It is our great pleasure to welcome Gary Whitehill aboard our enterprise. Gary is a world-renowned futurist who is here in Novi Sad helping senior leadership define and implement strategies which ensure Eipix Entertainment develops into an adaptable, resilient, and scalable network for the 21st Century.
To learn more about Gary and his work across every aspect of Eipix Entertainment, continue reading!
To begin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
GW: My name is Gary Whitehill and I am a futurist. My job is to understand where the world is going and why, and help architect dynamic and practical plans that help companies, cities and nations stay relevant in the 21st Century on a global stage. My experience has been gathered across more than 80 countries, from Rio De Janeiro to New York City, Kabul to Nairobi and so on. Based on these experiences I’ve created a proprietary methodology called “FutureReady.”
FutureReady means developing strategies which require less time and less resources than conventional wisdom, but which create exponential results. Exponential means much larger than the effort invested to generate the return.
Tell us a bit more about this methodology…
GW: Today’s ever changing environment makes planning increasingly difficult for business leaders. Big ambitions can be realized in the 21st Century only through the application of FutureReady scaling techniques. With FutureReady strategies, business leaders achieve exponential benefit, which is the story of how to make the typical 1+1 =2 equation transform into 1+1 = 11!
We approach becoming FutureReady by looking at a business through 4 interlocking and cumulative pillars:
The first pillar is Directed Innovation (DI), defined as the forward motion of creation, that which builds the original wave of cascading momentum fueled by human ingenuity.
DI creates an ignition environment which can trigger action, deliberately or accidentally, unleashing and then focusing the energy in a system to adopt a new emergent behavior.
At the root, all of us are creators. We forget this, but at our limbic root we’re all looking to create a family, a company, a product/service. Life is about growth, and growth is about creating. Directed innovation assesses the creative ideas and catapults them into a focused reality.
The second pillar is Planned Technology (PT), defined as platforms which accelerate collective intent and action, that which creates the means to maintain energy over time to generate a repeated wave pattern. The impact on the system is often determined by the amount of correct energy applied and levered into it.
When business leaders are searching for ways in which the physical world can be redefined in the 21st Century, it is imperative to understand how technology shapes the now and its corresponding future.
Once you have the opportunity to create, build and innovate, we need a platform to accelerate that intent, which is exactly the true, pure definition of technology.
The third pillar is Shared Values (SV), defined as shared themes and characteristics toward a clear goal which galvanizes community-driven action, that which creates the underlying technological foundation of the 21st Century instead of solely information.
Community is what makes the impossible more probable. Any large disturbance can be steered in a way that accumulates energy while constraining the wave, so that it can have a tremendously outsized impact.
When business leaders are searching for ways to march toward order in an inherently chaotic 21st Century networked world, it is imperative to understand that shared values is the glue which gels disparate people, places, and things into a coherent, actionable, and defined narrative.
Shared values answers questions like, “what is the organization’s mission and vision, and what is its passion, purpose, cause and belief?” These are the things that create a framework for a “rallying cry.” The rallying cry engages the warriors who are loyal to the company, the company’s “tribe,” been known as the folks who don’t just work from 9 to 5, and who do what is required. Warriors are the engaged ninja’s who feel a visceral connection to the company, and who are willing to go to that next Nth degree for the company to triumph. Organizations in the 21st century that are FutureReady have shared values at their core because they are what makes an organization adaptable, resilient and scalable.
Last but not least, the final pillar is Inclusive Wellness (IW), defined as when business leaders combine shared values, innovative environments, and technology, they receive applications for moral ideals in action. These ideals in action are the cornerstones for understanding what would make the lives of our employees better, helping them to be more efficient in achieving their goals and working more optimally.
Remember, we are all in this together! But what we often forget is that there’s no such thing as a “company” – it is an abstract concept. Technically, you and I and all the people here, we are the company. We forget a lot of times that we are the company that we all want to create, we want to accelerate that intent, we all have values that are always at the root of the organization’s success, and that we want the best for each other. That’s what Inclusive Wellness is about. Companies are people. It’s all about the people, because they are the ones who drive families, communities, companies, cities, nations and this world.
These four pillars are the foundation to building an adaptable, resilient and scalable organization that can withstand the rampant change, turbulent geopolitical environment, and hypercompetitive market of the 21st Century. This is especially important here at Eipix Entertainment, and particularly here in Serbia. Having a treasure chest of strategies that not just make sure that the company survives, but also provide a platform for all of us who are a part of this company to have the life we believe we deserve is something few are fortunate to experience. That’s what’s really important, and that’s why I’m here. It’s not just about one person or the company – it’s about all of us going on a journey together, attaining something larger than ourselves.
How did you find out about Eipix and what brings you here?
GW: I met Mirko (Topalski, the CEO of Eipix) and Adrian (?ura, the CTO of Eipix) at the WWVrsac conference. Over time, they told me more and more about the company, about some decisions that they had made and some they were also looking to make. They had a vision, but no clear path on how to get there or make it happen. You know, understanding where you want to go is one thing, but actually knowing precisely how to get there and why is a whole other ballgame.
The reasons why I am here are simple: when you take a closer look at the organization and Mirko as a leader there is unbridled possibility. Couple that with the fact that most of the first 30 employees are still in the company, and they’re smart, engaged, and hungry – this means the pieces of the puzzle to turn this into a rocket ship are here. How we get there is a very large transition in terms of human capital, strategy, tactics, positioning, and policies. The challenge is grand, but there is no doubt that this company will transcend into a whole new stratosphere.
Right now, thanks to the leadership of Mirko and the team, the company is well positioned to scale to 1,000 employees. I am here to make that a reality through FutureReady strategies which accelerate the transition and growth. Most importantly, my job is to make sure the leadership team is principled in their decision making in a way that sets us up to grow even bigger, better, and more diversified. Currently, Eipix Entertainment is growing in every way, and that is what we need to continue to do: mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially – these 5 areas “anchor” the livelihood of the business.
Will your role at Eipix be limited to establishing a system that can operate on its own, or will you be here beyond this point to oversee and modify the strategies?
GW: That’s a great question, but one for Mirko to answer. Organizations are always in constant transition, particularly organizations of this size. Every decision has direct consequences now, whether it’s a new HR policy or a new security policy. Consequences affect a lot of people.
I am here for the next four months making sure the company gets onto the right track. We already have a speeding bullet train, but we need to put it on the right rails to make sure that it keeps going. That’s going to take about a four months of heavy lifting. Once the train is on the right track, we will have to discuss with the conductor (Mirko) what is next!
Overall, the transition that Eipix Entertainment is going through as a company is going to take between 17 to 24 months. It’s not just about putting the right strategies in place for the right reasons, it’s about changing mindsets, about growing and understanding and implementing new strategic partnerships, and new value chains across the world. That takes time, not just to have a strategy, but to implement it, tweak it, get feedback, and then decide what to do next – either keep it on the train or throw it off and build something else. I never look at these things as “Gary the Growth Advisor vs. Mirko the CEO or Eipix the Company.” I look at this as a partnership, and most importantly, as a friendship. If you’re not in this game to build friendships first, then what’s the point? There is no point. The only thing you can take to the grave is the experiences you’ve had with great people who give a damn about something meaningful. This company has a lot of great people and a compelling vision. So as long as the company is willing to have me, in some form and capacity, I will always be around!
Where do you see Eipix somewhere down the road?
GW: If Eipix Entertainment has the courage to continue making the right decisions at the right time, by investing in the things we need to invest in both now and over the long-term, then there is absolutely no reason why this company cannot rise to become one of the largest powerhouses not just in the Balkan region, but all of Europe. You’re looking at a company that could easily grow to five or ten thousand people. Now, this is going to take a little bit of time. Can we get the rocketship there by 2020? If we do the right things at the right time for the right reasons, and we’re humble enough to do the things we need to do, then absolutely. The funny part about this company and the way it is positioned is that there are very few companies who could even get to this point. Sure, there have been mistakes – but that is the reality of business. We’ve learned and jumped across tremendous hurdles, personally professionally, organizationally. Now we have the opportunity to turn the business into a Harvard Business School Case Study on how to build and scale a global company from the Balkan region. And if I have anything to do with it, that will be reality by 2025.
Very few companies have gotten to this stage in this country, and very few companies stick around at this size, especially in this region. This is an opportunity for all of us at the company. What we’re all here for is to build a great company so that we can all achieve our dreams. To accomplish this mini utopia, everybody needs to pull their weight. This is where we are as a company right now: young, pimply, high burn, high growth, and a bit of a college college. Now we need to mature a little bit. This is not college. This is a PhD program we are growing into, where we must be precise, accelerating the right thing with intent for the right reasons, with the right people. That’s the shift the public will start to see toward the end of the year and especially into next spring. This isn’t a game, even though we make games. This is the real world, and the real world needs us to be successful. This city and country need us to be successful, and that is what we are going to do, come hell or high water.