It has been calm on my blog since December, when I started my new position at a German business school. Actually it is my alma mater and I studied there for my bachelor and my master. Now I decided to come back in order to join the Study Advisory Service Team. It is still lot of learning and for sure stressful. Not growing into the position as team-lead for the first time, but also to adapt to the new target group and contents. But it is as I have imagined! In one of my final discussions with one of my former direct reports, he mentioned one (if not the only) concern he would see occurring with my new position. He predicted the position would not be “international” enough for me. Uhm … what do you mean?
It is not about countries you visit, the mindset matters!
I mean, of course it is nice to work in a truly global (but virtual) team. To regular travel abroad and meet colleagues. To explore foreign cultures. However, by having a closer look in your surroundings, you might find places like my new work-place. Small urban campuses, where student and staff from dozen of nationalities come together to life, learn and research – true melting pots.
Of course, as with almost every university, a major focus in our study programs is on international mobility. We all do love measurable, quantifiable outcome variables. But there is one thing being more important and going beyond working in an international environment. These melting pots are growing and educating future global citizens. And in the end, internationalization is not about mobility, it’s about mindset. This mindset will and already does distinguish between successful managers and not as successful managers. At least this is my true believe!
Future talent need to have intercultural as well as citizenship competencies
Recently I was asked by parents, why I decided to stay in Germany while having pursued studies in International Management. Let me explain: Especially in business schools the focus is (and probably should be) on educating successful future managers. In many instances, internationalization has the simple meaning to provide cross-cultural competences and knowledge. Hence, to develop tomorrow’s leaders. Major learning objective: persuade other people in a globalized work environment.
Some argue this education still has a very narrow view on capitalism. But from my own experience, more and more often, ethics, responsibility and sustainability aspects start to rise in importance in higher education (as it is also asked for by prospect students). A study on the Impact of the Erasmus Student Exchange published in 2014 showed: “Internationalization brings benefits to employability. It has an impact on transversal skills that employers value, such as curiosity, ability to solve problems, resilience, teamwork and openness.”So what should we take away from this?
Education of future managers needs to incorporate ethics, sustainability and responsibility in a globalized context as core competencies. Content and courses and hence context and experience in this area should further increase employability. Meaning innovation, creativity and global solutions will be leveraged – and this is what this world will need in the future.
And on a personal note: Hey, I love to travel a bit less, and explore less cultures on my own, if I have the chance to be part of an international team; on a global campus; educate tomorrow’s global citizens.
Hope to see you around, folks!
P.S.: I work hard to find some more time again to post on a more regular basis!
As my current days-off are under the theme „Get out of your comfort-zone (at least once a day)“ I thought, would be great to work on my first own infograph and test my skills around this. For sure not the work of an art-director, but still I thought this became a sharable piece.
Professional readiness is a hot topic around the globe – but yet no common understanding
While working on several projects around employability & career management in the past months, I thought there is one common thing for employability: there is no common ground. Even though employability, growth-learning, professional readiness and competence management are meanwhile hot topics on individual, organizational and political agendas, there is little practical insights and even less common understanding. While doing some desk-research for the first time, I looked into approx. 10 countries – and guess what: I had a file with more than 20 definitions (and this list was not even exhaustive).
More dialogues on competences needed between employers and universities
So why this infographic? I want to provide a first means to dive into the perspectives of different stakeholder groups: Talent (Students & Graduates), Universities and Employers. All of them might have a slightly different take on employability – but especially between Higher Education and Employers the views and opinions differ widely. But if esp. those two groups don’t start to discuss more openly and constructively with each other there will be little advancement. And employability – even though it is a political goal – has the skills, attitudes and behaviors of individuals in the focus. It is about individual’s competences.
On the other side, already within higher education institutions, the opinions about employability show big differences. But more on this to come in one of the following posts.
If you have additional data-points of interest, your very own experiences and/or opinions on this topic, please send me an email or feel free to comment! I would love to have some more dialogues going on around this.
… and enables scalable learning and growth!
How does an organization know it has hired the right people? When the business is flourishing! But what does make a business successful? What is it that let employees excel in their daily work, and what is the difference between a great leader and a not so successful leader?
There are probably manifold possibilities to answer the above questions, but I truly believe there is one common variable that makes the difference!
Successful people and organizations are passionate about what they do!
In a recent Blog-post I talked about the story of the game changers (in German). The game-changers in a nutshell are those people that will help an organization to not only stay in business but to be innovative and a leader of the future business world. I really like to take the example of Kodak vs. Instagram where people, or rather people’s attitudes and personalities made the difference between filing bankruptcy and being a ground-breaking modern business case.
Passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. While especially in work
environments in the past decade(s), efficiency and employee engagement where the measurements to rely on. Today, this is not enough anymore. Firs companies have understood that they need worker passion in order to be able to survive and succeed in the future. Worker passion, according to Deloitte is coined by the three following personality skills:
Commitment to domain – any employee shall have the desire to have a sustainable and lasting impact on a particular industry or function. Obviously, the impact shall be increasing over time and with seniority. Ask yourself whether you are really willing to leave a footprint for the next generations in what you do!
Questing behavior – is about actively seeking (new) challenges, in order to improve individual but also team and organizational performance. Assumptions shall not be taken as granted by a passionate worker, but be challenged by this person as soon as a different approach might be possible.
Networking disposition – Passion is for sure enabled by a deep disposition to continuously seek interaction with others. The interactions are used to grow the own network by building strong and sustainable relationships. These relationships shall be mutual beneficial for both parties and be based on trust to gain new insights.
How can one become (more) passionate?
Normally, you don’t find passion along the way to work! This is something where other (more reliable people than me) have already written a lot about. But I believe, what is crucial here, especially for young talent and institutions educating them, is:
- Be prepared (in terms of expertise)
- Be interested in what you do
These are two rather essential prerequisites in order to develop passion over time. However, if you talk to successful people today, they tell you the passion was their core to success and in addition it seems like they are having lots of fun at work, then this is probably only a rather vague argument for the actual success. Also those people probably had hard and not so fun times in their work. But if you work hard, you normally become better in what you do and thus you eventually have the chance to spend more time on the fun parts of your work and have the chance to discover more interest into the topic or function and increase the footprint you can leave for the next generation. So it is not necessarily the passion you need to work on, but rather more reflection on the things you are already working on.
Passion enables scalable learning and can create a better work environment
If you are passionate about a topic – even at a rather early stage of your individual career – you need more or less no more additional targets or business objectives to know what you need to work on. Your manager or leader does not need to enforce your work by doing micro-management, but can give you the freedom so many employees would like to have.
In the end, having more passionate people in the right positions, would help to modernize the work-environment and make work again more enjoyable for many! However, especially if you are about to enter the workforce and start thinking about your dream job, do not forget, that there is more than just your individual passion to consider.
Unlock the Passion of the Explorer (2013); Deloitte University Press: Report 1 of the 2013 Shift Index series; last retrieved 31.05.2014 from http://deloitte.wsj.com/cfo/files/2013/09/Unlock_Passion_report.pdf
Individual Competences in a fast changing world
Employability and Job Fitness are buzz words in today’s business order. Today, both talent and organizations live in a time which is influenced by some mega trends. Among these trends there is the digital revolution (e.g. Industry 4.0, Sharing Economy, Digital Avalanche) going on, which affects both private and professional live. The half-time value of skills has – compared to a few decades ago – shortened to only a few years, if at all. This means, new skills have to be learned faster than ever before, in order to remain employable. However, as these developments not only affect an individual, but also processes within organizations, employers are more and more looking into values and personal-competences within talent. The ultimate goal is no longer to increase efficiency, but to learn continuously and to grow trough the learnings.
Getting to the dream-job by reflection and innovation
The mindset of an individual can make the difference. Employers are looking for talent, that questions existing assumptions, initiates change and stimulate innovation. It should no longer be a goal to avoid mistakes, but to learn from them. However, the big-picture – again for both, the individual and the organisation – should be kept in mind. The one showing this mindset and attitudes, has rather good chances, to not only continuously develop himself, but to also work on building an individual dream-career.
Reflection around finding the right placement needs to happen on 3 dimensions
Reflection and growth learning attitudes are crucial in a modern career. In order to be successful and find the right decisions, reflection (especially for graduates) should happen on 3 dimensions. Not necessarily the first job-offer, nor the employer you always wanted to work for, might be the best solution. This is not only due to the above mentioned digital revolution, but at least heavily influenced by this. I once cam across a slide by Gordon Orr, which since then I have implemented into more or less every presentation I gave to about-to-graduates. I believe these dimensions and questions, are not only relevant for finding a job in a dedicated digital industry, but to find a job in general in the fast-changing, digitalised economy. What about e as individual, what about me as employer, what about me in my selected branch…
Think about it and find the answers for your self!
For my German speaking followers, you can find an adaption of the above text in the 2/2014 issue of CAREERSTEP-magazine in Switzerland
Often, the terms competence and skill are used to describe the same thing. Recently, I have read an Academic article describing an equation to proxy the construct of competency, showing that skills as they are currently defined are only one component to calculate competence as the ability of an individual to (out)perform on a given task (e.g. Fulfillment of requirements to fit onto a particular Job-description). I believe the variables included could be manifold. However netter starting with a few first constructs that can be broken down into smaller – but actionable and more tangible – pillars, than not starting…
Skills are normally understood as a learned capacity to carry out a certain tasks within the limits of a particular resource (e.g. time, energy) to maximum certainty and efficiency. Competencies however are more a set of of behaviors or actions needed to be successful in a given context.
as defined above, can be understood as an ability trough knowledge or experience / practice.
Generally three different areas of skills are distinguished:
- Personal / Life-skills
- e.g. Persuasion, Commitment, Networking, Communication, Digital Literacy, Numeracy
- Professional / Entrepreneurial Skills (are normaly divided between Domain General and Job Specific skills
- Domain General: e.g. Time Management, Leadership
- Job Specific: e.g. Design, Community Management
- Functional Skills
is the practical or theoretical understanding of a subject. First one needs to be aware of something, than one can become familiar of something (e.g. how to use something), and then eventually understands how something works. The knowledge function is especially important if we look further into the hierarchy of different levels of skills.
An attitude is “a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols” (Hogg, & Vaughan 2005, p. 150). While attitudes include a behavioral component, there is not necessarily a fix outcome relationship between these.
Attitudes are formed by three pillars (The so called ABC Model of Attitudes):
Affective component: how a individual feels about something (e.g. “I am afraid of job interviews”)
Behavioral component: the way the attitude we have, influences our behaviour (e.g. “I am all swett and start to shiver when I enter the interview room”)
Cognitive component: this is about a person’s belief and/or knowledge about an attitude object. (e.g. “I believe I don’t have the right profile for this position”)
Attitudes can have several functions they serve an individual:
Knowledge function – predict an outcome
Self- / Ego-espressive function – communicate (who you are or what you want to be)
Adaptive function – social status / acceptance
Ego-defensive function – protect (one-self)
The basic idea behind the functional approach to attitudes is, that these can help a person to mediate between their own inner needs (e.g. expression, defense) and the outside world (adaptive and knowledge).
Competences are heavily influenced by experience, self-esteem, and reflection.
Depending on a given combination oft he above mentioned aspects, a competence as a set of behaviors can be seen as an asset. Competences are however combined into domains. E.g. in order to be employable, an individual needs to show a combination of competences. As eventually tons of external “noise” and individual interests may have an impact on how these assets are deployed in a given situation, employability is (and all other competence bundles are) context dependent.
Hogg, M., & Vaughan, G. (2005). Social Psychology (4th edition). London: Prentice-Hall.
While around 2000 long-term commitment and caring much about the future where not the main aspects young talent was searching for, the EU talent market saw a change in preferences and goals over the past years. As of 2008/2009 with the start of the US-Financial crisis shortly followed by the EU-economic crisis, Job Security rose continuously as a driver of attractive employment. Especially Young Talent that started their higher education around or shortly after this time, so those entering the job market since the past couple of years, is fully aware, that a crisis like the last can easily change their life. Examples from Southern Europe, but also around the globe are constantly present and provide living examples how fast a whole generation can end without having a qualified job.
Employability & Career opportunities provided by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) are today, for a vast majority of students around the globe, the most important aspects for choosing a particular university or study program. Similar in importance resides the factual expertise in a particular field or function provided by means of the Educational Offering of a HEI.
The context has made young talent today more than ever aware of the fact that:
- Young Talent experiences a continuous renewal where education, work and leisure will occur at different life-times.
- Competencies and Skills need to be adjusted continuously and new ones need to be learned
- Retirement is not necessarily linked to a particular age.
This leads to a situation, where on an individual level this talent begins to develop a mindset of permanent beta & scalable learning based on which the young generation of talented workers shows particular attitudes at the workplace. But all directed towards one overall goal: Life-long employability. Meaning to have the right assets in terms of competencies (skills, knowledge and attitudes) to remain employed or gain new employment where needed.
However, also as employee the individual continuous his quest for employability and requests several aspects in line with this from an attractive / ideal employer – all of them guided by a rather conservative set of values and overall long-term orientation. In the following 3 aspects we see in several European Talent Surveys conducted by Universum in 2014:
- Management: Needs to seek to develop and encourage young talent in their development. Good leaders are enablers which manage to unlock some passion in their co-workers. In the quest for continuous learning and improvement, todays Management Style needs to be built around open communication and feedback. Long-lasting and deep relationships are core objectives of young talent. And if some organizations have problems in promoting the right people to become managers, they need to at least ensure, that every team has one skilled leadership-person.
- Benefits: Status symbols have changed! Well, not entirely. Of course a nice company car is still attractive. Extra pay or compensation obviously as well. Who knows what future will bring. Thus Pension schemes are en vogue for young people again. On a side note: Young talent wants to get married and become parents within the first 3 years of their working Life (Vorwerk Familienstudie, 2013; Embrace: Values in GenY, 2014). But the most desirable benefit for young workers is continuous training and development.
- Work-Life-Blending: Nothing more important than to have a positive work atmosphere. What else will keep you healthy and in good spirit than this. Too often this generation is confronted with burned and bored-out co-workers. Young Talent has seen with their parents that work is not everything. Thus Work-Life Balance was the #1 Career Goal for many years. However, today the terms Work-Life Blending and Life Careerism are being heard more frequently out there as talent understands that they are now in a position where they can use their career to fully exploit their own potential and realize their dreams. By the way: This does not mean, that leisure time and family planning are not important. No, not at all. But the day has 24 hrs, right?
Summing up, we currently are facing a generation entering and shaping the workforce that is different in their mindset than a couple of years ago, but lot has happened in the past 5-10 years. And this generation still is grown up as individualists in an individualistic world.
Nothing new, I guess. However let us start with the definition of those Generations currently in the workforce, in order to have a common understanding of which cohorts we refer to. Mainly, the definitions differ between different regions, based on societal and economic developements. The following boundaries reflect a rather Western-European perspective.
The Matures born until 45 should have more or less retired by now, so we we can focus on the following generations.
- Baby Boomers – born after WW2 this generation grew up with a lot of pressure to rebuild the nation and to grow the economy.
- Generation X – grew into a society that was still shaped by the late consequences of WW2 and needed to overcome a situation of little economic wealth and security. However, this generation tried to increase efficiency (in almost every manner, no matter if private or professional life) and thus advanced to a generation of “Zero Mistakes”. As the engagement and efficiency at work increased, this generation started the quest for a propper balance between work and life.
- Generation Y – also called the millenials, those that have been teenagers around the millenial. First generation that grew up at the edge of the digital revolution. The first ‘true’ digital natives will be found in this cohort – those that not only use computers and digital applications, but they develop a literacy around computing and digital skills. A generation that for the first time works under a new business order – mobility, growth learning and quest for purpose are major themes. Some first movers try to integrate their work and life into once.
- Generation Z – just entering the universities and the workforce, those born after 2000. I am curious to check on latest developements and findings around this cohort. Currently I do not dare to put any suggestions how this generation will develop.