Modern Day CEO

I remember reading an article titled “A Chief Executive Whose Office Is Wherever She Happens to Be” and it was touted almost as something to be impressed by. But in reality, whether you are a CEO or many other position in modern day business are we not all ‘somewhat’ remote workers now?

A smartphone, a laptop and other devices allow Deborah Schwarz of the LAC Group to get her work done while she’s on the move.

NYTimes Article

Whether we like it or not in this digital world we live in – many of us are remote workers or at least in part. Between iPhones with email, Whatsapp group texting and Slack we can be “on” 24/7 almost.

Whilst this may not be great for our mental or physical health and should be self-regulated to an extent. It did cause me to sit back and think for a few minutes on what exactly does a modern day CEO ‘office’ look like.

Perhaps gone are the days of the corner office in the build shiny glass buildings – but certainly I would suggest any CEO who has an actual office will have a dedicated setup perhaps – a set space where they can spend most of their work time.

In my case for example I’ve always liked to have an identical setup in my home office as to my ‘real’ office. Whether that is a full desktop (iMac) setup at each location or a docking situation to setup a laptop in – either works.

Being paperless helps – greatly – as a tech company ourselves we do our best to be as much ‘in the cloud’ and paperless as we can get away with. Relying on cloud technology shouldn’t be thought of as the only solution out there but certainly works for us and as a CEO who travels a lot – having devices that sync effortlessly to the cloud is crucial for ongoing productivity.

Having those systems and processes in place – and I refer to not only cloud systems but those processes that having great people in the business creates. Knowing who does what, how and where with ease and transparency means that every person in the business from the engineer to the CEO can operate at their best capacity at all times.

At Velez – our aim is to provide incredible customer service through our service delivery excellence methodologies and something that we continue to invest in consistently. Focusing on our customers as much as we focus on ourselves internally.

As with any organisation that have multiple offices globally, I don’t believe a video call once a week/month will suffice. You cannot expect employees in another office to feel as integrated with the company culture as those who are in the same office as you daily. So whilst we do regular video calls, I also spend a lot of time on flights visiting teams in various locations but also visiting our clients and having regular face to face meetings around the world.

The modern day CEO spends a lot of time not only in meetings, but writing, communication after all is key and with offices around the globe both the vision and mission of the company needs to be kept on a larger scale. We almost celebrate ‘remote working’ now a days as if it never happened before – but many of the worlds organisations have been remote working for years we just never classed it as such.

Global IT & Breakfix Services

“Its all too common place in our industry to believe that doing global support is easy, that as long as you have a laptop, phone and a phone number you can deliver fast, efficient and reliable service. The truth is it takes decades of knowledge surrounding systems, vendors, country specific regulations and how to best serve the customer in those locations.”

Read more about our global break fix service offerings https://www.velezmanagedservices.com/having-the-global-fortitude-to-service-break-fix-24-7-365/

Velez (Kosovo) Managing Director – Albion Sutaj

Back when we explored options around launching our company into South Eastern Europe – it became glaringly obvious we should do so in Kosovo.

Why so? Outsourcing in Kosovo is prime right now, its a location that I had great experience and admiration for particularly after having seen first hand the level of skills that was on offer.

One thing that we were very keen to establish was a real local presence, not to have some British company ‘lord over’ how the business ran out in Kosovo. So we put in place Albion Sutaj as Managing Director of our Kosovo operations.

I had met Albion when he was working on some AT&T/Tech Mahindra projects back in 2018 at Kosbit and it was clear to me that he was a highly skilled, valued and capable individual that needed his next adventure in his career.

I’m a firm believer in where possible keeping operations local, with local people and local culture. One of the primary examples of how we have been expanding in South East Europe and in particular Kosovo was this key hire. Albion works with a fantastic team over in Kosovo for our IT outsourcing and BPO offerings.

With a highly skilled workforce, led by a peer and local businessman such as Albion – we are highly confident our new operational centre in Kosovo will continue to grow and be a great success.

Really proud of Velez

I never shy away from saying how I feel and to that extent I really wanted to say just how proud I am of what the team at Velez – our IT managed services company has achieved this year so far.

Global Managed IT Services & BPO

Back in January the company was going through a lot of interesting projects. We typically work on a project basis for IT outsourcing, international break fix, on site engineering or data centre smart hands around the world.

I’m really pleased that in recent weeks we have been able to not only appoint a new VP of Sales, create a role for our new VP of Operations but also bring in and promote one of our overseas team into a Managing Director for the Southeastern European branch of our organisation.

Its been an incredible year so far and set to get even better with our recent announcement that we have become not only members but sponsors of the Service Industry Association (SIA) – the leading association for businesses in the IT services sector. I’m also proud to say I’ve joined the board of the SIA which is a great honour.

I’m always impressed by what the team has achieved and continues to do as we head down a very exciting path in 2019 and beyond.

We are of course hiring, from iOS Developers to Service Delivery Managers get in touch and I hope we can continue to find incredible talent all over the world.

Super George needs your help

Recently Nick Tooley and I sat down for one of our regular catch ups and having done a fair bit of charitable works via Nick in the past he brought to my attention the story of Super George and the immense success to date that has been achieved in raising over £15,000 for Nottingham QMC hospital. 

Admit we are beginning to accept defeat… 

I read the above which is in relation to The Star Ball that is being organised for June 8th at Derbyshire County Cricket Club all in aid of Super George’s Army Fundraising Appeal.

I’m reaching out to anyone in my network who are willing to help donate money or even more importantly services. 

A photographer who can print on site, a photo booth (that would be a bonus!), someone to provide fizz for the drinks reception, plus a florist to provide up to 35 centre pieces that we can sell on the night. Finally we need AMAZING Auction and Raffle prizes. 

I really hope that not only do they achieve on the night (or before hand) the goal of £25,000 raise (£15k so far!) but the families who go through any difficult times particularly as George and his family have will receive the incredible care, support and assistance they need to deal with such difficult times.

PLEASE – if you want to read the full story and I suggest you do – see this post on Facebook – whether you have children or not this will move you. 

Admit we are beginning to accept defeat – we need help organising The Star Ball – anyone with a bit of time to help?…

Posted by Super George’s Army – Fundraising Appeal on Monday, 1 April 2019

https://www.justgiving.com/teams/supergeorgearmy

Entrepreneurship across the world

I gave a talk recently on “what entrepreneurship is really like” – its a tag line we hear all the time actually now.

Those who have “been there and done it” or those who want to “humblebrag” about there so called failures in business. But the reality of it all comes down to the fact that as everybody knows failure is almost a pre-requisite for success in some way. Everyone hits road bumps along the way.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some great successes and along the way some bumps in the road too. But no, my talk was more to do with the cultural differences in entrepreneurship and how these impact the way we think/see/do things in the real world.

I recall at one stage being labelled one of the “top 10 entrepreneurs” in a publication and only two years later the same publication out of fear of not satisfying everyone expanded that list from 10 to 250 “top entrepreneurs”.

In Britain at least our definition of ‘entrepreneur’ changes often, from the brash and brave person who sets out to change their life, their industry or the world! To being more ‘fair to everyone’ to the point where every ‘business owner’ is labelled an entrepreneur which simply isn’t true.

That said – travel a few hours abroad, to countries where even to start a business is filled with more fear, doubt, regulation and red tape than we could possibly imagine in our current ‘Brexit fearing state’ and its easy to see why many people are starting out for themselves, to give their families an opportunity to escape the status quo.

Seeing some of the incredible opportunities people are discovering for themselves, branching out and leaving behind what little comforts they currently have to go on a path of discovery and “REAL” entrepreneurship is inspiring.

So take a risk, be entrepreneurial, if its in your heart and soul – go forward. Culturally it maybe difficult, it maybe frowned upon, failure today is not failure for life.

Good luck.

Finding another way home

I love this brief piece on AVC.com by Fred Wilson and it got me thinking.

I’m fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling, both professional and for personal enjoyment and this takes me all over the world on a regular basis.

Whether or not I’m visiting for work or pleasure – there is always a sense of urgency to get back home. How many times had I travelled somewhere only to immedidately start counting down the clock to head back home.

Probably half a dozen or so flights in this year already and the urgency to make sure that no matter what – if the train or flight is delayed, I’ll always find another way home no matter the cost.

Travelling is great and I get a lot done during these trips especially writing and catching up on email but without a doubt theres no place like home.

Swapping flights and changing different train routes to get home quicker is far better for me than spending an extra 2-4 hours in a station/airport lounge ‘doing work’.

Employee engagement

“I love working with the team here, even management but the leadership team is really bad”

A message I got recently from a friend and got me thinking about how Maslows hierarchy of needs also applies to employee engagement and cmo.com had a great example of just this.

In poor performing companies, those who lack vision & ambition we see employees stuck in the ‘survival’ stages and who are desperately keen to get out, move on and find a new role at almost any cost. 

Next the ‘security’ stage where employees are spending the entire working hours searching for jobs on linkedin and sneaking outside for calls with recruiters. We all know people who are doing this right now. Its not healthy for the employee nor the employer. And the truth is most at this stage could be saved/resolved!

Feeling as if you ‘belong’ doesn’t happen because a sign on the wall says that every one is family, it doesn’t occur because you have social events together. If you are not growing personally and professionally in a role the feels right for you. You will leave at the first sign of interest elsewhere. This is where a large number of small business employees tend to find themselves I believe. 

But if you are ‘engaged’ and feel important at work, happy in your role. Then success, incredible – you love coming to work and the people you work with. What else could you want! This is the place we all want to be, we want the work/life balance, the great co-workers and to come in to the office feeling inspired, challenged, most importantly feeling like we are looked after and appreciated in the work place.

Can we be so fortunate in our life time as to get to the point in our jobs where we feel highly engaged – the mythical beings do exist in fact. I’ve been lucky over the years to hire and work with some incredible people, have seen those at all stages of employee engagement.

But without a doubt those who are highly engaged, motivated, dedicated and working towards the companies goals with passion and who feel appreciated by the company can be truly happy in work and that reflects back on home life too.

So whether you are LinkedIn job hunting today or whether you are motivated and excited for another day at the office – you know what needs to be done either way.

Go out there and get it done. Whatever it takes.

Culture doesn’t save a company

Original link: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6504248146451800064

Inspired by some truly great conversations around HR and general people management over the last few days, I came across this piece of research by #Linkedin from 2015.

Who or what really lies at fault for businesses that are unable to provide employees with a satisfying role that can provide opportunities for advancement whilst being in a productive environment that fosters great #culture throughout the organisation is unknown and varies so much.

But to have a place where compensation and benefits are attractive, people recognised and rewarded with work that is challenging, stimulating and encourages growth throughout, all whilst having strong #leadership and #management to aid in the mission of the company is something so many clearly desire.

I won’t blame poor leadership or jump on the millennial blame game. But over the last few weeks these conversations with friends, colleagues, HR and #legal professionals have really been inspiring as to how many are doing things so poorly, but most importantly – those who are doing things the right way!

Hats off to the organisations who genuinely have happy, productive and empowered members of staff.

Don’t hide behind the word ‘culture’, Friday pizzas & Fifa games. Go be awesome!

#peoplemanagement #compensation#sales