Synectic business services team members at Xerocon 2023

Business Insights and Inspirations: Xerocon 2023 Recap

Xerocon 2023 was a whirlwind of innovation, insights, and inspiration for our business services team. Here’s a recap of six valuable topics shared by a huge number of speakers across the two days in Sydney.

1. Sustainability in Focus

The growing importance of carbon accounting was underscored by speakers like Sam Elsom (CEO of Sea Forest) and Jessica Richmond (CEO and Co-Founder of Sumday). Key learnings include:

  • Insights into carbon emissions is crucial for sustainable business practices.
  • To get started on your sustainability journey pick one thing and do it really well.
  • Understanding their carbon emissions will help businesses tell their sustainability story with confidence. The idea stems from customers wanting to know if the businesses they’re buying from are engaging in sustainable practices.
  • If businesses are marketing themselves as sustainable, they need evidence to back it up. From a review of 247 businesses undertaken by the ACCC in March 2023, it was found that 57% had made concerning claims about their environmental credentials!
  • With international reporting standards emerging in this area, and commitments to carbon neutral targets by large corporates in Australia, smaller businesses may be locked out of the supply chain if they cannot provide their carbon emissions data.

2. Inspired Companies

Founder of Inspired Companies and author Lisa MacCallum’s presentation on Inspired Companies left a lasting impression on our team. Lisa emphasised the power of the “New CEOs” – Customers, Employees, and Outsiders.

Key takeaways included:

  • The influence of the New CEOs surpasses that of traditional advertising.
  • These stakeholders are looking for companies to trust. They want to know what you stand for.
  • Inspired companies have:
    • Inspired Purpose – Stand for an idea beyond your product or service
    • Inspired Action – Deliver with authenticity
    • Inspired Profit – Make ‘good’ money

Lisa’s book, Inspired Inc, comes highly recommended, promising further exploration of these concepts.

3. High Performance Mindfulness

Emma Murray‘s talk on high-performance mindfulness was enlightening. Emma taught that we each have an ‘A Game’ and a ‘B Game’.

Our ‘A Game’:

  • Reflects our key strengths and assets, which we can control
  • Results in our best execution, or our best selves

Our ‘B Game’

  • Is all the other stuff that is out of our control
  • Results in unhelpful thought patterns and sub-optimal performance

Emma’s strategies for cracking the ‘B Game’ loop and managing negative thoughts were particularly impactful. This loop is a cycle of thoughts > feelings/physiology > actions > and repeat. Emma offered practical steps to interrupt this cycle:

  • Catch the B Game – identify the thoughts and feelings that trip you up
  • Stop and call it out
  • Focus on the present through motion and breathing

Emma’s emphasis on the connection between mindset and performance resonated with our team.

4. AI – Transformative Technology

Discussions on AI were a highlight again this year, with relevant insights for business owners and advisers from speakers like Mark Pesce (Futurist, Inventor, Author, Educator and Broadcaster), James Bergin (IT architect and strategist), and Soon-Ee Cheah (GM of AI Products at Xero). Key takeaways include:

  • Xero’s ongoing investment in this space continues to build on the latest powerful iterations of AI. Tools like Analytics Plus increase business owners’ insight into their business through features such as short-term cash flow predictions. The bank reconciliation process continues to improve with AI now suggesting how to code transactions that don’t match invoices or set bank rules.
  • The need for people in business and their advisers to continuously upskill to leverage AI effectively. An area of particular interest was how to get the most out of generative AI (e.g., AI chatbots) and use them safely.
  • The potential of AI to transform industries. It is already giving us the power to automate the mundane and the routine, but it’s potential for giving us greater insight and speed seems to be exponential.

The consensus is clear: AI is not a passing trend but a transformative force reshaping how we work. However, we came away understanding that technology is only ever a co-pilot and not a replacement for human intelligence.

5. Staying Creative Over the Long Haul

Kamal Saram, Managing Director of Rezilium, delvered a session on stress and achieving a state of ‘flow’, providing valuable insights:

  • Flow is achievement without exhaustion or stress.
  • Decide who will get your best energy. (Give your best energy to those who will come to your funeral!)
  • Decide what energy you bring into the room.
  • Learn to rest the mind, not numb it.
  • Focus on genuine connections. Be present, in both your personal and professional life.
  • Create an appreciation culture and a feedback culture.
  • Stop managing time and start managing energy.

Kamal’s message about prioritising well-being for sustained creativity struck a chord with our team.

6. 10xing Productivity: How to Get Stuff Done with a Small Team

Expensify shared valuable tips for hiring and retaining talent and fostering a learning environment. Key points included:

  • Hire for traits, not just experience. Look for values alignment, quick learners, and interested people.
  • Engage and optimise your team by creating a learning environment full of opportunities.
  • Prioritise a global and remote workforce. Go where the talent is and allow people to work from where they need to be.
  • Trust employees and focus on outcomes, not hours.

Expensify’s innovative approach to employee engagement left us inspired.

Xerocon 2023 was a rich tapestry of personal and business ideas, insights, and inspiration. As we return to our roles as trusted advisors, we carry with us the knowledge gained, ready to implement positive changes in our work, personal growth and client service.

Are you ready to transform your business?

Businesses operate in extremely complex environments. Our business advisers take the time to understand your business and your needs, so we can unravel the complexity and offer you innovative and pragmatic guidance. Connect with a Synectic adviser today to start your transformation.

Special thanks to the following team members for their contribution: