In a world dominated by division, polarity, and cultural disparities, Peter Ivanov strives for unity. As an executive coach, keynote speaker, and discus world champion he teaches companies, managers, and individuals how to successfully lead Virtual Power Teams.
“The path to where I am now wasn’t laid with roses. Before I discovered my talent for setting up virtual teams, I struggled with leading global teams.”
When Peter took over as the lead of a six-person team across two locations, he realized that communication, especially in moments of criticism, wasn’t easy to handle. As a team leader, he challenged himself to find alternative approaches to using emails since he felt as though they were counterproductive. A major turning point was when he was leading a global shared service project with a big team spread across Europe. Quickly he realized that being the smartest person in the room was not a good strategy, particularly with a virtual team.
“Virtual Power Teams unite people. I discovered that first, you have to let people shine and discover their unique talents. This makes them feel special and consequently as a team, you reach a point where team members have interdependent goals and their success relies on both their individual strengths and peer collaboration. Ultimately, this allows for top performance.”
His passion for uniting people and enabling dialog doesn’t surprise considering his own cultural experience. Peter grew up in communist Bulgaria and, by the age of 28 when the country itself turned to democracy, he finally had the chance to live abroad in Hungary and Germany. Experiencing the centrally planned and structured communism of Bulgaria, then Hungary on the path to democracy and democratic Germany was a unique opportunity that shaped his perspective. He learned to live in various countries with different structures, people, and mindsets. Now, with his award winning management concept Virtual Power Teams, he sees how much he’s benefited from these distinct vantage points. For one, Virtual Power Teams gives managers, entrepreneurs, and socialpreneurs the opportunity to work with leading experts worldwide to deliver top results, provided that they can unite the experts into teams. Secondly, freelancers can work on exciting projects around the globe without having to relocate. And finally, it allows organizations of all sizes to expand.
As a former IT manager and now coach of Virtual Power Teams, Peter’s work is strongly linked to technology. He sees tech as a massive enabler that bridges gaps between time zones and continents. Still, technology has its downsides.
“The risk of social media is that it’s used to define one’s values. It lets you express yourself instantly and get immediate feedback. It touches on the basic psychological foundations of self-worth, recognition, and acceptance by others.”
Therefore, Peter thinks that you have to be mature enough to use social media as a way to voice opinions and share communal experiences.
In his work life, however, technology has been of great benefit. Now that Virtual Power Teams has gained momentum with multinationals, SMEs, startups and NGOs, the father of five girls has had to develop excellent time management skills to get things done in time and not overwork. Not being bound to fixed working hours or a single office makes being both father and businessman easier.
“For me personally, new work means the ability to cooperate globally with like-minded people, not being restricted in your work life, being able to shape how you work and feeling empowered to choose your own way. New work gives me the ability to choose the why—the purpose and mission of my work.”
For Peter, the next big challenge to improving work life will be how we measure work, switching from a time-based to a result-oriented view. For the businessman, the future looks bright, and working more with NGOs in the future gives him the chance to make the world a better place.