How to get ready for tomorrow?

Thankfully for all of us, research shows taking breaks improves productivity. So be sure to tell that to your boss before you go out on a bike ride after lunch to improve productivity.

But, when you get back, don’t fall into the same patterns. If you sit back down again and get cozy, it will all pass you by.

It’s things like this that inspire Caspar, our Group Director of Revenue Transformation and Simplification.

Caspar thinks a lot about what makes people and things work well. In many ways, Caspar believes, it’s about staying in the right mindset.

Staying on top of your game not only requires that you regularly refuel. It also requires an on-your-toes approach to your work. Here are 4 tips from Caspar:

1. Don’t stop sculpting your statue

“If problems arise, and they will, technology can handle them quickly. If the problem persists, we need expert support along with that technology to solve it and avoid repetition.” — Caspar

You’re not going to be perfect. Say that out loud! But you can get better. The great philosopher Plotinus says precisely this. You should never stop sculpting your own statue.

In this sense, there is no destination — or peak of perfection. There is only continual progress. There are always problems that need solutions.

Although I started at Microsoft and I’m not the biggest Apple fan, after reading Steve Jobs’ biography, I realized his obsession with product quality is the reason for his great achievements.” — Caspar

Caspar talks about how reading Steve Jobs gave new meaning to his work. At VEON, we say that “we are customer obsessed.” To be customer obsessed, Caspar notes, you also have to product obsessed.

Even when you do create a great product, there is still more work to be done. Don’t be content with sitting back and soaking up the glory. Because that glory will fade. Keep making your sculpture better.

2. Make friends with the machines

“The digital transformation is redefining the whole customer journey.” — Caspar

Maybe you watched The Terminator last weekend, and are super worried about the machines taking over the world. That’s understandable. But don’t let this fear make you miss out on all the magic that is to come.

The digital transformation, as this movement is called, is still in its infancy. Technology is being used by enterprises to make interactions with customers faster, easier, and more agile. That’s why you can do awesome things like place a food order with a robot waiter in seconds.

At VEON, Caspar says, “We are redefining all the customer touch points from a digital point of view. Every step of the customer journey is being digitally enhanced.” We are welcoming the machines. And cool things are happening, like our work with using chatbots as customer service providers.

Just think how incredible it would be to be a part of something like that. It’s not possible if you’re not ready to make friends with the machines.

So, embrace this brave new world with open arms. When you do start playing with AI, you’ll be surprised by just how fun it is.

3. Find similarities between apples and oranges

“We started with over 60,000 products at VEON. We want to simplify our telecom product bigtime, hopefully down to only a handful.” — Caspar

Remember that time you went to the restaurant and the menu was three pages long. There were just too many options. And even you — the ultimate foodie — became disinterested. That memory probably still haunts you.

Caspar talks about how he is tackling this issue at VEON. “I found we needed a dramatic reduction in complexity,” he says. “Most of the problems our customers have is with the complexity of our offerings.”

At VEON we serve over 200 million customers across 14 emerging and mature markets. We want to create a tailored experience for each region, but this requires scalability. To scale, we had to simplify.

“Though personas are different in different countries, we’ve discovered that requirements and expectations are about the same.” — Caspar

So, our main goal remains the same everywhere: to give customers a seamless and enjoyable product. This means we don’t have to reinvent the wheel everywhere we go.

If trying to satisfy all your different customers gets overwhelming, don’t panic. Step back, and take a different angle. Consider the old adage about comparing apples to oranges. But instead of focusing on what’s different, find what’s similar. And boom! Ideas will flow.

4. Build your wings for any weather

“First, be ambitious in what you want to do. Second, be ambitious in the way you do your work. It’s easy to follow the rules, but try to bring about change. Three, be ambitious in who you work with. Surround yourself with people that challenge you.” — Caspar

This is what Caspar would tweet his childhood self. Think about what you would say, and how would you achieve it. Don’t forget to put #childhoodself in the tweet.

In the end, understand it’s about being ambitious and strategic. Keep the greater goal in mind. Just don’t believe the route is set in stone.

You will have to wander in the Pyrenees so that you can find the right course. You will have to get out of your comfort zone and be challenged. You may even have to literally sit outside of a box (it actually stimulates creativity).

If you do it right, no matter what storm you encounter, you’ll have the right wings to get you through. And at the end of the day, when you’re chilling in the mountains, you can look back with no regrets.

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