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In this episode of The Speaker Show, Maria Franzoni interviews Caspar Craven.

Caspar is a leading authority in Achieving Big Bold Goals through High-Performance Teamwork. A serial entrepreneur, he has built and sold a tech business for a 7-figure sum and worked as a CFO and at KPMG.

He has twice sailed round the world – the first time as a team leader on a trophy winning racing yacht in the BT Global Challenge in 2000/1 and the second time as captain and team leader of his family team in 2014/16 with his wife and three young children under 10 years of age.

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Episode #224

Big Bold Goals for 2022

Maria Franzoni

00:00:17 – 00:01:26

Welcome back to the speaker. Show with me your host, Maria Franzoni. In today’s show, we will be talking about achieving big, bold goals. How is that for timing for 2022? Brilliant, right? It’s like we thought about it. We have The Speaker Show is brought to you by Speakers Associates, the global Speaker Bureau for the world’s most successful organisations providing keynote speakers for events, conferences and summits. My guest is a leading authority in achieving big, bold goals through high performance teamwork. A serial entrepreneur, he has built and sold a tech business for a seven figure sum and worked as a CFO at KPMG. He has twice sailed around the world, the first time as a team leader on a trophy winning yacht racing yacht in the Bt Global Challenge. That was 2000 and 2001 and the second time as captain and team leader of his Family team 2014 to 2016, with his wife and three children, all under the age of 10. Not the wife, obviously just the children. How crazy is that? Anyway? It’s going to be fun please welcome my guest, Caspar Craven. Caspar, you’re looking very well. How are you?

Caspar Craven

00:01:26 – 00:01:28

I’m fabulous. Thank you, Maria. And it’s great to see you.

Maria Franzoni

00:01:28 – 00:01:54

Fantastic. I sort of expected a blue background because of this whole theme of of water and sailing, etcetera. And you’ve got this lovely. If anyone’s watching on video. Very nice grey background looking very smart today. Lovely to see you. I’m going to get stuck in because you know, this this podcast is going out just at the right time for people to start thinking about goals for 2022. So the timing is brilliant. It’s like we’ve planned it, Caspar.

Caspar Craven

00:01:54 – 00:01:56

Just like that

Maria Franzoni

00:01:56 – 00:02:11

it is. It’s just genius. We are just so good. I’m just going to pat ourselves on the back. So listen at this very moment in time, because obviously we’ve been through a lot of, you know, change. What are the trends and challenges you’re hearing about right now from your clients out there in the world of business?

Caspar Craven

00:02:11 – 00:02:39

Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot going on, isn’t that there’s a lot of lot of challenges, and I think what I’m seeing is that people are being a squeeze from from two ends. So on the one side there’s all the changes that are going on in the market. There’s an awful lot of things that are moving, and I think probably the three most consistent themes that I’m hearing from from leaders is we need to be more resilient. We need to be more agile and we need to undertake a digital transformation.

Caspar Craven

00:02:39 – 00:03:29

And so there’s all this pressure to sort of go after the audacious goals, the big, bold goals, because there are a lot of things changing. But then on the other side, there’s a very, very human side of how how people are at the moment. And there’s been an awful lot of mental health issues. Um, people all sort of clearly been working remotely. There’s the challenge about bringing people back together and and how do we do that? And so I think it is trying to get that balance right between, you know, going after the big goals that matter and the growth and the things that everyone wants, but also making sure that everybody is on board. I mean, you can’t miss the whole conversation at the moment around the great resignation and you know, how do we keep our talent on board? So there’s a lot of issues that the leaders have to deal with right now.

Maria Franzoni

00:03:29 – 00:03:36

And you know what? I think those are probably going to go on into 2022. I don’t think these are things that are going to be solved very quickly, are they?

Caspar Craven

00:03:36 – 00:04:12

I think you’re absolutely right. I think these these are sort of, you know, these are issues that leaders at all levels need to need to grapple with because you’re right, they’re not going anywhere. The pace of change, um, is not going to slow up. I’ve been reading a lot recently about the exponential age and the fact that our brains are only wired for for linear growth, and things are changing this exponential rates. So the pressure points on both those aspects of the big bold goals and retaining the humanity is only going to grow. So I think it’s something that we’re going to be dealing with for a long time.

Maria Franzoni

00:04:12 – 00:04:52

That’s really fascinating, actually. The exponential age and the linear growth that I hadn’t thought about it that way. That makes sense to me. So you talked about you know the fact that people want to put in these big, bold goals and want to have audacious targets? I completely get that, you know, especially when you sort of feel like you’ve been a little bit in limbo. Not all organisations, because some have exploded over the last 18 months. Some have, in fact, some new businesses have been incredibly busy as well. But a lot of us feel like we’re sort of being held back, and we like we like, caged and ready to get out of those cages and and go for these big bold goals. But you also mentioned that side of you actually said be we need to be more human. Talk to me about what that means.

Caspar Craven

00:04:52 – 00:05:34

Yeah, well, look, I mean, it’s the title of my book because, as you may remember, people humans, so there’s a little bit of a plug in there as well. Of course, I think the the point of that is that remembering when we’re going after these audacious goals that it’s remembering that it’s it’s humans who drive results and not results, who drive people. So therefore, it’s about putting people first, and it’s very easy to remember that when we’re in this very numbers driven society, you know, driving after the goals were looking for our monthly numbers are quarterly results are six month results are annual results, and it’s very easy to get sucked into that whole mindset of just being about the numbers and people being and afterthoughts.

Caspar Craven

00:05:34 – 00:06:07

And, you know, I definitely remember this when I was working for large corporate that people work worthy, afterthought. And I think there’s this huge shift that that I feel that I see that I hear going on in the world right now. And it really is about appreciating the amazing talents that each person has to offer to the workplace, understanding that each person he does things for their reasons, not for your reasons. Um, there’s the rise of purpose, purpose driven organisations that people want to come to work for an organisation where they actually feel they’re making a difference.

Caspar Craven

00:06:07 – 00:06:37

Uh, climate change, sustainability. This is like a huge one right now, so I think it’s really dialling into the people in your organisation. What’s driving them and that for me, is what being more human is all about about understanding what’s driving each person on your team because if you don’t, you don’t understand your people. They will leave. They will go off and find organisations that appreciate them and their talents for who they are. So I think it’s something really important that leaders need to get hold of right now.

Maria Franzoni

00:06:37 – 00:07:27

Totally agree with you, totally agree with you. And I totally also agree with the fact that often it’s all about the numbers. I remember when I mean last time I was employed, which is a long time ago, because I’d like to keep my own my own employer because, you know, I can argue with myself. But last time I was like, You’re only as good as your last month because I, you know, I was in sales. You’re only as good as your last month, which is really stressful. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way that it’s the numbers. You’re only as good as your last piece of performance. Um, and the point you made about feeling that you’re making a difference, I think, is absolutely crucial, and I can see that’s even more important now with all the disruption that we’ve had and one of the things that you talk about actually is the disruptors mindset, which for some people sounds a bit negative. Why do we view disruption negatively?

Caspar Craven

00:07:27 – 00:07:49

Yeah, so look, I mean, I think the I have this. Yeah, I think you can place everybody on the spectrum. You sort of say, how comfortable are you with disruption with 0 to 10, and I’m probably like an eight or nine other people might be a one or two. Um, and you know, what does disruption means? It means change. And a lot of people don’t like change. Some people love it. Some people hate it.

Caspar Craven

00:07:49 – 00:08:44

Um, but I think that, you know, change, you know, it literally changes our world. And that means therefore that we have to adapt, move out of our comfort zone. And I think for that reason that it’s often viewed negatively by a lot of people. And if you have an organisation that 10,000 people and there will be, you know, imagine a normal distribution, there’ll be people all along that distribution curve, um, of where they sit with that, Um, but you can’t avoid disruption because it’s all around us. So I think it’s being cognizant that you know everyone else will have a different view on that. Um but I think it’s It’s a mindset that that, um individuals need that. Organisations need to, you know, feel comfortable with the pace of change and what’s happening inside organisations at the moment. So it’s really, really important topic.

Maria Franzoni

00:08:44 – 00:09:02

Here’s the thing right here is the thing for me you got yourself. You say you were an eight on that eight or nine. I mean, that’s really high. So I’m an eight or nine. If I’m choosing the change, I’ve decided this is the change. If somebody is imposing that change on me, I’m definitely a one.

Caspar Craven

00:09:02 – 00:09:03


Maria Franzoni

00:09:03 – 00:09:10

So yeah, I think if you have some part in that discussion, does that help you think to be part of that change discussion?

Caspar Craven

00:09:10 – 00:09:42

100% rights engagement, Isn’t it the I mean, what’s the best way to stress your employees out? Right, So your team out is to say, we’re going to go and do this. We’re going to hand breakdown in the organisation. I’m going to go and change in this direction where, as you say, let’s let’s run an experiment. What do we think about this and create that engagement with it. Um, then it lets people people get on board with that because not many people like being told what to do. Well, I don’t you certainly don’t Maria. So it’s Yeah, it’s all about that engagement listening to people. And you know, when people go on their own journey to be comfortable with that change.

Maria Franzoni

00:09:42 – 00:10:00

feeling a little guilty because I have created a lot of change in my organisation from my poor team. So I might have to have a little chat with Thank you for that. You mentioned you actually called disrupters mindset. So the mindset pieces important. Would you say.

Caspar Craven

00:10:00 – 00:10:53

I think it’s hugely importantly. It’s funny. The I’ve just completed, you know, all about continuous learning. So I just actually completed the course at Cambridge University on digital disruption. Just because it’s a lot of our clients are going through that. So therefore, let’s go deeper into that. And it’s the this term that I’ve been writing about playing, playing with around around disruption, and I think one of the core things that I see around the disruptors mindset, everything. Yes, firstly, you need to look at the trends where the world is going and then to imagine what the world is going to be like in five years’ time. But actually to do that, you almost need to take yourself out of the equation. So imagine that our organisation, our team, doesn’t exist. Where does the world look like? And then once you can have a picture of that world, then you need to say, Okay, well,

Caspar Craven

00:10:53 – 00:11:36

where do we want to position ourselves? How do we play in that future world? And as you go through that journey that needs all the evidence, all the stories, all the history shows that actually an organisation needs to go through an identity shift and that’s a really key piece of transformation. So I think that the people who understand that at a personal level going through transformation and change, it’s much easier for them to get that an organisational level. So I think there’s some of the elements of what I call the disruptors mindset, that there’s all these challenges organisations are facing and it’s about that reinvention which came back to that thing about, you know, force change. It can feel really uncomfortable for a lot of people, but I think it’s really necessary right now.

Maria Franzoni

00:11:36 – 00:11:41

Wow, Fantastic. Take yourself out of the equation. That’s really tough,

Caspar Craven

00:11:41 – 00:11:42

isn’t it? Isn’t it

Maria Franzoni

00:11:42 – 00:11:52

really tough? Um, and also to sort of look into the future is really tough. I think as well I’m really bad at that. I imagine you’d have to get some external help on that. Maybe,

Caspar Craven

00:11:52 – 00:12:56

well, I think you have to almost like me. The way I like to think about this is almost like gamify it and to make it fun. And it’s just like, let’s imagine, let’s play because when we go to that sense of playfulness, it’s easier to do that. But I think it starts with just sort of say, OK, what are the trends? What’s changing in our sector? What are the different things that are happening? Um, you know, just like studying the different examples like you know, how Kodak they completely missed their trans transformation that was going on in the marketplace. Different buyers, um, it was previously women who are buying suddenly shifted to men who were buying. Um, the use of images was suddenly going from retaining, um, family memories to sharing and about identity and So therefore it’s important to pick up on these trends for each organisation, Um and then say OK, what? What, what, what? What does that look like? Um, so it definitely is something we need to carve out particular time and space to go and go and do that and, you know, making it fun. It’s so important because people may well be fearful of that

Maria Franzoni

00:12:56 – 00:13:19

Fantastic and the engagement point you made earlier because I’m sure that a lot of people within the organisation will have different views of where the future is going to be. And some of them may be things that you haven’t thought of as a leader. And yet there will be really challenging to think about and to consider. Actually, that would be fun. I think that sounds like a really good day for an organisation to do. I hope they I hope they do it. I hope they plan it in brilliant.

Caspar Craven

00:13:19 – 00:13:54

So I spoke to them a kick off event a few weeks ago, and they had I was listening to the talks. There is, you know, one of the one of the joyful things about being a speaker, right? You hear everybody else’s expertise and it was someone who is very senior in the in the university sector. And they said, Let’s just create a very simple model together And they had I think it was like seven or eight questions, which is, you know, what’s the impact of Brexit going to be on this and various other different things, and then they sort of canvas the room and basically So we ended up having sort of a group view of what the future looks like and said, OK, so there’s our working model of what the future looks like now that we understand that

Caspar Craven

00:13:54 – 00:14:07

How do we position ourselves? How do we adapt to that? But it was just a really fun, simple way of doing that and those choice of the right questions, Um, just against that imagination place was fun and engaging.

Maria Franzoni

00:14:07 – 00:14:32

wonderful, wonderful. So at the time of recording, we are seeing more and more teams going back into the office. I hope it continues. Let’s hope that by the time the podcast goes out, they won’t all be going back home again. But I suspect there’s going to be a little bit of sort of a hokey pokey, isn’t it? Is it hokey? Cokey is in, out, in out shake it all about, um, how do teams adjust to being back in the office? What do they need to do?

Caspar Craven

00:14:32 – 00:15:42

It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? The Actually I I spoke at another event last week, which was 500 people came together, many and many of whom had not met before because people had left during covid. New people had joined during covid and also then take on board that over the past 18 months or say everyone has had a different set of influences because they’ve been working at home. May have had more time with family, like we had more time with family, friends and so and therefore likely to have a different perspective. And the what I observed is a lot of people have different ideas about what’s important to them. A lot of people saying, actually, family is more important to me than it was before. Some people less just depends where you are on the spectrum. So there’s been all these moving pieces, so I think a lot of the assumptions that people have in their minds, right, we’re going to come back together and get on with this. I think those need to be looked at hard. So I think the importance of really listening and engaging a team getting the team united behind the purpose is more important than ever, and it can feel like overkill to spend a lot of time on that. But I think it’s really important because again going back to that being more human thing, people do things for their reasons, not for your reasons.

Caspar Craven

00:15:42 – 00:15:59

Therefore, tapping back into that and engaging everybody, I think, is more important than ever, especially with the prospect of the great resignation that people feel unsettled and looking for fresh opportunity. So I think, yes, spending time with people investing in your people more important than ever as people come back,

Maria Franzoni

00:15:59 – 00:16:12

right, Great advice. So here’s the big question. I’m going to leave you with the hardest question of all. How can teams make 2022 the best year yet?

Caspar Craven

00:16:12 – 00:17:19

That’s a hard question. Easy question. I mean, I think, well, it’s simple and construct, but it’s hard to do and look, it has to be getting your team back together, engaging them with the story asking them why they care about this, Really focusing on that. That that pole star story in the future? Where are we going together? Why does this matter and giving the space for your team to engage with that, Getting them excited, getting fired up for the future. And, you know, by listening, you demonstrate that you actually care about that. Your people, Um so you know, there’s a lot of challenges that collectively teams need to deal with, but if they don’t feel cohesive, they don’t feel listened to, Um, then it’s going to be really, really hard to do that. So, you know, definitely focusing on the people and getting everybody super engaged with where they’re going because there’s a tonne of opportunities out there and, you know, I can’t be more exciting time to be in the workplace right now. You know, the exponential ages change everywhere, but you’re only going to do that if your if your team are engaged in the right place.

Maria Franzoni

00:17:19 – 00:17:28

I actually do have one more question, which is a personal one Cas was a personal one here because I’m nosy. Have you got big, bold goals for 2022?

Caspar Craven

00:17:28 – 00:18:01

My goodness, of course, Of course. So it’s funny. So clearly I do a lot of speaking, but we are building out business. That’s behind that. So helping organisations to go through this engagement piece with people plus also getting involved in lots of different early stage businesses and helping them to tackle their audacious goals their big, bold goals. So, in health care space, um, Covid space in Fintech start lots of really interesting things. So, yeah, it’s all about the big, bold goals.

Maria Franzoni

00:18:01 – 00:18:05

Fantastic 2022 could well be your best year yet to right?

Caspar Craven

00:18:06 – 00:18:13

They were lining up for us. We’re doing all the things that I’m sharing is exactly what we are doing with all our teams, so yeah,

Maria Franzoni

00:18:13 – 00:18:20

fantastic. Caspar, thank you so much for sharing lots of great advice and great content with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself.

Caspar Craven

00:18:20 – 00:18:26

I’ve always lovely talking to you, Maria. And look, I hope this will help helpful ideas out there for anyone listening.

Maria Franzoni

00:18:26 – 00:18:53

Fantastic. And I want to thank everybody for listening to the speaker show. And if you enjoyed this episode, please leave a rating on apple podcasts. You can keep up with future episodes on the Speakers Associates website, which is or your favourite podcast app. And if you would like to invite Casper to come and speak at your next event, please contact Speakers Associates in plenty of time to book him so that you won’t be disappointed. I’ve been Maria Franzoni. Bye bye from me. See you next week.

Live interview

Maria Franzoni is an established and recognised speaking industry expert and one of the most experienced speaker bookers in Europe.

As well as working with speakers, Maria also hosts live shows and podcasts. She currently hosts The Speaker Show podcast for Speakers Associates.

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