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Our take from Elia’s ND Focus for Executives

by Vasso Pouli, CEO at Commit 

How does the theatre of Epidaurus, Zeus, the king of gods, and Talos, the ancient robot, play into a Mission, Vision and Execution workshop? Well, to start with, the ELIA ND Focus for Execs conference took place last month at a magnificent resort just one-hour drive from Chania, Crete, thus the allusions and references to Greek history and mythology were unavoidable, to say the least.

On the other hand, the comparison between the old and the new (the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and a contemporary state-of-the-art concert hall), when addressing a rather dissimilar group of executives in the language industry, some having founded companies as many as 30 years ago, some being rather new in the localization industry and some representing the new blood in already year-old companies, offers a new perspective to the concept of business transformation: how important it is for the viability of the company, how tricky it is to get it right and how the success stories and failures of others can serve as useful examples to imitate or to avoid.

Zeus, the god of the sky, thunder, law and order was a nice introduction to the M&A scenery, and how one can lead and strategize for potential alliances, mergers or buyouts even from the beginning. Then, the story of Talos, the mythical giant automation which circled the shores of Crete three times daily to protect the island from pirates and invaders, was a smart allusion to the concept of operating leverage and how an organizational model can tweak and shift to accommodate new realities.

Tuyen Ho, VP of Corporate Development at Welocalize, offered great insight in how one can plan, implement, stay the course, pivot and change, but especially how one can go about executing on what they have envisioned as leaders for their people in order to ensure that their offerings stay relevant to their customers both today and in the future.

Thank you, ELIA Program Committee, for an insightful event and for the traditional Cretan dance experience!

ND Focus for Executives – In review

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A series of new events was launched by ELIA, the first one being ND Focus for Executives. The Focus events are targeted to specific stakeholders within the LSP industry and Commit was once again there to attend this event; the venue was intentionally secluded to allow for brainstorming without distractions, and Barceló Formentor at Cape Formentor, Mallorca, fulfilled every promise for reclusiveness.

The event featured two tracks, one on Business Strategies and one on Mergers and Acquisitions, and we attended both.

The Business Strategies track was moderated by Arturo Quintero, co-founder of Moravia, who offered a valuable insight in the landmarks of strategic planning an organization must have in place in order to achieve sustainable growth. The track included a few workshop features on determining the basic tools and processes towards corporate identification and development. An intriguing discussion evolved around the necessity and usefulness of mission and vision statements and their role in employee engagement. Two interesting exercises that revealed the many different levels of both maturity and expectations in the group – more than 50 people, among whom were both company owners and managing directors – were the internal and external assessment and the SWOT analysis. Arturo shared examples from his wealthy experience at Moravia encouraging the attendees to also honestly share their own personal challenges and concerns. The Business Strategies track has indeed been an inspiration for setting our eyes to the future and taking the necessary steps to get there.

The Mergers & Acquisitions track was moderated by Geert Vanderhaeghe, who brought in many years of banking experience, along with his recent involvement in the LSP industry. As the topic of M&As can be a really wide one, the sessions tried to cover the essentials of mergers and acquisitions, both from the buyer and the seller point of view, including financials, market opportunities, and some dos and don’ts. What we found really interesting was the exercise that took place during the last session, where we were called to identify the pros and cons of both our industry and our companies. Lots of opinions were exchanged, revealing the different perspectives of LSPs of many sizes, plus the views and struggles of company owners trying to distinguish between running a corporate or a lifestyle company.

Lots of knowledge to be absorbed but there is enough time till the next edition of the ND Focus for Executives to be held in Greece in 2017! See you all there!