FIDI’s latest LiM (Leaders in International Moving) forum saw business leaders from across the world head to Switzerland, to improve their leadership skills, develop themselves personally, and share thoughts on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing their businesses today.
Known by many as the moving and relocation industry’s ‘Davos’, a LiM seminar is targeted at senior managers, leaders and relocation executives.
The three-day event involves intensive sharing and discussion of ideas with industry peers, including team building activities to strengthen participants’ leadership potential.
According to Chantal Fera, manager of the FIDI Academy: ‘The focus of the LiM is clearly on developing your leadership skills, and identifying your weaknesses and strengths in this area through teambuilding and other activities. ‘It gives industry leaders the chance for self- development, and to discuss opportunities with their peers and look with them for creative solutions to pressing industry challenges.’
The FIDI trainers hosting this year’s course, which took place in February, were John Seal of Hilldrup and Ernst Joerg, former Dean of the FIDI Academy. Seal says: ‘We are really facilitators of the LiM, rather than trainers as such. Many of the participating leaders have vast experience and, rather than training them, we are trying to facilitate group discussions focused on leadership and business – or company- specific topics.’
He says attendees get a wide range of benefits, including the chance to participate in in-depth discussion of current and future trends and the opportunity to learn from their industry counterparts. The location is a major draw, too. ‘The Swiss Alps were the perfect place to pause and get away from the day-to-day hustle to focus on leadership – and provided many opportunities for participants to step outside of their comfort zones,’ he says. ‘And of course the people are really the ones who make the course.’
Those who took part had their own reasons for making the trip to Switzerland. Tina Borba of Crown Worldwide USA took part in FIDI training 23 years ago – and remembers the positive experience. ‘It wasn’t easy, but I loved it and I have quite a few friendships to this day from that seminar,’ she says. ‘Having been employed by the same company for 36 years, I wanted to benefit from listening to how others run their businesses, solve problems and handle employee relations in today’s world – and to come home with new ideas that I can apply in my day-to-day work and to be revived and inspired by the programme.’
Wesley Thome of One Moving in Brazil was also there to build on his experience gained at one of the MiM 2 seminars held in Switzerland several years ago. ‘This was a very important experience for my professional development,’ he says. ‘The simple goal of becoming a better human being day after day is reason enough to invest in my personal growth. I believe the LiM makes me not only a better professional but also a better person – and being able to share these learnings with my colleagues is my main reason for participating.’
Voerman’s Pauline Collins had a formative experience in 1990 with the FIDI Academy when she had only been in the moving business for eight months, attending the then FIDI Institute (now Essentials in Moving) in Brussels. ‘My only experience at the time was typing quotes and booking surveys,’ she says, ‘and the course gave me a great opportunity to expand my moving knowledge.’ ‘I attended the LiM because of the opportunity it gives you to share challenges and successes, which allows us to learn from each other, with open discussions to build on my existing experience.’ Most of those who made the trip to Switzerland were doing so because of the enthusiastic recommendations of others in the business.
‘I had always been hesitant to do it, but I thought it may be time to get out of my comfort zone,’ says Borba. ‘I have a colleague that went a few years ago and loved it. Then, while we were in France [at the FIDI Conference] I spoke to Derek [Duffy, FIDI Academy trainer] and Ernst about it. I knew then that once I put it out to the universe I had to follow through.’
Thome was also invited to attend the LiM by Joerg. ‘For me, that was a huge honour,’ he says. Collins, meanwhile, was approached to attend the course following the diversity panel session at the FIDI Conference in Cannes, when one eagle-eyed participant noted that the 2023 registration did not, at the time, include any women. ‘I am not sure why I hadn’t considered attending before the approach or why the numbers for females attending the course were low,’ she says. Collins says: ‘In spite of my experience, I was apprehensive about attending the course, but when I saw the list of attendees I was confident that I would benefit from the experience of my industry peers.’
Abhilash Nair from ISS Relocations, UAE, says he is pleased to have taken part in the 2023 course. ‘I have taken away a lot of positive things from this, which I have been able to identify and put into practice in my own work,’ he says. ‘The workshop helped me a great deal to realise certain things that I was ignoring, and opened my mind for further learning and improvement,’ he says. ‘I found it interesting, and it was well structured. I really enjoyed the mix – less theory and more practical work with discussions, exchange of thoughts, and so on. Everyone’s leadership tasks – based on asking questions and making suggestions – were impressive, too.’
Seal says this year’s LiM group was ‘thoughtful’ and participants provided interesting insights on the business from differing points of view. FIDI’s Academy will continue to be a vital support tool to progress moving industry staff, in difficult and more straightforward times. ‘The climate is always right for training/development,’ says Seal. ‘Those who took part in the LiM have benefi ted from an enhanced network of fellow leaders, best practices from others, and a renewed focus on personal growth and development as a leader.
FIDI Academy – diary dates
The following FIDI Academy events are coming up in the next 12 months:
- MiM 2 Barcelona – 17-23 September
- EiM Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 30 October – 3 November 2023
- New course! DSP Seminar: 13-17 November, Milan, Italy
- EiM Bangkok – 26 November – 2 December
- LiM 2024: 29 January – 2 February 2024, Switzerland