October 20, 2022

Aaron Bare in CIO Today Magazine

CIO Today Cover Story

Aaron Bare, Author of Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestseller Exponential Theory and Digital Transformation Leader

“No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking,” –Voltaire.

This quote is a powerful statement that holds good in every aspect of life, especially in the world of business. Without an exponential leader, companies increase their chances of failure as the world accelerates and disrupts companies that are not thinking big. An exponential leader’s vision moves the strategy, business model, technology, people, and the processes inside a business forward.

Aaron Bare, the leader of Digital Transformation projects at global consultancy firm, Kin+Carta, knows much about leadership. If we delve deep into his accomplishments, we can write an entire book on them! Bare is an experienced leader who can successfully balance multiple enterprises simultaneously. Apart from playing an instrumental role at Kin + Carta, he was also the founder of BuzzMouth, a firm that can take credit for developing over 100 websites, software projects, and apps for some of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world, including apps that reached #1 in the App store.

BuzzMouth was so successful that in 2014, Bare exited to the largest Adversiting Agency in Arizona. Following the sale, Bare’s drive and determination, he become a digital transformation and innovation facilitator. He built his skills facilitating Board Rooms, CEOs, CIOs, and other leaders at Fortune 500 companies such as Daimler, the parent company of legendary automaker Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, Belfius Bank the national bank of Belgium, and M&C Saatchi of Australia.

Exponential Theory: The Power of Thinking Big

In addition to a stellar list of clients and a global presence, Aaron Bare authored a globally bestselling book, Exponential Theory: The Power of Thinking Big. We have all come across the phrase “Think you can do it and you are halfway there,” and this quote forms the premise of Bare’s book. Exponential Theory elaborates on how leaders can unlock their true potential by altering how they approach their obstacles. The book has received raving reviews and the fact that it was the number one bestselling business book on Amazon speaks volumes about its efficacy and the lessons that it puts forth.

Bare penned the book in a way such that any reader, irrespective of what field they work in or demography that they belong to can implement these simple yet powerful methods to achieve success in their personal and professional lives.

The book reached the bestselling charts of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and was the 2nd highest selling book on BarnesandNoble.com. Bare aptly summarizes nearly 15 years’ worth of research in this book. It is a collection of exponential stories that challenge the readers’ way of thinking by helping them gain a valuable insight into the minds of some of the richest and most successful businessmen to walk the earth.
While writing the book, Bare studied industry disruptors such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and many more great minds who have all achieved the pinnacle of success and their creations have transformed the world as we know it. With stories and valuable insights from their lives, it is a must-read for every leader and CEO as it examines the history of innovation and entrepreneurship. However, with Bare’s style of writing, the book is not your typical business guide. It has pages that leave us entertained and ensuresthe reader has a good time reading it while also learning important lessons!

Leading into the Future

As change has accelerated and will continue to speed up in the future, leaders will have to change how they lead as well. Bare compiled several different mental models inside Exponential Theory, and uses them with the CIO, CTO, and CEO’s he advises today.

The first future mental model adapts an old military term, VUCA, that described confounding battlefield conditions. VUCA stood for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. It’s an apt way to describe the exponential horizon companies exist in today, Bare says. So, using a remix on the model popularized by Bob Johansen, Bare has created new meaning for VUCA and helps executives establish Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility into the fabric of leadership. When leaders can articulate the new VUCA, they empower their organization, people, and themselves to execute more effectively.

VUCA spurs innovation by helping people solve their own problems when they know what they are working towards. Innovation after all, Bare points out, is the process of solving problems and/or incrementally improving what already exists. When there’s a problem, humans innovate. When there is an opportunity to improve something, we innovate. Innovation accelerates life. To Bare, innovation demands new leadership.
Part of this new leadership framework that Bare has built is considering technological impacts on other parts of the ecosystem. This leads to introducing a new rule in leadership, The Rhodium Rule.

Dating back to before biblical times, the Golden Rule was a moral rule to “Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.” Fast forward to today, Bare says, and the current culture would demand the Platinum Rule which states, “Treat people the way they want to be treated.”

However, Bare goes further with this new idea he introduced in Exponential Theory: the Rhodium Rule, “Think about the entire ecosystem.”

Rhodium is the most expensive metal in the world and a member of the platinum group of metals, so Rhodium reinforces the Platinum Rule, yet introduces a value that aligns all the powers of exponential theory in a simple way. Leaders of the future must consider all stakeholders in their ecosystem when making a decision, Bare says. Focusing on the whole, and not just the parts, can help us thrive in the future.
This is another cornerstone of Bare’s advisory work with CTOs and CIOs. Bare encourages them to make their businesses focus on thrivability, a word he coined in Exponential Theory, which stands for building systems and processes that help all stakeholders not only survive, maintain, or sustain, but thrive.

Currently our world is a giant system out of harmony, and we can do better. Ignoring the problems of others outside of our circle is no longer possible, Bare says. Growing our circle of concern will start to help us solve bigger problems. The new triple bottom line has emerged, and businesses must now win for people, planet, and profit.

Now, to solve bigger problems, Aaron Bare has teamed up with Kin + Carta, a global digital consultancy firm that is the only publicly traded B-Corp on the London Stock Exchange. B-Corps are companies that have been recognized for their commitment to social and environmental impact through transparency.

At Kin + Carta, Bare leads Digital Transformation, helping their clients strategize and innovate from data available. Leveraging other emerging technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and the Cloud, Kin + Carta can implement these transformations to help their clients make decisions faster, more efficiently, with a bigger impact, whilst ensuring that the business remains sustainable.

Working Creatively, Innovatively & Responsively

To date, Bare has worked with hundreds of companies and assists them in the implementation of exponential technologies by taking advantage of the Cloud, Data, AI, and Machine Learning to enhance the quality of their products and services. His unique perspective has made him the go-to personal advisor for some of the top CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs, as he challenges them to make bolder decisions and to think bigger.
Bare influences leaders to think about their role in the success of their enterprises. He encourages them to make decisions based on the available data and acknowledges that not all of them will turn out to be right, yet if leaders are not willing to make mistakes, they will not learn fast enough. Not making a decision is a decision and will prove to be devastating as the world speeds up. With the help of emerging technologies, he can cater to the needs of his clients better and help them solve bigger issues. The implementation of AI and Machine Learning is something he actively encourages as it helps understand data better and improves the decision-making process. The complexity of variables has gone exponential, its now important to make decisions with the data available, not have the data paralyze you from making decisions.
The future of work will require leaders to use these technologies to improve employee efficiency. Remote working has demonstrated that humans can be productive out of the office. To capitalize on that, Bare says, we must use technology, and not let it use us, to create a healthier work life balance. He is currently working on a project with a venture studio to automate, delegate, and prioritize remote work. The results of this, Bare says, will create a two fold impact.

First, employees will get more done. Prioritizing deep work, and highest value activities, employees will make greater gains towards their metrics in shorter time. Secondly, employees will likely have to work fewer hours in the future, Bare says, which leads to spending more time with friends and family. AI and Machine Learning can optimize an entire organization’s trajectory by powering the most effective work flows for the individual. The more individuals can do, the greater their teams and the organization overall can achieve.

Aaron Bare’s Secret to Excellence

Have fun at what you do, Bare says. It’s that simple. He is a staunch believer that the terms success and fun are synonymous with one another. If we are having fun and are being the most authentic version of ourselves, it is much easier to overcome any hurdle that comes along. When we have fun, our attitude changes, and we no longer view obstacles as problems, we look at them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Bare surrounds himself with like-minded people, all top leaders with high ambitions. He chooses his clients (not the other way around) as not every business may have a leader who is ambitious enough. The clientele he works with all have the same thing in common: They think big and are conscious about the impact that they make. Bare doesn’t compromise on this whatsoever.

One of his clients recently approached him for help with a billion dollar decision. Aaron’s advice was bafflingly simple. He just told him to analyze what this obstacle is trying to teach him and when the client looked at the same situation but from a different angle, he was able to solve it with ease. Bare’s primary goal is to make his clients’ lives easier, and their obstacles easier to digest.

His Dose of Inspiration

Aaron’s sources of inspiration showcase his love for family. His children Bali and Maverick constantly drive him to do his best and give him a purpose to work for. They are the future and Aaron wants to leave this world a much better place. In the professional sphere, he continues to push the limits and boundaries of his abilities. He is always pushing his clients and colleagues to think bigger. Learning happens when we step out of their comfort zone.

Message for Future Visionaries

Aaron Bare’s advice to our readers is simple: Learn as much as you possibly can and become 1% better every day. This simple yet powerful philosophy has helped him create 37x improvements year-over-year. His book is a must-read as it helps individuals grow their mindsets, beliefs, and attitudes. Today, there are a lot of challenges that the world faces, however, with an exponential mindset there is no challenge too big or too hard to overcome. The present is the best time to start and we all can do 1% better for the sake of our future and the sake of the success of our businesses!

Connect with Aaron Bare at https://www.aaronbare.com.
Instagram: @aaronbare
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/aaronbare

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