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The Dragon’s Den or Vanilla Ice Cream

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

I attended a conference recently. The conference was opened by Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den fame and closed by Sean Durfy of WestJet fame.

O’Leary said some very provocative things, many of which made sense from the point of view of how to be more profitable. His vision for Inclusion by IBEX in its current high growth state surely would be to bring in a ruthless management team accountable to a bunch of pure investors, like him, whose only concern is making money, a team who would “whack” anyone who dared bring anything else into the discussion other than how to make more money as fast as possible and sell out while the getting was good.

Durfy talked about the culture of WestJet, the high levels of employee engagement, the employee ownership and the solid financial performance.  There were no truly memorable statements in Durfy’s talk; it was vanilla ice cream, tasty and non-offensive.

In the crowd of Canadian entrepreneurs, I sensed a definite leaning to the O’Leary approach. There were whispers that Durfy was just an employee.  What did he know about making money?

Ice Cream ConeIn the end I thought about us – the Inclusion by IBEX team. Who would we be if we let the dragons into Herdquarters?  I think we would be nothing; it would be against everything we stand for.  We don’t do things to optimize the value of our company for a buy-out, we do things to optimize the value of the company 5 years from now, the most notable things being doing everything we can think of to help agencies that provide supports to individuals be more successful and working to make our workplace the best it can be, for those of us that work here. That is long term value thinking.

As far as employee engagement goes, I know which approach is the only approach. Have you ever heard anyone talk about how great it was to work at The Learning Company (O’Leary’s biggest claim to fame)?  Have you ever heard anyone talk about a great culture at WestJet? I rest my case!

Dragons only care about where there next meal comes from. IBEX’s have a long term plan to feed the herd and respect their environment. We choose the ice cream – sorry Kevin!

  1. Oh yeah – ice cream, prairie fruit, and IBEX – what could be better! Thanks for staying true to who you are Darryl…that’s why the herd loves ya!!
    Cheers, Deri
    By the way – thanks so much for the Daniel Pink book!! I am stoked that I won!! See, people – it pays to comment on IBEX blog posts!! (I am seeing Daniel Pink speak at a conference in June so am especially happy that I’ll have more insight before I get to hear him.)