Interview With Entrepreneur Leo von Wendorff

 

leo

 

 

Leo von Wendorff obtained his Bachelor and Master of Business Administration at Chaminade University of Honolulu. After a successful career at General Motors, Wells Fargo and the Capital Group Companies, he started Virtual Knowledge Workers.

 

Leo was recently featured on the cover of Boston Globe Magazine, also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune, and on CBS MoneyWatch about ways to scale your business quickly using time-saving outsourcing solutions.

 

Virtual Knowledge Workers are experts at providing virtual staffing solutions to help you grow your business.

 

 

 1.)  What inspired you to launch Virtual Knowledge Workers?

 

 I was working in corporate relocation. While I was in the office, I

still worked remotely. I relocated expats from one country to another. Yet,

I was only available via phone and email. My expats called me the Virtual

Leo. The most frequent question I got was how I looked like. I asked

General Motors and later Capital Group, my past employers, if they would be

willing to give me a webcam. The answer was no. That was ground zero for

VKW. Everything after that grew organically.

 

2.) You’re in the unusual position of helping a Filipino call center

open in the US.  Can you elaborate a bit on the development process for the

project and any unique challenges you’re encountered along the way?

 

It may sound like the world in reverse. Call centers are not a

driver for the US when it comes to job creation. The US is much stronger in

IT, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture and other sectors. Just like you

would go to Germany to find a reliable engineer, or to China to find a

quant (someone who’s really good at math), or to the US to find a CFO, you

would go to the Philippines to find great call center agents. You’re

talking to the Philippines more often than you think you do. Aside from the

fact that the Philippines was once part of the US Commonwealth and that

American English is almost a national language, the culture also prides

itself in providing great service.

 

Prosperity is not a limited resource for which we have to get into a fight

over us versus them. Prosperity occurs when we work together. Doing

business with our allies is not a threat to our wealth but an opportunity

to create more wealth for both.

 

So yes, it's really unusual for a call center from the Philippines to setup

shop in the US. Our Filipino call center agents are now training our US

call center agents. We're not only hoping to re-create the same quality of

service but to grow both sides as they learn from each other. We've already

started merging them virtually. Because of the 12-hour time difference both

locations work their respective day-shifts.

 

3.) What are the key questions and concerns a company should be

considering when it comes to outsourcing?

 

  As a business leader, your job is to work “on” your company, not

“in” your company. Once you have a process, you can hand it off to someone

else. But as an entrepreneur, you don’t want to buy an employee or

time-sheets, you want to buy results. With VKW, entrepreneurs can focus on

the results, the Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

 

4.)  What are some of the steps that you’ve taken to ensure that

you’ve created a work-environment that promotes collaborative innovation

and individual responsibility?

 

  Oh, this is deeply rooted in an old Prussian military strategy

called Auftragstaktik (German), which was developed to defeat Napoleon. In

its simplest form, Auftragstaktik sets the goal but not the means.

 

Our VPAs have a wealth of resources available to them. The client sets the

goal and our VPAs achieve that goal with great independence. Our VPAs are

experienced workers: They are not 14 years old; so we treat them like the

adults they are. See, we expect from our VPAs to provide excellent service

to our clients. In turn, it’s only fair that VKW’s management team is an

excellent employer to them. VKW management services the VPA with all the

tools, training, and resources they need to accomplish the goal of

servicing their client. This also means that they can tap into their

co-workers for assistance to complete the task. This created a deep respect

among the co-workers and a sense of appreciation for the support they give

each other. We’ve also noticed that by doing this, they teach each other

new skills and bring everyone higher.

 

5.) Can you talk about the process of having your Virtual Private

Assistant chosen to be on MTV’s Real World?  What aspect are you most

excited about?

 

 Not sure what the show will be called. It’s a pilot for a new show.

It was more accidental. I’m acquainted with the main actor – can you call

reality-TV-actors actors? Anyway, he works out of the same office as I do.

We occasionally had a drink together. And then one day he approached me

with the idea. I asked one of my VPAs, who has acting experience if she

would be willing… the next thing I knew, she was chatting with the MTV

producer via Skype.

 

 

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