Half of 2020 is now in our rear-view mirrors.
Millions who had looked forward to traveling for a conference or other industry events had to shelve those plans quickly.
There were 67 million fewer international arrivals worldwide from January to March 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. (Enough people to fill the Rose Bowl in Pasadena at least 720 times!)
In Asia-Pacific, the UN World Tourism Organization reported, international arrivals dropped by 35 percent in the first three months of this year.
Imagine the millions of connections, creative sparks, and potential partnerships that got lost because it was impossible to fly.
For our friends in the hospitality and events and conferences industries, the times have been extremely challenging.
Yet there are opportunities for everyone in business to rethink what we offerーto move what we do, whether it’s organizing events or figuring out how to fix an electrical or I.T. issue, online.
With the support of our friends in CEO Coaching International and Tick Concepts, we recently held our first virtual conference. We used a new platform (www.allin.to) where participants from all over the world could sit at virtual tables and, just like in an in-person conference, do some networking. Without the jet lag or any long queues!
Here are 5 highlights from what turned out to be a very insightful 75 minutes:
Our first speaker’s favorite word for his goals in business and life? Outrageous.
“If we think big and act big despite what’s going on in our environment, we will be big.”
That’s what Mark Moses, founding partner of CEO Coaching International, recalls telling his team during one annual report, right before he challenged them to bring the company to USD$1 billion in revenueーa “crazy goal” that they reached less than 8 years later.
Even the way he revealed that outrageous goal was outrageous in itself. He had a wall torn down in the office building so he could, on the way to delivering the annual message, ride an 8,000-pound elephant to work.
In his talk, Mark mentioned several case studies that prove what management and organizational behavior studies have been telling us: setting specific, difficult goals leads to more remarkable performance and results.
When Mark speaks about setting and achieving outrageous goals, he does more than going beyond setting realistic targets in business or setting simple business goals.
He wants to enable growth not only in his ventures but in hundreds of other businesses.
At CEO Coaching, they work with 278 clients in 35 countries (including GO-VA CEO Fiona Kesby), making an impact in 45 different industries.
At the time we held Go All In for Growth last June 12, they had provided around 450 free crisis coaching calls for CEOs around the world as their way “of giving back during this coronavirus crisis.”
One of the most meaningful impacts of networking is being able to reach out and support other business leaders who are going through similar challenges.
This is something Fiona emphasized at the start of the virtual conference.
Hosting Go All In for Growth has also prepared the www.go-va.com.au tribe for a big change in how we do events like our monthly gratitude celebration and the monthly Lunch with the CEO, where Fiona presents a recap of the changes, challenges, and wins of the previous 4 weeks.
On the first Friday of July, GO-VA held our first virtual Lunch with the CEO, with about 80 percent of the tribe now ready to start their fourth month of working from home and only 20 percent still on-site.
In GO-VA’s first 6 years, Fiona and our founder Matt Kesby have field-tested both strategies and tactics for getting onshore teams and outsourced, offshore teams to work together “in a way that has everyone feeling one and winning.”
What we will learn in the coming weeks and months about sustaining and strengthening our cultureーusing the most effective online platforms and tools we can find or buildーwe are excited to share with our clients as well.
One of the tools we’ve rolled out to the www.go-va.com.au tribe since the beginning of the year was a questionnaire that would help each one find their Bird Profile. Our Internal Team enjoyed finding out whether we were eagles, peacocks, doves or owls, or some combination of these personality traits.
“It’s the little things that make the difference between winning and losing,” our speaker Andrew Cole learned as a sales rep from his first boss some 30 years ago. “It’s those little things between you and your customers that matter.”
What works well with one customer won’t necessarily work in the same way with another, so it pays to make a sincere effort to understand who you’re talking and listening to.
The simplicity and visual appeal of the Bird Profiles work well in helping teams understand and better apply their strengths to a range of activities, from customer service and sales to career choices and leadership.
As an example, Andrew cites how an individual (a peacock-eagle) performed better in customer service by putting up some helpful prompts or reminders where he could see them while taking calls.
A peacock-eagle “is strong, takes control, doesn’t mind a chat but isn’t necessarily strong at listening,” Andrew points out. The prompts strategically displayed at his cubicle state: “Have I listened? Have I solved the customer’s problem? Have I gone at their pace?”
He presents several other use cases for these Bird Profiles in his talk.
Finally, GO-VA Founder Matt Kesby rounded out the presentations by showing how distributed teams now make more sense than everーare, in fact, a must for business leaders who want to position themselves for growth after (or even in the midst of) this pandemic.
“Have you ever needed to deliver more, faster, and on a leaner budget?” Matt asks. “Have you ever felt like things were being held up because you did not have enough of the right team on the job?”
In his presentation, he focuses on Simplerent, a payments automation service in the Australian property market that delivers a frictionless payment experience, allows each property manager to save 5 to 6 hours each week, and has experienced “3 times greater growth, at a third of the cost” its competitors have had to bear.
The strategies, frameworks, and tactics that are applied in GO-VA are all applied as well in this business.
After about 12 years in outsourcing, Matt has found that for exceptional results to be achieved, business leaders need to get these 3 right:
One of the most powerful frameworks in the COVID-19 pandemic is this. “Stop thinking about outsourcing and start building a global team.”
The most strategic options that will allow a business to thrive, moving forward, are automation and outsourcing.
“The opportunity for scaling up and growing is broader than it’s ever been, especially after we come out of a really tough time, or, or during a tough time like what we’re about to see,” Matt points out. In June, the International Monetary Fund revised its global economic forecast to a decline of 4.9%, which was gloomier than the 3% decline it had forecast last April.
The key for businesses is to make sure their onshore teams become more strategic in their roles and add more valueーand the way to do that, apart from automation, is to give them the support they need from a global team.
Done well, that’s the best way to free up their onshore team’s creativity, keep them from being overwhelmed, and allow them to deliver bigger results than they’ve ever delivered before.