When you move every few years, you get really good at collecting experiences. Yes, uprooting and replanting your life so often is tough, but life as an accompanying spouse in the Foreign Service or military has its benefits: you travel, learn new languages, meet great people, and get inspired by the world around you.
All of this can nourish your soul and enrich your family, but what if you could use this experience to improve the lives of others? As author and podcaster Chris Guillebeau says, “Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better.”
Inspiration in action is transformative and something our LVL-Up Strategies team embraces (with ingenuity and collaboration being two of our six guiding principles). In fact, the LVL-Up Strategies origin story is a case study on inspiration in action. And because a majority of our team members are accompanying spouses (or EFMs as we are often called), every project our team touches benefits from our global inspiration.
What does “Inspiration in Action” mean?
Admittedly, I don’t know every instance of inspiration in action on our team, but I’d love to share with you tangible examples I have witnessed.
- During career reinvention, some of us have hired 100% remote contractors or have been 100% remote contractors ourselves. When a client is ready to hire their first virtual assistant, we can take the lead on recruiting, hiring, and implementing the project management system needed to manage the work.
- Nonprofit experience means our team understands how to create emotional connections with stakeholders through written communication, video, and pitches.
- As business owners, many of our team members had to leverage technology to run and scale their services. With more and more clients looking for lean solutions, our team can recommend tools, approaches, and strategies for scaling sustainably.
- Whether it is seeing architecture as we travel or buying our first home from overseas during a pandemic, our social media coordinators tap into real customer journeys to create client photos, captions, and newsletters.
How can you create a culture that encourages inspiration in action?
You don’t need a team with global experience to benefit from inspiration in action. You need a company culture that celebrates diversified thinking and creative problem solving.
1. Be open to inspiration.
Crystalize the current problem in your mind, and be open to seemingly random or off-topic thoughts that ping your brain. You never know where inspiration will come from. When you immerse yourself in your client’s strategy and plan, ideas come to you. Not all are good, and you don’t have time to do them all, but you allow inspiration to find you.
2. Train team members to think about global solutions.
Global solutions aren’t limited to location. What operations solutions could help solve a marketing problem? How can your experience in real estate translate into an implementation plan for an architect? Train your team to consider how their knowledge and skills can be transferred to projects outside of their wheelhouses.
3. Discuss lessons learned but never forget to celebrate wins big and small.
Continuous improvement is important, but never forget to visibly appreciate the work your team did to accomplish a goal. Do you have a system for both collecting feedback and sharing wins? If not, this is a place where you can shape your company culture.
4. Don’t work in a silo.
Bounce ideas off of a team member in another project or department to see if the diversified thinking can bring about a better solution. Make it a point to connect with others to get to know them as actual people who have lives outside of work.
Create a safe workplace environment that encourages new ideas and approaches, and you can build a company that has the potential to become an extraordinary market player.