Bev White

My name is Bev White and I am the CEO of Harvey Nash Group, a $1bn global technology recruitment, IT solutions and leadership services group with 36 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia

Guest Blog: Robin Beattie, MD Spinks – What will make the boat go faster?

It’s great to have been asked to guest blog this month, as it comes at a time when we have just had our Half Year Kick Off. This gave me the chance to reflect on the year to date and plan the rest of the year ahead…

2021 H1

Whilst many sectors still struggled in early 2021, I think it’s fair to say that the tech industry has experienced a boom in a way I can honestly never remember. The new world of remote work was continuing and unabated - it turned already popular office products such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack into essential services for an increasing number of large and small businesses.

We also witnessed the hypergrowth of tech businesses due to the increase in consumer demand. Cazoo, Babylon Health and Deliveroo - all respectable UK tech businesses pre-pandemic, accelerated their growth as a direct result of lockdown. Every business is now tech-focussed (the alternative would be a failure to keep-up with the shift in the working world) and, many are rushing to move their products and offering online to meet the shift in consumer behavioural patterns. Knowing that if they don’t undergo a digital transformation, their brand and worth to consumers pre-pandemic means very little in a ‘post-pandemic’ world.

Whilst many of our clients’ hypergrowth came in the guise of revenue or additional customer bases, much of this growth also came in the form of bringing onboard new talent (especially in their tech teams). And, that’s where we all come in … from Seattle to Sydney, we have seen an increase in business across the Group through 2021 and it’s so encouraging to see.

The important questions are though, how do you maintain that speed and urgency? How do you maintain that clarity of thought? In this rapidly changing world how do you know what to focus on and what opportunities to turn down? Now, more than ever it is so easy to chase the wrong strategy.

And on that note, myself and the wider Spinks’ team have recently adopted a principle that we hope will always keep us focused on our goal. That principle is … “Will it make the boat go faster?”

I was fortunate enough to recently speak with the creator of this principle: Olympic Gold Medallist, Ben Hunter-Davis.

In 1998 Ben was part of an underachieving GB rowing eight, who after years of finishing 7th or 8th set themselves the crazy goal of winning gold at the Sydney Olympics.

Simply training harder wasn’t an option, they needed a whole new approach. They decided to ask one simple question about everything they did “will it make the boat go faster?”.

They relentlessly focused on improving their performance, trusting that the results would follow. They held each other to account and asked the difficult questions.

Against all the odds and challenges, they achieved their crazy goal and won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Now, whilst this works fantastically for organisations to set themselves a ‘crazy goal’ that unites everyone in the leadership team and wider business, there is no reason you can’t set yourself a crazy goal … If your crazy goal is to run the London Marathon in less than four hours then you will need to think about your training, your diet, your kit and, all with the thought of “will it make the boat go faster?”. Equally, if your crazy goal is to be the number one performer globally for Harvey Nash Group, think what you will need and perhaps even more importantly what you will need to let go of, to ensure you make your crazy goal happen.

Spinks and I are now focussing our efforts on actions and strategy which will ensure we hit our crazy goal.

Perhaps have a think this weekend about what crazy goal you would like to achieve …

If you’re interested in reading more about “Will it make the boat go faster…” click here https://willitmaketheboatgofaster.com

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