May 13, 2022 | By Joyce DiMascio | Image: Two of Song Division US team delivering a ‘Remote Team Anthem’ for an online audience of 1,300 people at SeneGence’s global virtual conference in 2021.  The speakers and SongDivision musicians were in a TV studio, in front of a massive live Zoom Wall so the attendees could be part of the experience.

Missed the first part of this story? Read it here.

micenet caught up with SongDivision’s founder, Andy Sharpe, to talk about the work of his team across the globe and to find out what is at the heart of the great Australian export success.

The company has an exciting 10-year plan and Sharpe has been ambitious with it. In that plan are new learning and development programs for leaders of teams.

“We worked with prominent learning and development experts at Synaptic Potential to create a brand-new program – Leadership Track,” explains Sharpe.

“This program focuses on transforming teams to lift their leadership capabilities without overwhelming them with time-consuming theories.”

He says the music-fuelled sessions are packed with easy-to-apply tactics based on six fundamental leadership elements – team cohesion, storytelling, belonging, feedback, creativity and engagement.

The Leadership Track initiative came out of the COVID experience of working closely with clients to keep their staff and clients connected.

He says the learning modules will be particularly relevant to the meetings and events sector as they are designed to help companies keep their people and create a safe environment for talking about goals and driving engagement.

While the move into structured learning and development is a major new tier of the SongDivision business, events will always be core to their DNA.

SongDivision’s founder, Andy Sharpe

Sharpe says he finds it hard to single out his favourite event. SongDivision could be working on nine events in four continents on one day alone.

But pushed a little more, he confesses. “I love a Song Slam,” he says. For Song Slams, companies split into two teams for a fun collaboration around music.

“Our specialty is to co-create. That’s when you release oxytocin – the cuddle chemical.

“When humans co-create you get out of ‘fight or flight mode’ – it puts you into the pre-frontal cortex which is where you can relate to other people, you can empathise – it’s where creativity happens. It’s the part of the brain that allows you to think about the future.”

He says music and co-creating around music helps event organisers get people in the mood where they are receptive, welcoming, warm and open-minded. And that’s the power of music at events.

And like all other leaders, Sharpe too gets his dose of inspiration from others.

For him, it’s from his peers in the network of entrepreneurs called EO.

“I meet with my EO group. I’ve met with my forum once a month. They’re the people who inspire me. It’s the entrepreneurs, small and medium entrepreneurs, and also the businesses within our industry.

“You see their businesses fully formed like they’ve been there forever. But they haven’t been there forever. You know, someone built them. I am inspired by other entrepreneurs and knowing that it’s never easy.

“It’s always a challenge and it’s a beautiful challenge. It’s always satisfying in its own way because you’re creating something with people. That’s where I get my inspiration from.”

With Sharpe, the conversation never strays far from his business partner and wife, Marsha, the team who run the offices and the events and the talented musicians in the company’s greater family. He credits the team for much of the company’s achievements.

When he’s not working, Sharpe surfs, plays music and hangs out with his family which includes their 11-year-old daughter.

They are based in Hawaii and this puts them between Australia and the US, Asia, the UK and the rest of Europe. That works for his global business, but being back home in Australia is always good, he says.

Australia has produced outstanding events industry exports. Sharpe is one of them. A quiet achiever, smart, nice and someone who just gets on with it.

I’m sure glad he was wearing that lanyard when we were both working out how to swipe our hotel keys.

Otherwise, I may never have had the chance to make the connection with this talented Australian whose passion for music is helping to make businesses stronger all around the world.

SongDivision’s special brand of music interactivity with the Gold Coast InstaHit video produced on the show floor at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) in Melbourne in March.