Very Big Things with Chris Stegner

“we are very very small but we are profoundly capable of very big things…”

Chris and I delve into the power of purpose and being part of something bigger than us, starting with Stephen Hawkins quote that figures on the Very Big Things website. We discuss what drives motivation and the secret sauce to successful innovation and scaling operations in today’s competitive digital environment.

We look at how can we find and retain talent in such competitive markets, how can we create a team that works and how we can successfully scale both operations and impact.

How can we make sure that people don’t lose sight of their north star and that we are positively impacting society ?

Chris shares his stories, insights and experience of founding and scaling Very Big Things and working with diverse leaders around the globe.

The main insights you’ll get from this episode are :

–       Technical innovation and excellence company whose name serves as both inspiration and motivation (from Stephen Hawkins: “We are very very small, but we are profoundly capable of very big things”).

–       There is no limit to growing despite being small and it is a choice to have a profound impact or not, regardless of the size of the company; they have lofty ambitions to be the best at what they do.

–       A VC background elucidates that execution strategies are often the roadblock as building good teams that work well together takes too long (from an investment viewpoint) – Very Big Things provides the tech and fills a gap in the agency market.

–       The aim is to help people bring their vision to life quickly, collaboratively and integratively; the company communicates its purpose to prospective clients/hires to show that product-led transformation and growth is tangible.

–       When scaling, it is important to maintain both a consistent cycle of checking in (re. direction and realignment/recentring), as well as a balance between focus on the mission and the need for profitability.

–       The human experience is very important when building and elevating digital brands; clients are drawn organically to Very Big Things because they want to be special and stand out – the retention of people and clients ultimately saves money and builds deeper relationships.

–       Social impact is important: quality work leads to positive word of mouth and a narrow focus leads to a happy team, happy clients and exceptional work – the route to success must provide value and connect with the human being, offering direct short-term impact as well as large-term gain.

–       The impact of generative AI on the tech world lies in the true power of APIs, beyond chat prompts, whereby internal tech systems talk with the AI instead of employees – having a custom system boosts efficiency drastically.

–       Challenges associated with AI: teams must know how AI will affect them and what the company strategy is so as to remove (largely unfounded) panic. AI is good for inspiration but less good for branding so should be used selectively for certain functions only (e.g. HR).

–       Impact of AI on the talent market: companies will be able to do more with their existing team (by removing the tasks no one wants to do) rather than having to hire new people – a 20% efficiency gain means 20% less cost for clients.

–       Burnout can be due not to work, but to a lack of control and a lack of focus [Chris recommends focussing on no more than 3 big things at once] – if people see impact, they are happy, and it moves companies forward.  

–       Top tips for success: regular time off for self-connection to increase productivity and clarity; listen to people without talking and respond to what they’re saying; do not procrastinate or have regrets – this will not move dreams, hopes and ambitions forward.

Find out more about Chris here :

Instagram: @verybigthings

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