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

Lean out over your skis

In the northern hemisphere we are over half way through the summer and as summers go this has been a poor one weather wise. It’s hardly surprising then that I have been starting to think about autumn, which is just around the corner, and all the changes the seasons brings.

I have never really been a skier, I did try it a few years ago but really my passion is sailing, so frozen snow and ice are ok for a winter walk but that’s as good as it gets for me.

So, where am I going with this you may rightly be wondering? I was reflecting back on what a fantastic first half to the year our businesses have had. When we set our budgets last autumn we had to speculate about the impact of the pandemic for the year ahead, and when and how the demand for our services might return. We had lots of data to help us, such as the pipeline we had, the run rate of the businesses each month and a sense of how easily businesses could grow without becoming overloaded. At the end of the day it is not a perfect science by any means.

Bottom line, the demand for our services roared back into life and whilst it has been a real challenge the businesses across most of our geographies are running ahead of the budget. Congratulations to everyone and a massive thank you for all that you have done to achieve these results. We are a people business and we achieve what we do because we have such talented colleagues to work with.  

I set this as a backdrop for what I will say next. So, a little while ago I was talking to somebody about the businesses, the things that keep me awake at night, the dreams I have for what we can achieve in the future. I think you know this, I love the work we do and what we stand for in the markets around the world and always want the very best for us. So that is the context for my discussion.

After a while the person I spoke to had been quiet for a while said “you need to lean out over your skis”. I was flummoxed (I love that word). As I have already told you, skiing is not a passion for me, at least not for now, but I do get the mechanics of the sport. I thought about this for a while before responding. So, if I lean out further on my skis, so to speak, then I get to go faster, if I lean out too far then I am going to end up in a messy heap, if I don't then I am not achieving what is optimal. Ok, he was telling me to think about how I could help us go faster. There are lots of ways businesses can achieve that, add more resources, do new things as an extension to what you do, open up clients to more services, the list is endless as you will well know.  But that wasn’t the whole story, I thought about it some more. I have lived long enough to know to not just seize upon the first idea when looking at a challenge. The phrase ‘get out over your skis’ also is a phrase sometimes used in business which is about taking risks, calculated and understood of course, where if you fail you learn from it quickly, the ‘learn fast’ phrase you may have heard Mel our Chief people officer saying a lot, the key is that you get to grow faster.

So, that’s what has been on my mind these past few weeks. How do we take our fantastic businesses wherever we are in the world, and ‘lean out over our skis’? There are so many smart and talented people around our businesses thinking about just these things. We are in an exciting evolution of the Harvey Nash Group family of businesses. There has never been a better time to be here. Let’s lean out over those skis.

As always, do take time to rest and recuperate as the weekend comes around and keep safe and well.

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