessarily statements that he made directly):

Patrick Spence Takeaways.jpg

·         Rich culture and highly effective culture ops drives best-in-class product and customer loyalty.  Patrick finds this is the best corporate lever for Sonos and an area he spends the most time on.  He believes you have to focus on employee experience to get customer experience right. 


·         Over communicate your values.  This was a tidbit Satya Nadella offered Patrick a few years ago. As a leader, your job is to communicate, communicate, over communicate (reinforce, whatever you want to call it) the values that you see as essential for the organization to succeed.


·         Pivoting is about opportunity not risk.  When Patrick advocated for Blackberry’s push into messaging software (market WhatsApp ultimately claimed) or Sonos’s prioritization of partnerships, it wasn’t about taking risks -- it was about what path will generate the most profits for the company.  Yes, bold pivots have execution risk given lack of maturity in the market; but, the mindset for pivot is opportunism and pragmatism not risk taking.


·         Value of international experience.  Early in his career, Patrick drove Blackberry’s international expansion, starting in China and leading them into 167 countries ultimately.  Conventional wisdom speaks to the cultural empathy dividends of global experience. That’s true of course, but, an undervalued aspect to global experience is learning how to accomplish objectives in an uncertain, foreign environment. 

Earlier Event: March 15
CEO Experience with David Kilimnik
Later Event: September 27
CEO Experience with Emily White