Great Adversity is a Great Business Opportunity

Mar 12, 2021 | Change Management, COVID-19 Blogs, Hot Mess Hotline Podcast, Social Responsibility

In this episode of the Hot Mess Hotline, Kevin Berkopes talks about the Hot Mess that happened when COVID rocked schools: the largest healthcare, childcare, and food programs in the world. 

Kevin explains that the pandemic gave us the opportunity to “expose the education system for its absurd lack of agility” and he adopts the mindset that, “In great adversity, we can create great opportunity by disrupting the standard ways of operating and creating new patterns. Schools have been described as the place where fun goes to die every day from [ages] 5 to 18 and then we wonder when they graduate they can’t think, are not autonomous, and are not lustful for a joyful life.”

Kevin and his company, Crossroads Education, work to support schools alongside parents to help create healthy kids by using relationship-based education. According to him, “Everyone has a solidified opinion on what needs to be done in education.” But very few are actually offering real solutions to improve equitable access and services, especially to balance out the trauma of poverty.

“Incredibly simple is incredibly radical.”

Kevin’s company uses students as the co-creators of tutoring systems in schools so that tutoring becomes available for all. He also offers math departments as a service. You must listen in for this unique, simple business model that solves several problems at once.

The question for all communities is this: How do we use the challenges that COVID brought to create an opportunity to up-end our educational system so it finally serves kids and families?

The question for you as a mid-level leader is this: How do you use the challenges that COVID brought to create an opportunity to up-end your business systems that aren’t working so you can serve your clients and employees in the most powerful ways?

Here are key insights from this episode, but you’ll want to listen to the full episode for all of Kevin’s contrarian words of wisdom.

Personal and professional balance is hard so you must:

  • Ask people to challenge the status quo with you.
  • Be the whipping boy. When working in a political space, the CEO takes the outside heat so that everyone else can do what they need to do.
  • Create a structure to figure out if you are arrogant vs. confident.
  • Attract talent to a cause and culture of a company because the vision of good and the people are good people.
  • Believe that nothing we do is good enough.
  • Tell of your success. Most people and companies are faking it. When you’re advancing faster than others telling their story, share even more.

Here’s what it takes to be CEO:

  • Understand risk by doing the work. You could ruin your family life and life pretty fast going off and doing something on your own.
  • Being an entrepreneur limits your ability to be great at some relationships in your life.
  • You’ll always have to battle people being people.
  • Get used to being told no. You will be said, “No,” to thousands of times.
  • Be vulnerable and ask questions.
  • The things you build as an entrepreneur need to be what you’re passionate about, with a team that values you, and makes money.

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About Kevin Berkopes

“I am an educator, inventor, disruptor— I believe that we can change the world for the better through entrepreneurship. Real change in education will take vision and the will to build new operations and systems. We choose true disruption, and the path that is less traveled.”

—Dr. Kevin Berkopes 

Dr. Kevin Berkopes, Crossroads CEO and Founder have been experimenting with the operating system of how education is designed and deployed for over 15 years. His pragmatic approach to education was built through experience, teaching at all levels of the US Education system. Kevin has received numerous national awards for his research and leadership, including the prestigious Indianapolis Business Journal Forty Under 40 award in 2018. 

Dr. Berkopes studied applied and theoretical mathematics while continuing to extend his professional teaching experiences. His academic work culminated in a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2014. The Learning Commons model began as the model for proving the value of peer-to-peer engagement and tutoring but has since evolved to the operating system for a solution to the mathematics crisis in America. For 6 years, Dr. Berkopes experimented with the Learning Commons model in Higher Education alongside a talented team of undergraduate and graduate students.  The success of this work led to the creation of Crossroads Education in 2016 and has now scaled to work in the entire K-16 sector in Indiana.

The evolution of Dr. Berkopes’ career is built on fundamental beliefs in equity and the right of all children to have access to high-quality education and experiences. The original Crossroads Education has now become a portfolio of companies that deploy tech-enabled platforms and professional services for all types of content domains, including still mathematics.

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