Let’s Be Mates Podcast – EP09 – XVenture, lifting the ceiling on individual and team thinking
Podcast | 8 January 2020
In this week’s episode we are talking to Mike the founder and CEO of an organisation called XVenture.
At MATE we have used the theme of sports to drive our brand identity particularly through our brand ambassadors Mat Ryan & Sam Kerr.
We feel sport drives spirit, passion and teamwork which are some of the values we instil in our business and deliver to our customers.
XVenture support people and organisations around developing E.A.R.L skills such as ‘emotional agility, resilience and leadership’ through sports.
Our team at MATE is the heartbeat of our business, without them we do not have a business.
XVenture specializes in developing individual greatness within a team environment which businesses could benefit from.
You can learn more about Mate internet and mobile plans at www.LetsBeMates.com.au.
Faz: Welcome Australia. It’s that time again for another podcast, from the Mate team where we try and get into your head with stuff that makes us sound smart. Sit back and relax. It’s time for us
to be mates.
Hi Australia. Welcome to another episode of the let’s be mates podcast I’m one of your hosts, FAz, and as usual in the room we’ve got Dom and Bosco boys. How are we doing today? Good fares. Very good podcast today. Yeah, I think so. And I’m most, we’ll get straight into it. In today’s episode, we’re talking to Mike.
Mike is the founder and CEO of an organization called XVenture. At Mate, we have used the theme of sports to drive our brand identity, particularly through our brand ambassadors, Matt, Ryan, and Sam, Kerr, who are both the current captains of the Australian Socceroo’s and Matildas’ team. We feel sport drives spirit, passion and teamwork, which are some of the values we instill in our business and deliver to our customers.
Ex venture support people and organizations around developing what they call EARL skills, such as emotional agility, resilience, and leadership through sports. Our team mate is the heartbeat of our business. Without them. We don’t have a business XVenture specializes in developing individual greatness with a team environment, which businesses could definitely benefit from now.
We’ve got Mike, Mike, welcome to the show. So,
Mike: so thank you. I mean, honestly, it’s really good to me. I it’s just good already, already. I’ve got a really, really good vibe about you guys, so that’s really nice. so, so a little bit about me. I’ve already said that, I’m originally from, and you can tell the colors as well or any, and I’m from near old Trafford originally from South Manchester and grew up there and in what was a really, really.
A wonderful environment, working class, but a very happy environment. But for whatever reason felt that my calling was all about, caring and helping people. and I don’t mean just, I didn’t even think about a dollar around it. I always felt my, my yearning was about if I could contribute to someone’s life in some shape or form.
I would feel good about that. So the stage, so. Being on the stage is not the most comfortable thing for me has never has been. Although I seem to be on the stage quite a lot. It’s always been about putting the light and shiny on someone else, or if I can support and encourage someone. And that starts from a very young age.
I guess my parents were involved in that, a lot, they were. Very caring and helping people in the community. But I went on to do a social sciences and psych degree. It’s Sheffield, which is a great city too. I loved it. And there got my passion around health. And so majored in health and got interested in how people interact in a very, very, pressurized environment.
So I’m thinking about let’s picture the scene, emergency departments, operating theaters, where you’re actually dealing with life or death situations. How do you actually get a really positive. Mindset in that. And that became my calling. I got fascinated by it so much so that I ended up, I did my degree in that.
And then I ended up doing a, what is now called a diploma in health management, in a Bart’s hospital. And. the hospital east end of London, France is one of the oldest hospitals in the country and starts to learn about things like where does it may seem, which we are COVID at the moment, things about disease patterns, what affects different things.
And in those days we’re talking about things like HIV and AIDS. Of course, we’re talking about things like, which really rock my boat. the. The closure of asylums, big asylums and the move from asylums into care in the community. So people with very, very difficult mental health issues suddenly out in the community after being in hospital for many years, how does that impact them?
How does it impact people around them? How do people perceive people with mental health issues and so on? So I ended up actually working a lot in mental health planning in a very, very I’m at a very young age. From there into health planning, did an MBA still focused on health, to be honest, but move from the NHS.
When we’re talking about corporations here. think about this Dom and Ross and Mark a million person employees. That’s how many people in the NHS. So think about. I think about the challenge I face in dealing with my wife. Sometimes, you know, you know, we, our communications could still go screwed after 30 odd years.
So, but when you’ve got a million people or you’ve got quite a big organization of 60 people, things go astray. People actually communicate something, but other people don’t hear what they’ve communicated, et cetera. So we miscommunicate and then things go wrong. So I got, again, fascinated with communication processes around very, very difficult circumstances and ended up at Ernst & Young, where I ended up running a health practice in consulting, a strategists and health specialists working on very complex projects.
And that’s where I ended up coming to Australia. So help move the kid’s hospital. I came for two years and I’m still here and they can’t get away. Cause I carry a little blue passport, which I’m so proud of. And it’s traveled all around the world with me and I feel very honored and privileged to be in this incredible country because it is in fact, if you’ve never a lot of people haven’t traveled.
But we are really so lucky and look, what’s happened in the last period with COVID. We know how lucky they are, where my, my relatives and et cetera, and probably some of your friends and so on over in England are really struggling over there. So, so that makes it this then from there to, I ended up in a weird and wonderful way managing director of the Wiggles for 10 years and people go, what the hell?
And I say, what the hell too? But, it was really all about. a friend of mine who was one of the wiggles and we’ve got we’ve headed off and we used to go and watch cricket together. he was a cricket for Nancy that was Greg Page, the yellow wiggle. And I got then helping them think through how do you actually do certain things around organizing so health and safety on stages and big arenas.
How do you tour the UK? little things on that, which gradually pulled me in. And then before very long hours, I was running the business or trying to help them, which was a tiny idea, which wasn’t planned like yours. And suddenly a few years later, we won the biggest incentive brands in the world. We’re in 120 countries.
We’re playing sellout shows at Madison square gardens. We’ve got 6 theme parks where it’s just crazy and it wasn’t planned. And that’s what I loved about it. But truthfully. Underneath all this, were a couple of things. One is we were passionate in what we did and we loved it. Therefore, if you love something to generally get quite good at it.
And those boys were really good at what they did. And that was the first thing. And secondly, that we always made sure we were respectful of people. So we’d never say nah haven’t got time. So we were always there to have time to people. And the third thing that I felt was really important is that underneath this sort of fun, loving Star Trek uniform group was really, the fascination of learning because that’s what the whole thing was about helping kids learn and understand.
So how can you. Get a kid who can’t even read or write, to understand their alphabet, see colors or to, or to know what things are and do it quickly. So the process of learning is exactly the same. And that’s my absolute love about how do you actually. Transfer something someone doesn’t understand and getting them to learn, and then suddenly they’re doing it and they’re doing better than anyone could imagine.
So I was doing the Wiggles and then switching to XVenture. I’m sorry if I’m taking a long time on this done, but you know, you’ll have to cut it out. I’m sure. But then what happened was, I was in America, so I did a lot of work in the U S. And this is a story that lets XVenture and I realized, so I don’t know what you guys were doing at the time, but remember the global financial crisis happens.
So I think you’d probably be sort of still at school. So, I mean, I don’t know, but I was always running the wiggles. I was running the wiggles over there and, and you know, you know what happens when people start to get to know each other quite well, they start to be a bit more honest. So we say in business, oh everything’s great.
You know, it’s really cool, but what it isn’t always great is it let’s face it. It is, it’s a roller coaster. It goes up and down. But in that period of time, I was working with major corporations like Warner Brothers, Disney, Viacom, until big corporations with people who are at the heads of these corporations.
So I was doing TV broadcast deals, you know, all around the world. And these people would say, yeah, everything’s great until you’d go and have a kind of say this. When we talk about sport, glass of wine and maybe a couple of glasses, maybe a beer or two I need to be had. And suddenly people start to relax and then it all comes out.
And things such as Mate, you know, we’re in desperate straights, we are struggling. friends are no longer friends. People are fighting. Each other. People are protective of their jobs. People are frightened of losing their homes. I mean, let’s face it. We have bankers jumping off buildings in those days.
It was pretty freaky over there and an Australia. Yet again, we were successful in getting through that. It’s mining and banking, but the UK was horrific and America was even worse. So I got to thinking that, you know what, in Australia, we are only one thing. We can’t do anything on our own. So there’s you three good guys working together on something and probably all these other people.
You’ve got 50, 60 people, but we can’t do anything on our own. And in Australia we’re so far removed from everywhere. We’re such a long way from home, from everywhere else in the world that we’ve only, and we’re a small population. We have to do stuff together. We can’t do stuff on our own. So our success is going to be dependent on our ability to build relationships and ability to communicate.
So that was going on. Second thing that was going on was that TV was changing. So it was going to vidoeo on demand. So advertising on TV was shifting and changing. So, those. People who used to watch all the ads as well, going on my God, I could make a cup of tea, get the cage, wash the dishes about the children and then get back for it.
It’s gone. You can just turn it over. You can, don’t have to look at that ad anymore. So, consequently, I started to notice this and I was doing video on demand stuff in America, eight, 10 years ago. So I thought, okay. Maybe what we should do is put the brand into the TV show. So I thought, imagine if the TV show is all about people, because ultimately we Mate with your company with my company, the thing that defines us is not the product.
It’s actually the people that make it. It’s the people because without the people’s passion and without the people who care about it, it’s just the same as anything else. That’s the uniqueness of what you have. So what I did was I started to build a TV series. Why not build a TV series around a group of corporates?
Going off to a place and me challenging them a whole range of things, but the focus was the people in the corporates. So we have Price Waterhouse Coopers in their GWS giants in there. We had a Nivea Beiersdorf BUPA and that’s what we did. It was traumatic for me. It was. And suddenly all these brands are in the TV show, so you’re not actually waiting for the TV show to finish.
And I’ll just started to realize that my calling was back to what I started, which was all about how do I actually help people get a winning mind? And I don’t mean winning. The game necessarily of winning the grand final, which I know what it feels like to do that, but, but it’s also about winning life. So XVenture is focused on helping people to get winning minds.
And that’s what we’ve been doing for the last seven or eight years in business. Education for all around the world.
Faz: And I think winning comes in all shapes and sizes. Right. And winning is not always what people think it is. Winning is, is the, the little things as well. And I think that’s something that we, we really resonate as a, a business at Mate.
And if I talk about some of, some of the things that you mentioned, and you know, when we talk about partner of people to deliver a goal, I mean, our biggest thing that we say is that we need to partner with the people. That it, the experts at the things that we need to do and not try and waste our time, doing things that we don’t understand and waste all that time, trying to get to know it.
Right. the other thing you mentioned before is about, it’s not about the product is it’s about the people, right? We call ourselves Mate is a customer happiness business that happens to sell, Telco products. Right? So our first goal is to make sure that our customers and the people that we service are happy.
Then we sold them the products and we feel like that’s the difference between us and the other telcos. It’s not about the service. It’s about the, the, our people and the, I guess the information and the service that we deliver physically, mentally versus physically. Right. If that makes sense.
Mike: Yeah. It’s, you know, we’ll talk about Mattie probably a little later on, but one of the things I try and do, so if you look back at the, some of the business we are talking about, out the wiggles ex venture mates, winning, winning groups of people, that generally really happy.
People, it goes hand in hand and, you know, because of my behavioral science neuroscience background, also, there’s a connection between happiness and then it fuels a whole heap of hormones, which actually gives you a whole range of other things. Energy. Your mind is, I mean, your mind will talk about the mind for a second.
Your mind is not just what’s in the skull, that’s a brain, but your mind is actually relational. So it’s about the energy and information that transfers between you and, you know, and Dom and, and Ross. Those are the things that happen. That’s what the mind is. So in fact, if you’re, if you’re doing that and you creating happiness between you, it actually feels more and more energy and fuel.
It’s not just kind of, somebody seteric claptrap thing, which you reading, you know, in some trendy left, you know, but a thing in India, it’s not, that’s cool too. But this is real, it’s real and it’s actually scientific. So if you’re applying that principle, then don’t be surprised you’re going to be successful.
It’s the same with the wiggles. It’s the same way that venture and truthfully it’s the same in the way I actually worked with Maty on the field, playing it for Brian and all the Socceroos, same principles. How do we actually make sure that when he walks on the field and players walk on the field, that they’re actually in a happy place before they start.
And it’s not that easy. You’ve got to work at it.
Faz: Mean, I feel it in your position, you would have to build some sort of break down some walls with people first to be able to get in there real, real deep. Right. And I think, I mean, because the way you succeed is obviously getting a deeper connection with the people you’re dealing with. Right. And I think.
People come in all shapes and sizes and minds and all the different things. People believe, you know, different things. They believe different things that, that, that, that make them, you know, act a certain way. And I think, you need to get everybody to a certain level until certain connection before you can establish that.
Right. And, is that, does that make sense? That’s cause I think it’s even with customers, right? We have this philosophy at make that our customer service philosophy is we call it the triple H. Head heart hands. So we say that if we can get into a customer’s head with information that empowers them.
That’ll enable us to get into the heart, which is by loyalty and get them to love us more than for what we’re delivering to them. And then the next thing is, if we get into their heads and get into their hearts, then they’ll do something with their hands, which is buy our product because we’ve empowered them with the information we’ve got into their hearts.
So we’ve, we’ve, we’ve bought loyalty with them because they, they believe in what we’re going to do and they believe in what we’re going to say. And then the last part is they, they choose us because they trust us. And, and, and when, when we, everybody, all these businesses have these. Big fan dangle sort of processes around customer service.
Will you just say it’s about the triple H, head, heart hands. If we deliver those three haters and then we’ve got no problem,
Mike: you know? Well, I like that. Can I use that? Absolutely.
Faz: Of course. Yeah.
There’s a licensing
Mike: They listen, man, I’ve got the URL already. It’s an, it’s really nice because what you’re doing is you’re actually making it really human. And I know that people say, Oh, we make it really human, but actually we’re humans. And some people don’t understand that. So as an example, in football, so let’s talk about or soccer.
What are we going to call
Faz: traditional football? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: Cause you know what, when I first in this country, you know, I remember the EY you know, the first thing that was really funny all the time. I noticed that digression to, I apologize now he’s definitely cut more out, but when, when, when I arrived here, I arrived in December.
So I knew nothing about the culture Australia. Really. I thought we spoke the same language, so I arrived and the office, the first thing I notice is December. I’d like three parties in a week. I was like, this is great, you know, December. And then. I came back in January. There’s no one here as I was going on, you know, in England, it’s like, you get five days off and you get back in there.
The clouds are right on top of you. But, but someone, I remember someone saying, so, so do you like sport? I said, yeah. So what do you like soccer, football, all right. He said, so who are you going to follow? And I said, I don’t know that. Who do I follow? And they said, Oh, well, mostly the mole, Melbourne teams collingwood.
So I checked them all out. Of course it wasn’t the same and I struggled to get the named soccer happening. So it’s a challenge for me. So I’m glad you told me about football, but, but let’s just talk about coaches for a moment. because the, the great coaches and, and someone asked me once, and these are the exact, the same plane.
Someone asked me once and I’ll tell you who it was. It was, it was a keynote. I was doing. With Ledley King sounds all very kind of, very, social climbing, all this, but it was, it was the launch of the Tottenham Hotspur program in Woolongong. And Leslie King used the X player from, from Tottenham.
Adam Gilchrist was on there. Amy Dougan who’s on the board. Now the FFA was on there. I’m trying to think of so arms and a Luke Whiltshire and me, so all elite sports players clearly, other than me, but the question was asked about something that matters about being a great coach and they all went through and I was last on the line and they all talked about some specific memory.
They had about a coach saying something that mattered to them. And I said, look, I can’t describe that because I didn’t play at elite level. But what I can say is a great coach. It’s someone who cares, who, someone who cares and a player knows. And what that also means is that a coach needs to understand the human before the player.
And unfortunately what often happens in elite sport. And in fact, in business, you hire someone because they’ve got a skill. And so here is the head of telecommunications, whatever it might be, here’s the head of health and safety, but the truth is in order for them to be the best they can really be.
You’ve got to actually focus on that human being first and it’s every single time. And if you do that, that matters and we all come in shapes and sizes. You’re totally right. Totally shapes and sizes. So dealing with, for example, a Dave CARNY compared to a about, or dealing with a Mitch Duke to Keanu. So dealing with Pirman, who I’ve worked with as well, too, you know, Mark Milligan, everyone is different and you start with that foundation first, but ultimately they want the same thing.
They just want to do their very best. And if you can get that nailed. Then what happens and what does your customer want? I mean, your customer wants something from you and at the end of the day, as long as they’ve heard that you’ve listened to them and that you cared about them, what have you, it’s exactly the same principle.
Now what I’d also say to answer that if you look at elite sport, I’m talking about football again that we love, and I’ve done this in cricket as well, by the way. So last week I was working with the Australian women’s cricket, Sinead, the world champions, but if you’re looking at football, If you look at the basics of it, of coaching, technical, tactical, physical, mental, with communication, which bridges that now you can apply that to your business, to sort of technical, tactical physical, and you can think about those things.
And you’ve probably got things going through your mind that you think, Oh yeah, I can see that. And then communication, which connects it in sport until recently. And it’s only recent technical, tactical, physical. I’ve been the things that people are focused on. But the mental side of the game and I call it the emotional sidewall of the mental side has been very, very slow in it’s actually our upbringing, but interestingly enough, and this is where we are so aligned.
You and I are so aligned. Is that the thing that is clear now, when you get to elite sportat the top level technical tactical, physical are pretty much the same. Now they’re pretty much the same. You know, it’s the same with your bits and it’s the same with the NBN, and what have you, it’s all the same, the only determining factor, which makes a difference.
It’s the emotional side of this. And that’s why I think it’s exciting, period. Particularly if you’ve got business people like yourself, leaders of business, like you who actually already understand that, and you’re going to bring your 60 people to do that. Yeah.
Faz: It makes so much sense. We always say that how many times have we said that?
What are we offering? That’s different to everybody else in the market? Nothing really, right. I mean, yeah, there’s a bit, there’s a bit of pricing here and there is a few dollars saved here and there, but the difference that we offer compared to our competitors, Is how the customer is at the center of everything that we do, right.
It’s not the service, it’s not the product, it’s the customer. And then they are the first focus and whatever we need to do, we deliver a PO in our calls that we have, we deliver personalized service to that customer the way they needed it. In the, in the places they need it. And that, I think that’s very different to, to our competitors.
And in that we’ve, we’ve come from all different backgrounds, you know, Ross, a journalist, you know, Dom’s come from a big, you know, experiential and I’m an agency background, you know, and unfortunately dom and I I’ve worked together for over 10 years and in three different jobs and he keeps coming back to the poor guy.
but, But, you know, we’ve, we’ve come from so many different organization. I think we’ve all bought the experience around what not to do. And I think one of the things that I think that finds we we’re successful reason why we’re successful is that we know what we know we’ve got, we’ve lived through.
The pain and the challenges. And I feel like we’ve decided, well, first of all, what not to do and what we’re good at and what we’re not good at. And then, and link everything back to the, to the customer. Who’s the center of everything that we do in every, in every situation. And when we come up with a new plan or a new service, it’s not about, Oh, that’s a good plan.
That’s a good service. What is the customer going to think about that? Is it easy for them to understand? Is it easy to it? Are they going to have a good experience and all those different things? Because if those things don’t happen and then it doesn’t matter what we’re delivering to them, Right. And I think it can, and to your point, it can adapt to any type of environment every time the industry, like, I feel like you’re the way, the way you’re talking, the way we’re talking, we come from completely two different worlds, but we’re delivering the same concept in many ways.
And the same, the same attitude that we feel like it’s going to be and let people be, be successful. Would you agree?
Mike: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, totally. But I think what’s obvious to me. and it sounds like your, your three of your aligns that you are people who are self aware and you’ve learned, and that’s the thing that, you know, sadly, most people aren’t that they’re not self aware, so they don’t actually read the signs and signals of themselves.
So we have a very, very easy habit of actually blaming someone else. Yeah, we’ve all played football. I have, there are people on the field. They’re the first ones that pointed the finger at someone on their field, you know, and say, Oh, that team and say, it’s them. But the truth is actually, what are we doing to contribute to that?
So, so with your customers, and this is what I say back to elite sport, or back to the work we’re doing at XVenture. So be it, you know, Adidias, Germany, who we worked with a couple of weeks ago or a business school in Ontario last week. Or ABB or HP you’re back on. We don’t work with as well. It doesn’t matter who it is is that the first piece is, is about how are you actually looking after your people?
How do they feel about. Doing it. So when they’re actually talking to a customer, are they feeling the passion that you’ve got and they feeling that they have to, you know, deliver it for the customer in such a way. So, you know, and that’s the secret. So, you know, even now with the socceroos is the first stage of port of call was actually building the culture you’re describing about your business Arnie and myself and Renee Moulenstein, who’s the ex Man United coach.
Plus that staff are where it was all about trying to. Trying to build a culture of accepting and acknowledging the fact that we haven’t got any superstars. But neither do we want superstars? What we want is a great team of people who want to be together. And so we’ve moved from a place where, it was challenge it’s challenging is going to soccer is calm.
So I’ve jumped into Socceroos here. So challenging because, because with thousands of kilometers away. So, you know, you could be in, you know, like musty is over in Denmark, you know? And, and so is AWA and then you’ve got Mattie and Aaron in Brighton. And then you’ve got, you know, well, Brad Smith was over in America.
He trouble all the way from America. Now you going to college to get there. You’ve now got Bailey in Sunderland. You’ve got people in, Adam, Adam Taggart in Korea. So wherever we go with travelling a long way, but now the excitement is actually being together. So we all want to be together. Because a culture has been created of care and attention.
And what have you of doing something together? We all really truly believe in and making the customer feel so excited about it. And here we are, guess what? It’s not complicated technically to actually physically they’re just the same. People probably Renna an Arnie on your brought an extra dimension to the way that they looked in the play.
But truthfully, the games the same. You take a look at the posts and QA and the field. It was about the same as the posts in Jordan. They weren’t any different, you know, actually the field was about the same. The halfs were about the same, same principles again, but what we did was all about tuning them.
So emotionally they felt totally connected to what the goal was and is, and guess what it’s off of the table. World cup, bring it on. Let’s hope we get these other games done shortly and maybe I’ll get to Katmandu, which was COVID. Stop me. So, yeah, so alignment of business, you know, business and, and elite sport is, is very close, but I think that the, the focus attention on, emotional tuning, retuning, calibrating people.
And everyone taking responsibility about that. Actually, it makes a massive fundamental shift to your business. And so the performance of your team,
Faz: a hundred percent
Bosco: , it’s funny
that you mentioned previously, regarding staff and hiring people. so an interesting concept that you’re probably not aware of is that.
95% of the people in our business that, that are working in our business actually have no background in the telecommunications industry, which is very interesting. So, I know we always say it’s unorthodox, but, yeah. So, you know, most of the people that are here because either, you know, they know somebody or, you know, there’s a lot of family, obviously, you know, cousins and brothers and sisters and things like that.
But, a lot of people are friends of friends. but you know, they’ve all been hired, not based on what they know because w w we believe here is that. if they’re passionate enough and if they have the drive to want to succeed, which, which we all do, then they’ll, they’ll be able to learn anything.
So most of the people, 90% of the people in here started have having no idea about telco. Now they’re on the phone, obviously talking to customers, they’re know doing sales, they’re doing provisioning, whatever it is. so that’s, I guess that’s kind of interesting as well. Cause I know you, you were mentioning previously that you, you know, you might hire someone, who’s got all the qualifications, but you know, mentally or, or, you know, they’re not in a same Headspace as, as the rest and it doesn’t work out.
So. Yeah. And
Faz: we deliver an environment that I think people can Excel in no matter who you are, where you are or where you come from. And you know, the stories that we have around, you know, we’ve got somebody who is in our provisioning team, was a cement renderer. Then he turned into a hairdresser and now he’s in our provisioning team.
And he’s a key is a key part of our business to, to somebody else who was a. he was a form worker, hurt his back, felt like he had no, no, no other career. And we gave him opportunity in the call center. Now he’s leading our technical support team, but one thing that we, we, and all the people we look to hire, we, we couldn’t find somebody with the right determination, passion and motivation.
To make a difference. Whereas we had to go somebody without the skill because they had the determination, passion, and motivation to succeed. But the rest we knew the rest could be learned. And that’s, I think that, I mean, don’t get me wrong. We always need people with experience too. But, it’s something this day and age when it comes to recruitment, what I can’t find is people that come in sometimes focusing on the ability to go and do something or do, or talking about how they’re going to.
How are they going to find out something that, that may not know right. You know, or, or the ambition and the motivation to go and do something more. And that’s the challenge. And I think what you do is, is, is what, what, what, what achieves that right. And I think Dom, you’ve probably got a bunch of questions, right.
Dom: Or just touch on that as well. I think from a customer service perspective, you look at our bunch of our reviews that we get from our customers and the overwhelming. The theme is that the people that they are talking to on the other phone care, and you can’t teach that, right. You can build a culture and, and bring the right people in.
But at the end of the day, if these people care about what’s happening out there and to find not just trying to get rid of that
person. So Mike, you
touched on the technical tactical, physical, and sort of the mental, emotional bit over arches, your business sort of falls around the EARL Qualities. So emotional agility, resilience of leadership.
How has that, how do you apply that more so important, I guess from let’s use sporting teams as, as an example, but I guess it goes across
Mike: Yeah. Okay. So probably it’s worth, I’ve got to, I’ve got to, I’ve got to jump in on something in a second about this recruitment cause it’s, it’s brilliant.
I think we’re cousins. We must, we must say it’s just, I am so thrilled that you’re doing that and good on you, honestly, because I’ll give you a couple of examples of. It’s not the same in the way that we’re talking about people in hiring and so on, but we’ll come to that in a minute. So let’s go to this.
so, I’m going to probably go through it as a little model first. and I will also say to you that everyone that I work with, and this is A-League players, NPL players, young people at school. I’m going to try and help them understand what this means so that they then start to look at things slightly differently.
so EARL in our sense stands for emotional agility, the, a resilience R and L is leadership. And we came together through that, through, through work, we did working, you know, building masters in business. MBA programs that Macquarie university and also Wollongong university doing schools programs, and also working in business and also running businesses.
And so if I look at the emotional agility piece, first, what we try and do is to try and say, look in order for you to, and it’s back to this blame piece in order for you to. Work in a successful team. You need to understand yourself first and your contribution, understand your own emotions and how your own emotions affects those people around you.
If it’s back to the mind again, the mind is relational. So give you an set of first part of that is self awareness. Self-awareness so do I notice myself? When am I angry? When am I sad? When am I’m at my best? When I’m at my worst, when I get frustrated, when I get disappointed, all those elements. So what we’re already starting to do is go, yeah, actually I know that, I know that.
Why, when do I get up in the morning? And I feel really, really crappy. Now we can go as far as to say, well, I had an hour and argue with my partner the day before, or I’m frightened of someone at work or I’ve got the issue I’ve got to face or presentation that’s faced, or it’s purely because I didn’t get any rest.
Or I’ve not gotten much rest, but this self-awareness is very fundamental. I believe a couple of really practical examples on the sports field. Self-awareness second part is self management. So even if, so, if you know these things, you’re self aware, have you got any skills and tools that you can use to manage?
Yourself under those conditions. So can you drive happiness even further? So you notice you’re a happy person. Why is it you’re happy? What makes you happy? That’s the self awareness piece. And then if you can do that, then you can drive it further. Or I get disappointed. I’ll get frustrated. I get angry.
Have I got a tool or technique to enable me to cope with that or to deal with that? Sometimes it could be as simple as I have a person that go to person, you can help me through it. It could be that. Or it could be, I’ve got a breathing technique or it could be, I notice it and I take time out. It could be a whole range of things and those sound simple, but in fact, they’re not simple unless you’re aware of it.
Okay. So, so have you noticed those two parts of emotional agility or internal self awareness, self management? So think of this as an example on that we, and this is true. This is a real, real life situation. We have a footballer who is a socceroo. Now he gets in socceroo team, but what I start to notice about and.
This is when he’s playing in the Ivy league, is that if he is playing and he makes a mistake, the next thing he does, he hurts someone. Right? And as, as, as guys, sometimes we go, that’s good, he’s tough. And he’s strong. We’ll have you, actually he’s going to get a yellow card under normal circumstances.
You’ll get a yellow card. And that yellow card changes the game. It changed the game more than anyone could ever know. Because straight away, if he, someone has already had four yellow cards, he’s going to miss a game or two, or if it’s a certain point in the game, he’s actually people are going to, if you’re a smart senior, you’re going to use that.
Against yourself. But if you’re going into the international environment, you’re going to go to the Asia cup. For example, we Asian championship, you get a yellow card. You’re really on the edge and they give yellow cars out notes tomorrow, you get two yellow cards and you’re gone. So this was something clearly that had to be dealt with.
So the first thing is this person was not self aware of it. Right. And then he also didn’t have the tools and techniques to deal with it. So part of my role was to actually try and figure out how to do that and work with them. And let me tell you, it works. This person is a quality footballer. He’s a great guy, and he now hardly gets a yellow card ever because he’s chilled himself.
And now his focus isn’t on frustration, disappointment, anger, it’s on sternly, still being a strong physical athletes, but also being able to cope and calm his motions. But also as part of that, then you go into the external environment of emotional agility, which is about empathy and social skills. So this is where you guys, as leaders also come in.
So empathy is about noticing that someone needs help noticing that someone doesn’t understand, noticing that someone feels excluded. Yeah. And to think about that in the context again, of a sports team. So, when you start a season, you can have people from all over the world coming in and they could be from Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Brazil, Bobo was from Brazil, but you know, you’ve got guys at the Western Sydney from, from Switzerland, Germany, all top lads, but this is a different culture.
Have they got their family with them? Are they on their own? Are they someone who understands the language of what we’re describing the answer on all those things is no, they haven’t. In most instances, quite often, they go home to an empty house. So an empty apartment. Are we aware of this? Well, how good your team to be?
So the empathy is noticing, noticing, but then we go an extra stage further, and this is a social skill piece, social skills, meaning. Am I going to say something, I’m going to do something, what am I going to do about this? It’s not just about noticing. This is about actually action as well and doing something so talking to them about it.
So when someone is on a field, it could well be that they’re struggling. They’ve done two or three runs up and down the field. gimme a Michael Zullo, right? Michael Zullo, a little tiger. He is. He’s a great, he’s a great guy. As you got a little tiger, you go up and down the field, like unbelievable. But on occasion, You know, the people who didn’t understand the game, go look at Zullo.
We still up there, down. They can’t get back. Right. He’s done 600 meters of running sprinting, and he’s not back in his position. Now, under conditions where the team isn’t actually connected socially, then some people just forget that. And so they wouldn’t pick up, but that then comes down to this team orientation.
Do we know, do we say something? And if we say something and they give you information back, is it honest information? Or they say, well, just set it. How many times am I in a lecture theater lecturing, to young people, and I say something which could be technical or neuroscience piece around the brain or something.
And then I say, okay, does everyone understand that? What are you worried is going to happen? You’ve been a, you’ve been at college. You guys as well. You’d been in these places who most people go, ah, yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. And then they go out and they leave the dorm and go, what was that about? What was he talking about?
And you’re going to do the same with your staff. You’re going to deliver a message to your staff, to your team and people are gonna go yet. That’s okay. And I’ll go out and go. I don’t know what you meant by that. Because what we say is not necessarily what people hear, that’s the way the communication works too.
So social skills is about making that understood. So I’ve spent many, many an hour watching players receiving the technical analysis on a video screen. And of course all the lights are down, you know, and the is being presented and Arnie, or Renee or Tony Vidmar or JP is delivering the message. And don’t forget, there’s some foreigners in there and they’re all laid out with everyone.
Okay, good. Yeah, no problem. They go out and Dave Carnie might say, I don’t have a clue what you
Faz: said. You know, Mike, I can resonate with that because, before I came full time in may and moved, I was living in Singapore and I was doing an Asia role for Microsoft. And I managed a program, throughout, Southeast Asia.
And, you know, I learnt very early on that, what I said. Isn’t what people understood and, you know, and it would, I would deliver a, you know, some guidance and some tasks and some actions and come back three months later to that particular country and nothing got done, then I, once I unraveled it, they realized, well, what you said.
I didn’t even understand what you said, but obviously confrontation. And I didn’t want to tell you that I didn’t have them stand and analyze different things. So even in that culture, I mean, I guess it happens everywhere, but I really resonate with that. You need to make sure that you have you leave the room, that your message has been heard in multiple ways.
Whether that’s we do a lot in our business that we follow up in writing. We, we, we explain it in more detail in what we call the mate Bible. So you can always refer back to it and get the detail. And then we constantly repeat. Revise that on, on weekly or monthly basis as well, right? Yeah. Yeah.
Mike: You’re taking some brave, brave decisions.
You guys, you know, you’ve got 60 people there and I love this notion of people who’ve not experienced this before. So they’re relying on some experts like yourself with a lot of experience to lead them and guide them. And so. Clarity on what these things mean is so important. And again, back back on the sports field.
So, you know, there are people that are actually more in tune with what, you know, they just see more. So, I mean, I teach, I teach people, stretching their peripheral vision. There are ways of doing so I’ll do exercise around peripheral vision and, but some people are really good at it and they’ve actually got better and better at it.
So they see things quicker. Well, if they’ve not got the social skills to be able to deliver that message saying, you know what, I see their center back. he is really slow on the left when he switches to the left. He doesn’t, he doesn’t move all the goalkeeper could only play to the right or whatever it is.
If you want to actually sharing that knowledge with someone, then actually you’re not emotionally agile, as much as it should be. And so that’s what we’re talking about. So this is the area that I’m working in all the time. I mean, clearly you can hear these communication and relationships, which underpin this.
And then the other final, final piece of emotional agility piece is intrinsic motivation. Back to the passion piece. So you could say I’m using football again, as an analogy you could say, okay, we’ve got a couple of injuries, Dom. And so, this week I know you’re playing central midfield, but this, we want to play right back.
Okay. So it’s really important to play right back. No, I can see already. He’s not like a happy boy about gameplayer, but he’s a, he’s a playmate I
can tell he wants the glory.
Is it nice that he’s one of those late strikers?
not? I shouldn’t say that there’s some, I should be careful, you get rid of that one Dom.
But what I’m saying is, is that you need to understand people’s motivations. So in fact, just by saying that is not going to actually deliver the message. He’s already slot, but he’s also going to be okay with that. Yeah, I’m fine. And he goes off and he’s walking out on the field and he’s not a hundred percent.
So it’s then about, well, how do you actually become close to this person in relation to a human, not as a player, as a human being in order to see this and get his motivation to see, Oh, this is intrinsically motivating for me. I can understand it. Now. I can see it. And too often as leaders, we don’t do that.
We just go, there we go. Or. Not understanding your own intrinsic motivation about why you do what you do. And that’s also really important. So back to yourselves, why do you do what you do? And so I get people to think about that as well, which is exciting. So within the space of Sydney FC or Western Sydney wanderers, or Perth glory NPL, or the Australian women’s cricket scene, trying to get a sense of what is it that they do that for them quite often, people haven’t thought about it.
They just turn up and do it. Oh, well it’s at least a gig. Well, you don’t want people in your team that just a gig because you won’t be a great team. You’ll be a good team, but not a great team. And that’s what we’re after. So trying to unearth that, then we moved to, so that’s self awareness, self management, empathy, social skills, intrinsic motivation.
And then the other, the other thing we add to it all. Resilience. So that to me is the big one that we all need to deal with. And everyone says, there’s more resilience we need now that we’re, you know, we need to resilience when you’re in the war years and when you’re in the GFC and so on. And it’s just about how do you overcome your disappointments quickly and how do you overcome those disappointments with a learning experience to go with it?
And, you know, some people will just wear, honestly for a long period of time. You know, you lost a gig, you lost a deal. I mean, who hasn’t, I’ve lost loads of deals and I’ve lost lots and lots of things on I’ve made lots of mistakes and those things are also part of me. You know, those things are helpful for me, but I actually try my very best in learning from it.
So it’s again, what did you learn from that? Okay. If you’re going to take a penalty and you’re miss. And then you miss it again. And you miss again as per the England football team, you know, and they miss again, what have they learned from that? They’re the most disappointed people on the planet.
have this big sign on the wall.
You can’t see it that says “mistakes are opportunities.”
Mike: Totally. Totally. So it’s this piece and we measure, we measure resilience. So we, and then the final one is leadership. So everyone has a leadership moment. So all your 60 people are going to lead at some point. and I think that’s also about this shift of what I believe leadership is about, you know?
Sure. There are leadership. I mean, I’ve worked actually. It’s been, I’ve been so, so fortunate in my life. I’ve worked with, a great friend of mine is Mandela’s ex head of VIP services guy called Rory Steyn S T E Y N. And Rory went with Nelson Mandela for five years, morning and not morning till night looking after him, you know, it was almost like his body guard.
but Rory says that that Nelson Mandela was the great leader that we saw regularly. As the leader of the South African community and probably a world leader, but many, many times he was the person who wanted to be led by people around it. And that comes down to a trust piece. So when are you going to take over and be the leader?
It’s your turn that requires social skills. It requires trust because you know, that people trust that your opinion matters and so on. So, so all those pieces. All parts of what we call EARL and we measure that. So my focus attention is on that. So as a final example, I’m doing a project at the moment, which is really exciting, which looks at how we communicate on the field.
So do you guys play, do you still kick a ball around
Faz: very loosely? Very loosely. I tore my Achilles last year for, I think that’s one of my boots were put back on the shelf. I think
Mike: that’s great. That’s great. Or whatever sport you’ve done, you’ll have played a sport. If you go on to the sporting field and this is actually true for elite sport, but in every single elite sport in the world.
So I’ve done my research on this, but, But you’ll go onto a field and people will use language, which is totally different, you know? and, and, and then don’t be surprised if you get it wrong. So, and then what actually happens now, which is fascinating to me is that their video analytics is so full on that everyone’s analyzing.
So they’ll analyze a mistake. So, you know, Ross passes the ball to Dom. Dom, doesn’t see Mark coming around the back of him. He’s playing for the other team and he’s taken off and he scores, but the Ana, the analytics sees the video piece. What it doesn’t see is what was said and what wasn’t said. And what wasn’t said was made there’s someone on you or man on or whatever it’s not done, or someone called something different, which wasn’t.
The right time or didn’t call at all. And at certain times, again, as you get tired during the day, you know, if you’re not having a sixth cup of coffee, you know, or the third or whatever it is, people start to flag and then go, Oh yeah. So you don’t have to communicate as well. All these things are part of the signs and symbols that I’m really interested in.
So I’m interested in about how people communicate or don’t communicate as the case may be within this framework.
Faz: That’s amazing. And I think it’s a really core to. Sort of, I know we haven’t met you before Mike, but I think everything you’re saying is I would like to say some of that we’re, we’re trying to deliver to our business as well.
And I think we can learn a lot from this as well, which is great. And I think we can expand on all those different things, but, I think it’s so important training training, the mind is so important. Right. And so, yeah, I mean, Ross
Bosco: and yeah, just to finish off Mike, how can people get in contact with then get involved with XVenture?
Mike: So give you some, a bit of a plug. That’s a kind of, yeah, well, look, I’m going to give you my email address anyway, cause I like to be accessible to people and it could be someone who needs help, you know, I mean, genuine health who’s struggling or it could be someone who just wants to chat or got an idea.
So I always love the challenge. So I’ll give you my email address, which is Mike@XVenture.com.au. But you could also go onto the website, which is XVenture.com.au. you could do that. Can I just flag one more thing? You said something which was so significant. I think something which, which we just got to keep reinforcing.
And I think that what you’re doing is amazing I can learn from you guys. but, but you know, you were talking about choosing people. And you’re choosing people, the right reasons, you know, great. It’s a great science signal to anyone who’s listening to what you’re trying to do as well. So they should be actually participating and linking with you anyway, because I think it’s a powerful thing because most don’t do this and they go in and go, ah, this person has got all these, you know, all this, and they’ve got all this, that’s it we should hire them
not at all. You’ll do it the right way. But as an example. So when we created two TV series called the XVenture family challenge, which was about the connection between teenagers and families, bringing them together and saying, how do they actually work together and grow together? So we did two series.
One was in, in New Zealand and then the other one was in New Zealand and Australia. When I chose the team to do this, and I’ve got a reasonable amount of experience in production, but I decided do you know, what I’d love to do is to have a team of a blend of experts. You know, some videographers who are good, but I’ll also get people who’ve never experienced at TV program ever before and never done any productions before.
So we went and got a scholarship of three young people from around the world. Never done anything. And we got all these young kids wants to do it. We flew them in. We have people who are doing wrangling. Who’ve never done wrangling before. We got people who are holding microphones and never done that before, event.
People had never done that before, but let me tell you the energy was unbelievable. And the videographers who are kind of been around a long time told me this is one of the greatest experiences they’d ever had. And they all came back the following year because we had a brand new group of young people working with us and it keeps us on our feet.
Doesn’t it, it keeps us on our toes, you know, that energy so good for you for doing that. I think it’s terrific.
Faz: I appreciate that, Mike. And I think all the contact points and everything we’ll put into the show notes as well of the, of the podcast for our listeners to get access to, any lasting comments from yourself, Mike.
Mike: Oh, Mate
I’d love to, I would love to enjoy it. I’ve got to come see it. Whether it’s a fancy job in Sydney, wherever I’d love to see it. I think we’ve got stuff to do. I hate new. We’ve got stuff to do.
Faz: Absolutely. Anything last words from you guys
Dom: are very interesting. I’ve
taken a bunch of notes and I could keep going,
Faz: but all right.
Well I’m well, thanks Mike, for joining us really appreciate it. I mean, we’ll, we’ll look to get you on in a couple of months as well. And, and I think this is a conversation that can keep going over multiple episodes. Absolutely.
Mike: Yeah. I’m really thrilled. And thanks for having me. Thanks, Mike. Thanks.
Faz: Thanks for listening to the Let’s Be Mates podcast by the team at Mate
Mike: search for the Let’s Be Mates podcast on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, and LetsBeMates.com,au. Hit subscribe to get the latest episode each week
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