58. John Cox: Facilitating Value Through Skilled Orchestration

E4E Podcast Cover for Episode #58

There’s a skill that can turn any individual entrepreneur or small business into a global powerhouse exhibiting the highest quality service levels to the most demanding customer base. That skill is orchestration. Listen to a master orchestrator, John Cox, share important lessons from his entrepreneurial journey on this week’s E4E Podcast.

Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights

Entrepreneurs make orchestration a value-producing service.

Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to own the capital and resources required to deliver value. What they do is organize capital in a new way to facilitate a new value experience for customers. They orchestrate capital, resources, people, skills and technologies. Their orchestration creates a unique combination of resources, uniquely applied for a highly valued customer experience.

First, the entrepreneur imagines the customer’s future experience and how they will value it.

Entrepreneurs create their own opportunities by imagining a future experience that customers will find valuable. John Cox, a tax accountant and lawyer, discovered in his client interactions that his customers had to deal with many different service providers when managing their own finances — investment advisors for stocks and bonds, investment funds for non-public investments, tax preparers, tax lawyers, contract lawyers, accountants, estate planners, and many more.

There were inefficiencies and frictions in these arrangements — time and money for the client to talk to the lawyer and accountant separately, and then for the lawyer to talk to the accountant before agreeing on a unified solution for the client. John imagined a future where there was a single point of contact with a better client experience at a faster speed and a lower cost.

Second, the entrepreneur orchestrates top providers in each field to efficiently channel their services through them as a single client contact point.

A single point of contact dedicated to the client’s needs can provide a singularly valuable benefit — quality, speed, efficiency, low cost and high trust all in one place. John’s deal with the provider orchestra was to bring customers, providing the players with a place to demonstrate their unique skills and contribution to the integrated offering, as well as a revenue stream at lower cost (no sales costs and lower overhead).

Relationship capital results in the customer getting an integrated, high-quality plan and good outcomes with an interface of both trust and convenience.

John brought relationship capital to the client solution in two ways. His clients knew him as a tax accountant and lawyer of high capability and trustworthiness, so that when he added new outside services to his offering, there were grounds for extending their trust. Second, he brought relationships with the outside service providers that the client did not have to develop and maintain themselves.

Better outcomes, lower cost and established trust — a valuable client experience.

Technology brings higher levels of integration to the orchestra.

In the earliest days of his orchestration of services, John was a leading edge user of technology. At the beginning, it was the new Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) mini-computers and peripherals, of which John’s firm was one of the earliest users. Later, he networked many lawyers together on an Apple network — again, as one of the earliest such users. Today it’s the internet that provides the technical backbone for orchestration. Orchestrators are adept at employing the latest technology for managing distributed resources.

Customer value is enhanced even further when the orchestrator has skin in the game.

When John expanded his orchestrated offering to include private investments in apartment buildings he purchased, his client relationships were strengthened further by the “skin in the game” effect. Clients believe that when a provider’s own capital is at risk as well as theirs, there is an even greater focus on shared value.

Skin in the game is not mandatory for orchestrators, but it can be relationship-reinforcing in appropriate cases.

Entrepreneurs who excel at orchestration are systems thinkers.

Orchestrators assemble a system of services to deliver a unified client experience. Systems thinking requires understanding of what the client wants from the system (safe asset value growth, for example), how they want to interact with the system (one point of contact, unified reports, etc.) as well as which external services to include in the orchestration and how to be the conductor who gets them all working together in harmony.

In addition to assembling the orchestra, the orchestrator must be skilled in higher-level ecosystem thinking about the larger systems into which the orchestra must fit: prevailing financial systems, compliance systems, regulatory and reporting systems and so on.

Learn more about John’s Californians for Honest and Non-Partisan Government Effectiveness: Change-CA.org

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Understanding The Mind of The Customer: Our Free E-Book

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