Over the last six months I have had the privilege to undertake several trips to China, visiting more than 20 businesses along the way. Each trip was rich with provocation and inspiration.
In January 2019, we took 18 business leaders, entrepreneurs and change agents from a range of companies including BBC, Jaguar Land Rover, The Prince’s Trust, HSBC and Novartis inside India-based Aravind. The profound impact it had on our participants impressed us so much we are returning in 2019 with Inside Aravind, to inspire and provoke a new group of leaders about what a highly successful, purpose-driven business looks like.
We are facing an unheralded digital future. Emerging technology has had a profound effect on business and promises even more staggering transformation. It will hugely impact all areas of life and society and businesses will be required to keep up the pace and adapt to new ways of thinking and performing.
The Ultimate Recipe for The Perfect Christmas Work Culture – an Interview with Helen Hyde, John Lewis Partnership
‘Tis the season to be merry and nowhere is this truer than the John Lewis Partnership (owners of high street stalwarts John Lewis and Partners and Waitrose and Partners). This is a business that is simply synonymous with the festive spirit, from iconic advertising to in store experiences. The company is on everyone’s Christmas list!
This is an article written by George Anders, Editor at Large at Linked In. It was published on Linked In on 14th November 2018. George is also a regular speaker at Wavelength Connect events.
By 2028, the experience economy will be worth an incredible 8.2 trillion dollars globally, according to the latest study from Euromonitor (Euromonitor, 2018). The trend is fuelled by ever-evolving consumer desire for deeper connection to the brands they love, going way beyond just buying ‘things’ and receiving good service. Consumers of today want an immersive and personalised experience that allows them to connect with brands in a new way.
Adrian Simpson, Wavelength’s Co-founder and Chief Connector, distils the pertinent themes from their recent immersion into Silicon Valley, sharing insights from some of the world’s most forward-thinking businesses including Airbnb, W.L. Gore Associates, GE and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.
In a ‘post-truth’ era, what separates the trusted from the tarnished? I’ve been researching speed in business over the last two years, talking to senior leaders of organisations about how they deal with the rapid pace of a changing world. In this context, themes of truth, trust and transparency were revealed as the accelerators of business success, with three approaches leading the resistance to the ‘war on truth’.
Wavelength Connect provides participants with the inspiration, knowledge, and resourcefulness to find their own solutions to the leadership and organisational challenges they are facing, and to own and action them.
A core part of Connect, Behind the Brand offers participants the opportunity to get inside a broad array of organisations with compelling narratives around culture, engagement, innovation, social impact, and leading change. It’s a chance for them to hold a critical mirror to their own organisations to see where they could be doing much better as well as where they could be doing much worse.
Silicon Valley’s leading companies, VCs, thought leaders and organisations in the midst of business model transformation will be part of Wavelength USA 2018. They will share how to thrive in a digitally disrupted world, lead through disruption and create thriving cultures to create amazing service.
Over the last eight years, we have invited the leaders from this remarkable organisation to join us on Wavelength USA and to share the Aravind story at Wavelength Connect, so in February 2018 Wavelength Co-Founder Jessica Stack and I decided to visit Aravind in Chennai and Madurai, India, to see it for ourselves. What we found impressed us so much we are returning in January 2019 with Inside Aravind, taking a group of 20 clients to inspire and provoke them about what a highly successful, purpose-driven business looks like.
After two days digitally marooned in the beautiful Berkshire countryside, surrounded by 90 leaders keen to discuss the challenges faced by those who want to change the world for the better through business, coach and social entrepreneur Lily Lapenna-Huda reflects on Oxygen and on her own leadership.
In 2003 the school’s inspector, Ofsted, branded Harrop Fold School in Salford “the worst school in the country” putting it into special measures, the lowest rating a school could have.
Behaviour was so bad that two local bus companies refused to transport pupils attending the school and a quarter of school-leavers went on to be classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training). Worse still, the school had inherited a financial deficit which was the largest of any school in the country.
”At fourteen years old I was creatively destructive,” says SpeakersHub speaker Jude Kelly “I got in with a bad crowd and things were spiralling out of control in my life until my head teacher told me to go and set up a drama group in the school.”
“He told me that he thought I was an existentialist and I needed a creative outlet to channel my search for purpose in life.”
The world’s first voice activated hotel room, the consumerisation of everything and the advent of the brain machine interface.
These were just a few of the trends emerging as I talk to the leaders and thinkers in the heart of Silicon Valley to plan our Wavelength USA programme.
“Organisations are non-entities, people are organisations”.
Dr Aravind Srinivasan, Aravind Eye Care System
However much we like to imagine we’re in control of Connect, we know what happens in the room (garden, tent, field, amphitheatre) and what plays out in each of our minds as we walk away cannot be planned.
Wavelength’s SpeakersHub were proud to host their inaugural event to mark the launch of their new brand and to showcase a selection of their most insightful, engaging and topical speakers.
Wavelength USA 2017 is fast approaching!
“I didn’t make things worse.”
This is how Sir Martin Narey described his time as Director General of the Prison Service of England and Wales during one of our Leadership Masterclasses. Not what one ordinarily hears from a leader but then Sir Martin is no ordinary leader. He’s an inspiring individual and an accomplished storyteller, and the core narrative he uses to describe this chapter of his leadership story – the last-choice-for-the-job, unheroic, lonely leader failing to make the difference he so passionately aspires to – is compelling but it’s also a fiction. A fiction in the way that all stories purporting to be about reality are fiction. Because creating coherence from the raw mess of lived life involves choosing what to include, what to exclude and what framing will best martial the chaos.
Stepping into other organisations is a powerful way to sharpen focus on your own culture, organisational effectiveness and leadership. Not because the organisations visited on Best In Class are perfect but because they help illuminate what’s strong, precious and worth building on in your own organisation alongside those flaws, deficits and areas of underperformance that must be addressed. Moreover, the visits provide invaluable inspiration and ideas for how to tackle them.
So what of this year’s cohort of BIC organisations?
As I pulled in to Sheepdrove this week, I was instantly reminded of my time as a Connect member in 2014. The sense of excitement, anxiety and the re-emergence of that pesky imposter syndrome were instantly with me. It also recalled the friendships and connections that I had made at my On Your Marks and indeed the personal transition I have been through since; from Connect member to being part of the Wavelength team.
What happens when you take 20+ leaders from around the world on an intensive six-day trip across the USA, a trip full of inspiration, ideas and insights from some of the world’s most successful, innovative and people centric companies? Every year Wavelength’s flagship USA tour seeks to find out.
After two discussion-filled days on Leading Change at Sheepdrove we reflect on where leaders choose to begin in the face of big, difficult or complex change and what these start points tell us about the longer journey
“Get the start right, the right point of entry, that’s how you get a conversation going, that’s how you walk toward people.”
Rob Burnet, CEO & Founder, Well Told Story
“If OK is the outcome of what you’re doing, scrap what you’re doing.”
Imagine that 24 senior leaders, your peers, were coming to where you work to understand what you do and how you do it. What would you tell them? How would you bring the essence of your organisation to life? What would you share (and not share!) to ensure they left feeling inspired to improve?
At our recent Connect event, former Director of Performance at UK Sport, Peter Keen CBE, ran an in-depth workshop with a small number of members exploring Putting Purpose to Work, Creating Leadership Excellence. The session received outstanding feedback from the lucky few who got to be part of it and we asked Graham Hodgkin, CEO, London’s Air Ambulance for his reflections on this session for those of us who missed out.
Behavioural Economics is about “changing behaviour without changing minds”. It is about nudging individuals, groups or institutions toward desired actions without going down the well-worn knowledge = awareness = change route. For leaders it is useful not just to identify ways to shift behaviour but also to understand why, often despite best efforts, behaviours sometimes refuse to budge.
In a week where the departing Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised the government for failing on its ”rehabilitation revolution” promise, we look at the role employment and employers can play in cutting reoffending and curbing the growth of the UK’s prison population, and at the benefits this can bring to us all.
It’s easy not to fail. Just keep your head down, take the easy path and hey presto, you will probably get along just fine. So, why doesn’t that sound appealing? At Connect, one of the most powerful messages we received was about being aware of the ripples from our actions. Taking this analogy a little further, to create a ripple you must first have the courage to throw the stone. Letting go of the stone means that you have to be prepared to fail. My experience is that the fear of failure is the greatest barrier to success in any aspect of life.
Three days with 120 people on an organic farm in Berkshire.
Three packed days hearing from: British, American and Danish serial entrepreneurs; an eye surgeon from India; a Baroness who earned her title through service to sport; UK MD of a global furniture retailer whose most popular product is named Billy; evangelists from an airline that’s been profitable for a straight 43 years and from a luxury hotel chain with “Ladies and Gentlemen” not employees; the Co-Founder of the first funky business magazine, Fast Company, and former talent champion of the number one business oriented social networking site LinkedIn; and from the sustainability and partnership lead in a company innovating to reduce cows’ flatulence (among other planet-positive things).
What is Resilience and how can we improve it? A summary of Wavelength’s Reconnect 3 event from Diana Man
Reconnect 3, the final event for the Wavelength Connect 2014 Members. And what an event it was! The theme of the day was Resilience. As the Members get ready to fly the Connect Nest and head out into the big wide world putting everything they have learned into practise, they will certainly need it!
Steve Horton, Transformation & Business Services Director, International Development Markets, Bupa tells us what he learnt from Wavelength USA
I’ve just completed a 5-day study tour of the US meeting some amazing people and companies in Texas, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The tour had participants from across the world from companies such as TD Bank, RBS, Dyson, Standard Chartered, Save The Children, SafeLight, Fremantle Media (the company behind ‘Got Talent’, ‘X Factor’ and so on), KPMG, Eli Lilly, and, of course, Bupa! These are my thoughts on what I heard, learnt, and will be trying out back at Bupa.