214: Andi Simon on Making Change a Doable Opportunity
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Andi Simon is a Corporate Anthropologist who helps executives see their companies with more observant eyes, achieve “aha!” moments, and discover new and profitable opportunities. By applying the concepts, methods, and tools of anthropology to business environments, she turns observation into innovation and revitalizes businesses seeking growth. Andi is PhD in Anthropology and tenured Professor in American Studies and Anthropology. She is the Founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultant, the author of On The Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Business to New Heights. She has 20 years as senior executive in healthcare and financial institutions
Playing Small Moment
Andi was hired to eventually take over a company, on the terms that she would fix it first. Andi successfully merged the company into its parent and had really focused on taking the company from bad to great. Once the company had been severely improved, the original agreement drastically changed and Andi was shocked. Andi learned a big lesson about each of us being the hero in our own stories, and how there isn’t always room for two heroes in the same story.
The Wake Up Call
Andi was in the healthcare organization during 9/11, and though they didn’t receive many patients from the attack at that facility, her and her coworkers were still really emotionally involved. It became the push that Andi needed to reassess where she was and where she wanted to be in life. After a talk with her husband, and with his PR guy, Andi had a clearer idea on her goals and what she wanted to be doing. Humans are easily happy in routine and similarities, so sometimes it takes a crisis to make you reevaluate everything around you.
Style of Leadership
Andi’s leadership style is very much entrepreneur, but with a visionary side. She also competitive, while inspiring and enabling others. Andi refers to herself as a balanced leader with a strong focus on where they headed in a visionary fashion.
What Are You Excited About?
Andi and her husband have started using inbound marketing to focus on discovering what people are looking for. Often, it’s not about the product you are selling, but the answers you have to the questions people are asking.
Current Business Challenge
With the struggle of today’s society of there never being enough time for things, Andi believes in taking a walk away from the desk. Every 90 days, her team takes vacations. It helps clear their minds so they can come up with fresh new ideas.
Andi tries to really listen and think outside in. If you ask people what they are having issues with, they usually don’t come forth with their problems. Henry For said, “If I asked people how to improve their transportation, they would have told me to make their horses go faster.” Observational research lets you see what they don’t think you can see.
Advice For Younger Self
“Keep going, this is an adventure.” Andi said as corporate anthropologists, they tinker and fuss, fail and pivot. Andi’s younger/older self would say to just keep trying stuff.
“We take observation into innovation.”
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