Cultural immersion in Qufu, China: Part 4 of 4

Many aspects of my role as CEO require the skills which I have focused on during this retreat- reflection, team work, and trust. With the global economy still struggling, I imagine that 2014 to 2016 may be commercially challenging, but hope that with the constant flow of new incentives which run through the company (growing teams, new technology, website and incentive schemes), we will continue to face the challenges.

The background to my trip

In May 2014, K2 Corporate Mobility's founder and CEO, Nick Plummer, left for four weeks of total cultural immersion at a retreat run by Shaolin monks, in the UNESCO world heritage city of Qufu, China. Now back in Singapore, Nick shares the business drivers behind his decision.

Extract from my diary: Part 4 of 4

I have built up such a lot of respect for the Shaolin Masters, whose focus is quite often on respect and discipline. “Make every moment of training count, don’t go back to your countries without achieving the maximum benefit from your experience”. My lead- Master Han, is a 34th generation warrior monk, who at only 5ft something has the presence of a giant, literally bristling with power. It’s an odd concept for a Western mind, but all of the Masters seem to have a sort of force field of energy around them, physically noticeable to those in close proximity.

I committed myself to working hard this week in everything I do, keeping my discipline, to end on a high. Meditation is not always an easy task, with at least half a dozen flies buzzing around your head, feeding on the sweat from your legs.

I took my final “Thursday power training day” with trepidation. It represented my final chance to nail that mountain nonstop, which I was determined to do. I’ve learnt from previous weeks not to gas early, to keep my breathing consistent and take one step at a time, at a constant, steady pace. As I reached the halfway mark, the lactic acid in my thighs started to become unbearable, but I gripped both fists, walking with my hands above my head to open my lungs- I’ve learnt that clenching another muscle helps to distract the mind and redirect the Chi for relief. Finally made it to the top, non-stop and feeling all things considered pretty good. The session continued, climbing the temple steps, fifty very steep marble plinths to the temple entrance, whilst carrying another person, power hopping two steps at a time and climbing down like spider man, head first!

K2 Corporate Mobility: Our strategy

Reflecting on my trip, aspects of it have been inspiring- the friendships, disciplined exercise, just making do with literally next to nothing and being humble for a change. I hope that I been able to develop and understand my brain and character in a different way. It has highlighted to me the need for relaxation to open the human brain, not something always considered in a busy London environment.

In my personal life, growing up under constant financial struggle left a very long lasting “line in the sand”, highlighting to me a personal responsibility to break out of the constant struggle to make ends meet. This in turn drove me to establish the business which I now head, and my twenties and thirties were broadly sacrificed to growing K2 Corporate Mobility. Tens of thousands of hours dedicated to one goal in my mind- success.

As I leave the trip, large questions remain in my head- where my family and I will move to after Singapore, and where am I taking K2 Corporate Mobility over the next ten years.

Many aspects of my role as CEO require the skills which I have focused on during this retreat- reflection, team work, and trust. With the global economy still struggling, I imagine that 2014 to 2016 may be commercially challenging, but hope that with the constant flow of new incentives which run through the company (growing teams, new technology, website and incentive schemes), we will continue to face the challenges.

K2 Corporate Mobility has grown so rapidly over the past ten years, and the next decade will see us focusing and developing our strengths in Australia, Dubai and South America.

About the article: This is the concluding part of our four part series on Nick's stay in China. 

About the author: Nick Plummer, CEO, K2 Corporate Mobility
Nick has 25 years' experience in the global mobility industry- founding K2 Corporate Mobility in 2002. Nick currently lives with his young family in Singapore, focusing and driving business growth in APAC. In his role as CEO, Nick has led K2 Corporate Mobility's strategic development, opening eight offices and now employing almost 100 people globally. He continues to lead relationships with K2's clients, proud that 80% of K2's first year customers are still engaging our services one decade later. 

 

Sources:
IMAGE RIGHTS: Jonathan Kos-Read (2012). Grave Sweeping Day. Available at: https://flic.kr/p/bL8HFv. License here