Good to Great

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As innovative content creators and deliverers, XVenture is focussed on learning and personal development to help people be more successful than they could ever imagine. XVenture crosses over a number of industries including: education (both higher learning and school), corporate training and health (mental well-being), as well as elite sport. (Mike is the emotional intelligence, resilience and leadership advisor to Sydney FC). Mike explains what the business does and the work they do for the corporate world.

“At our heart is a huge belief in experiential learning pedagogies and that everyone at some point takes a leadership role. Our approach is underpinned by neuro- behavioural science principles and focuses on solution oriented outcomes. When we create content we always have in mind an integrated cross platform delivery solution which includes every form of media: face to face; digital, audio and visual taking account of people’s different learning types, which supports a fast and effective learning process.

“Many organisations regurgitate or post on others research. We do the opposite – fast delivery of our own, based on our experience with projects and clients. We aim to be originators and creators of learning for many years to come. As an example: our recently released app ‘XV Leadership Insights’ is a global first in bite- sized leadership development. Fully- funded, developed, created and produced from start to finish in house. It enables the masses to access world class learning at a fraction of the price of typical programs.

“I have a firm belief that if you get the right blend of people working together, anything is possible. Critical to this, is a strong philosophical base: the notion of self-reflection, calm adjustment and an enjoyable working life, one that an individual is passionate about and feels a deep sense of belonging.”

These foundations provide XVenture with extraordinary flexibility to build unique programs that move individuals, teams and organisations from good to great and understand that to do this requires a commitment to develop and install creative and courageous programs for people. Whoever XVenture works with, there is a commitment to develop programs that are fit for purpose. Often using state of the art technologies and new media to assist in effective learning of people.

Mike discusses how their work has helped clients, saying “The work is extremely varied – always tailored to meet a strategic imperative, be it an individual needing help on something that’s holding them back, an organisation who is shifting its focus or position and needs its market and team aligned, or a unique and original XVenture research piece that will be beneficial for the masses. Over the last two years we have built up a strong global following who love our original content in the areas of EQ, leadership and resilience.”

XVenture has completed many projects since their foundation. They have built TV shows to draw attention to individual behaviour changes under pressure, delivered collaboration programs to engage disparate teams of people to agree the steps for the future and developed MBA leadership units to help the next generation of business leaders understand what it takes to build teams and plan their futures. Also, they have redesigned client communication portals to ensure their authentic stories get told in a meaningful way, put together TV documentaries for both internal training and delivering a brand story and designed and built interactive resilience programs for teenagers to help them make better life choices.

Mike tells us how he wakes up every day looking forward to the possibility and opportunity which lies ahead. This isn’t just about his work but about his personal life too. “Each day there are things I can learn, things I can improve on and be inspired by,” says Mike. “I see challenges as opportunities and get inspired to create and develop solutions to solve them. I see mistakes as another roadmap for the future and a chance to learn to be better next time.

“This is true in my approach to our business as well as our clients. I love seeing people who I’ve had some input in, with their growth and development, and living an even greater life as a result. At the end of each day, I have a very important habit of self-reflection, being thankful for the day and striving to be better the next. I encourage as many people as possible to do the same.”

It is tough starting any business. According to Mike, starting XVenture was no exception. However, he has overcome many challenges in the corporate world and led a great team in order to be an award winning and successful CEO in the region.

“When you start a business, I don’t think it matters what part of the world you’re in, the biggest challenge you face is having enough capital to get started and then ensure you have enough of a reserve in those first couple of years,” says Mike. “Personally, you have to be prepared to make sacrifices, which likely includes a change in lifestyle for yourself and your family. When you are doing work which is unique and innovative, you have to also be prepared to push through the pessimism/ opposition you may face from people and organisations around you. You have to be resilient.

“I have always been a firm believer in the power of the collective. A great team is bigger than the sum of its parts. Over the years, I have been at board and executive level for a number of high profile organisations globally and my approach towards hiring people has always been about attitude and aptitude. I was fortunate in my early career to be working with great mentors who fostered this attitude. I think that it’s important to provide a framework and then let your team just go for it. Give them space to be successful as well as space to make mistakes. I see making mistakes as a fundamental and critical piece of someone’s growth and development. It’s about how you deal with that, and how you support people to deal with mistakes and then move forward.”

Besides Australia, Mike notes that he has had some experience of working in other APAC countries including Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Japan and India. This has been important for the company when “I can’t pretend to be an expert but have some experience of working in other countries in the region. I learned that each country has a unique and beautiful culture. To be effective, we need to be mindful of this. We need to work through the cultural nuances that can help or hinder the delivery of our content. Over the last year, we have had some experiences of working in some of these countries which has confirmed that what we do is relevant. One particular target market is India who like many nations in Asia have a high yearning for learning.”

Technology is, and will continue to have a major impact on business over the next few years. Mike explains the way XVenture use technology to make their services more efficient and effective for clients.

“Bandwidth growth and programs such as NBN is helping us deliver content more effectively. Right now we are working hard to build programs to take advantage of electronic delivery systems. Sophisticated apps, electronic learning and virtual, 360 degree visual platforms have now emerged which makes it easy to access learning content in a fun and meaningful way. This isn’t just about information availability but real experience. Then the job is about ensuring that people know where to access this, and with the amazing size of the APAC market should bring the costs down on learning content that was once just in the hands of the elite.”

In the future, Mike sees himself passing on the torch but continuing to have a prominent role at the company as he explains.

“My life has been about sharing knowledge and passing on everything I have learnt to those around me. I believe it’s the way that not only people, but organisations grow. In five years’ time, I can imagine my business partner, Daniela Kraus, being at the helm of XVenture as the CEO, and I continue working as an adviser, supporter content contributor and mentor to the great team we already have at XVenture.”

As well as Mike’s own future plans, he also speculates on the future of the company. XVenture’s fortunes have soared since they appeared on television five years ago. Mike tells us what lies in store for the firm in the future.

“The initial years of XVenture have helped us understand those things that work and those things that don’t. Now we’re much clearer of the possibilities. They are large and exciting and definitely replicable. We certainly have aspirations to make this work across the region and in 2017, we will be looking to take more brave steps to make this happen, whether this is through significant strategic partnerships, or for the first time, provide opportunities for interested parties to join us on the journey. We have plans in the next twelve months to launch a number of other rich learning programs which will connect in the same way.”

Company: XVenture
Name: Mike Conway, Founder & CEO
Email: Mike can be contacted via LinkedIn Message
Web Address: www.xventure.com.au
Address: Suite 1, 385- 389 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest, NSW 2065
Telephone: 61 2 9922 1622