CA Summit 2021: Grow chapter recap
CA Summit sponsored by Markel Tax returned for an event split across three days starting on 5 October, which brought together the brightest minds from the worlds of finance, academia, and the technology industry to deliver a series of challenging, thought-provoking and truly motivational seminars to inspire ICAS Members around the globe.
Watch the Grow chapter
Vivienne Artz OBE, Advisory Board Member, and former President, of Women in Banking and Finance, opened the Grow chapter by examining what the term ‘my data’ means in today’s world.
“We need to be in the driving seat of authoring our data-driven future,” said Vivienne.
As the world becomes increasingly digitised, Vivienne explained that is now more than ever vital that individuals gain an understanding of what their data is and how it is being used.
Legal rights can be broken down into three different types:
- Intellectual property rights
- Contractual rights
- Statutory right
Each of these rights can exist in isolation or be layered over each other in combinations. However, out of these three sets of rights, it is likely that the statutory rights which cover data privacy are most relevant when considering ‘my data’.
In the UK, legislation is in place in order to provide individuals with a level of control over the data that organisations hold on them, such as the right to know how the data is being used and the right to have it deleted if it is out of date.
“The reality is that while we may wish that many of these rights were universal, they only exist where the law grants such rights, and the laws vary significantly between jurisdictions and are often dictated by different cultural and political norms.”
Vivienne told attendees that, although there are numerous protections in place, there are un negotiables that exist when it comes to using data to access various products and services such as opening a bank account and voting.
With this in mind, Vivienne’s call to action is for individuals to start to re-examine their understanding of their personal data in order to gain a higher level of control in a digital world.
Wellness at work
“There is no such thing as work-life balance.”
Solutions based Therapist Gin Lalli started her session with this potentially controversial statement, before going on to clarify that work and life are both living, and that work is an intrinsic part of life.
Linking this concept to mental wellbeing, Gin explained that organisations are beginning to realise that they have a responsibility to look after the mental health of their staff to ensure they are able to perform at their best.
“A lot of workplaces are doing brilliant things around [mental wellbeing],” said Gin.
“They are trying to create a boundary by saying ‘Because we want you to be the best you can be at work; we need to ensure that you are being the best you can be with your family as well’”.
As more businesses are looking for speakers to come in and run sessions for their staff around the topics of stress and anxiety, Gin was clear in stating that this should not be viewed as a box that needs to be ticked with no real change occurring because of it.
“Communication is key,” she said.
“This is where you want line managers and leaders communicating that upwards to say, ‘Something is going on here at base level’”.
In terms of personal mental development, Gin urged attendees to look into what facilities their employers provide to support them during difficult times.
Leadership Coach Julian Saipe shared his thoughts on the dangers of being a people pleaser in order to attract success.
Using his past as a trained opera singer as an analogy, Julian describes how the power of an opera singers voice which fills a concert hall share an important trait with the voice of a powerful and charismatic leader; they both go one way only.
Julian said: “What rarely happens in our systems or hierarchical relationships structures is where the people at the top let go of holding on to what they already know and create a space for others to realise what they don’t know yet. And when allowed to do so, marvel at their own creativity and ingenuity”.
In Julian’s opinion, authenticity and the ability to display real humility are key aspects of successful leadership. The ability to communicate authenticity can help a leader create a space of psychological safety within the workforce.
He also gave emphasis to the importance of openly listening to staff.
“When you know that I’m listening to you, a space opens up inside you and you feel safe, alive and inspired.
“The ensuing trust then allows me to ask you open questions. Questions for which there is no answer as such, but the very question means that you have a new space to reflect on your unlimited resourcefulness and possibility.
“Who wouldn’t be inspired by that?”
Living in the moment
Mental fitness coach Alex Strang began his session by sharing his own experiences with mental wellbeing. While working in advertising and having founded a successful tech start-up, Alex found that he had reached a mental burnout.
He said: “In one moment [the burnout] hit me and my mind and body pushed back”.
For Alex, the symptoms of this burnout manifested in vast short term memory loss. It was during his recovery that he found a passion for learning about mental fitness and sharing his discovery with others.
This led him to start the Moment co which teaches people to learn to identify what he refers to as "the mindful micro-pause". Alex explains that this micro-pause, or ‘Moment’, is the space between external stimulus and an individual’s response to it.
‘Moments’ can be accessed by tapping into breathing, being conscious of your breath and making time to be present during them.
Alex said that these ‘Moments’ are spaces during the busy workday that can be filled with whatever is required at that specific time.
When describing the benefits of creating these ‘Moments’, Alex said:
“You’ve created the space and you now have the power to choose consciously how you respond in the world.
“For me, this is a shift from feeling trapped, to feeling freedom”.
Closing his session, Alex explained that building a positive mental fitness routine is a skill to be learned.
He said: “The real magic with this... is that the results are self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating. The more you do the better you feel, so the more you do.”
Bring your sparkle
Carole Pyke describes herself as a Sparkle Navigator and “is on a mission to make the world a brighter place by helping business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs discover their own sparkle and as a result, stand out more, be heard, and become unforgettable”.
“Your personal brand is more than what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the story you tell from the moment you show up, before you speak. Everyone has a personal brand, so the question isn’t about whether you need one, it’s about becoming the director of the stories that others tell about you,” Carole explained.
Using the analogy of a Mrs Potato Head toy to illustrate to attendees that there are many accessories, or roles and titles, that individuals can put on, but the core and substance of you will always be the potato – and this is where the true value lives. And sparkle happens when you understand that value that you bring to the table.
Carole defines sparkle as:
Superpower: solving a problem
Passion: bring passion to what you do
Attitude: thinking in terms of opportunities rather than hardship
Resources: skillset available
Kryptonite: challenges and the strategies in place to navigate
Leadership: thought leadership, we move in the direction of our strongest thoughts
Experience: utilising lessons learnt
“Only you have the combination of experience, expertise, failures and successes that make you unique. If you start to claim this, how you approach our job, colleagues and relationships will change”.
Large organisations often take on human characteristics and people buy from people. By utilising your sparkle, you will leave a fingerprint on everything you do and the footprint you leave behind making you unforgettable.
Lastly, Carole touched on mental fitness and how this is linked to your sparkle. She explained that you can spend a lot of time working on becoming a better mother, accountant, father, business owner, but if you spend your time focusing on being a better ‘potato’ then you will naturally become better with the roles you play.
Carole challenges us all to show up unapologetically on purpose and be more potato.
Winning in the new normal
The Grow chapter was closed out by Michael G Jacobides, Professor of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the London Business School.
Michael began by examining historical crises, such as WWII and 9/11, that drastically changed everyday life and left lasting change.
He said: “What I’m telling you is that these periods of crisis have got the funny habit of leaving long-lasting impact and I think that, if we look carefully, the seeds of this change are evident and that gives significant opportunity.”
In order to not only weather a crisis but succeed in it, Michael shared three steps that he believes can help to gain an advantage.
The steps are:
- Reassess growth opportunities.
- Reconfigure your business to realise them.
- Reallocate capital more effectively.
In reassessing growth opportunities, Michael emphasised the importance of making the distinction between trends that will last and blips that are only around for a short time due to circumstance.
“The changes that we see that are really important are the changes where Covid is catalysing change of behaviour and that has to do with digitisation usually.
“Things like streaming platforms and working from home… are here to stay.”
Reconfiguring your business means, again, focusing on the digital space the organisation operates in and the value that it can add there. Being aware of your position in the business ecosystem is also a key consideration to succeeding.
Michael said: “Ecosystems don’t only have orchestrators… they also have partners, and they have complementors.
“They have organisations that work with these large ecosystems, or you start looking at it as an area that can develop some additional sales for you. So you need to rethink how you will be able to connect to these new ecosystems.”
Changing the allocation of budget can make the difference between a massive return and relative failure. Taking stock of investment opportunities in new business models and modifying investment plans overall is something that Michael said organisations should be actively pursuing.
“Being able to think about how the world is changing and how you are positioning yourself - both for today and for tomorrow – and creating a plan for that is going to make a massive difference.”
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