In the second part of our conversation, I am curious to hear his recommendations for the future generation based on his vast professional and life experience. I ask him – and this may be surprising in business context – whether he has seen or held a newly born in his arms this year. My question apparently creates a positive image in his mind and a smile on his face when he answers “No, not this year.”
I want to know his view on how these newly born humans, joining the global work community in 20-25 years from now, will relate to work and how they will define progress for themselves.
The old definition of progress – joining a well-known company with a nice logo and moving up the ranks – is already gone.
“Young people will probably work at 10 companies before they retire and that is fine. It does not mean that they are logo chasing. It is more about what they want to do and how they can make a contribution. Companies are just transit points on the way of getting there.”
“We are stuck in this non-network mode of thinking that makes many companies believe that young people are not even thinking about employer loyalty, but that is not the way of seeing it. Even though as a company you are a transition point, and you are going to have an employee for only a few years, the connection will still be there when the person moves on. It is not like you have lost them. As the person is still part your mesh, the real question is, how do you work together going forward? This is decentralization along time and organizations.”
Decentralization means that also the boundaries between your public, private and social life are blurred.
“It is a much more fluid generation, they want their companies to be more than optimizing clicks and to have a social impact. Their purchase decisions, the goods they use and the services they pick are also dependent on that kind of purpose and mission. They will also ask themselves – How do I contribute to my family, my neighborhood and cities? How can I do some good in the world? This will be their private social life but as they also need work, they will seek to do something tied into that. They might want to interact with non-profit organizations helping disadvantaged kids and be a big believer in blockchain at the same time. How can you do all that within one company? You can’t.”
So, what is the option, I am wondering. “You are going to work with several open source companies at the cutting edge. The mindset is to build your own network that connects all those dots together. You will need to organize your life in this fluidity”, he says.
Given the increasing number of opportunities the new generation will have, I would like to know what his advice is for their personal development. I am touched by how human and non-technical his response is.
“Ironically, my recommendation to the new generation is not any different than to the current generation.
The hardest part is to trust your inner voice, your intuition.
We go through life worrying about other people’s expectations and opinions like – my parents think I should work for a well-known company or all my friends at school think that working for an investment bank or be an engineer at a high-tech firm is the most prestigious or the most economically beneficial, even though my heart says I am not super happy about that. When you listen to these outside voices, that noise drowns out your true intuition.”
“You have to listen to what your heart is telling you to do and pursue that with passion. If your heart is not in it, you are going to go through adversity and you are going to have downs. When the heart and gut is not there, you are going to give up. Which means, you need to do things you really care about.”
His recommendation is not any different for companies. “The same kind of question could be asked to a company as an entity: Are you listening to your inner voice, which are the ideas, thoughts and emotions of all the employees? Or are you listening to outside voices and outside pressures? Which processes, bureaucracies and biases inside your organization block that, and is the noise overwhelming you? The question is valid for large companies as well as start-ups.”
Interview by ASLI TOKSAL.
From my personal experience and coaching practice I know that it takes a lot of courage and discipline to do that. But it is an important message to all of us to stick with what is inside us. This was a very special conversation and one of the most valuable moments on my journey.
If you are interested in training your intuition regularly, a book that I can highly recommend is Developing Intuition: Practical Guidance for Daily Life by Shakti Gawain.
Check out the first part of the interview here, if you haven’t.