I have been around. I have seen business owners, managers, supervisors & employees in several countries and continents. In many cases I have observed that in job offers, the companies are looking for highly experienced people. However what do you call “experience” and what kind of people the businesses of today actually need? Do you want a perfect resume? Years of experience? Best university or self-made professionals? "silver spoons" or "scrappers"? Specialists or multipotentialites?
This is the case of experience, motivation and ideas around those aspects. Many great thinkers have something to contribute to this topic. The readers who are more interested in the topic of harnessing the power of your people, look up names like Simon Sinek, Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Roseline Torres, Emilie Wapnick and Regina Hartley.
There is a difference between linear growth (development) and organic growth. One is – for example in a company – growing through school, high school, university bachelors, masters (and perhaps doctors degree), inside one department or area upwards on the career ladder. The other is building up ones knowledge base by taking different courses, working on different jobs and widening one’s views, and applying to higher positions in a whole different area later on. Or better yet, starting one's own company. This is most common in current times, as industrial age is over. Though we still have old dogs in the business who are playing by the industrial age's rules. In the information age the people in a younger age tend to switch more jobs, mainly since the horizon looks different for them. Nowadays, in many societies the proportion of young explorers is growing larger, and in the opinion of many bright minds, that is the way to go.
Problems with people who climb to a position linearly, specially with people who – by that time – are relatively older than University graduates or "scrappers" with a little less "experience", are connected to motivation and energy amongst other things. Why did I but experience in quotes? Because I would not compare a time in a position to experience in general. I would rather call it “working time in certain positions” and not real experience. Experience is more qualitative than quantitative.
Some other issues to hang up between "old dogs" and youngsters out there:
People who have been doing the same thing or are specialists in one area look problems while being “in a box” in a certain way. They see the problems and solutions the way they are used to, they do not have - and often refuse to see - the latest information about the specific topic, and fail to see the connection with some outside aspects, which could be possible solutions.
Best Universities provide best of people
The linear growth people have been mostly doing their job, being so busy with it that they have a kind of tunnel vision. They do not know anything out of the bounds of their speciality, job or task list. They have been travelling on one road only. They have not seen other trails, which would have offered them much more than this single one.
Universities have often access to many researches, databases and projects that broaden the students mind, knowledge and creativity. As several researches have shown, there is a huge gap between what science knows and what business does. And one of the reasons is, that not enough people are hired from fresh university graduates. Those fresh people, hungry for change and high on energy can offer a lot before they become older, tired and fixed in their ways.
Even if university graduates are hired, many “old dogs” do not want to listen to them – it goes against their pride and ego. And so instead of bringing new valuable insights to the company, the graduates are blunted to be the same kind of workers with the “don’t-care-can’t-change-stuff-only-here-for-my-salary” attitude. Their true spirit and knowledge gets rusty forced to doing the things nobody else wants to do and that are pushed on them. Or in other words they are put down until they feel they need to be the same in order to gain any respect or to develop their career.
Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose
Those are the factors that really drive us as employees, business owners and people. Those three are the core of the new model of business. Many “old dogs” are used to the old model themselves, so they do not understand the motivation and the actual drive of almost any business. Because they dont understand the same aspects of the best people who (could) work in it. In 21st century there should be these three factors at play in the motivation model (Dan Pink).
In current times these three aspects are the foundation of motivation. Supporting your staff by giving them those three, they engage and take your company further than you ever dreamed of.
Old dogs do not know the feeling, do not know the concept and therefore do not know to provide it, or to be inspired by it. They are used to the linear way: finish school, get a job, make a career, live easy and retire comfortably.
There is a great illustration that describes the balance throughout a lifetime. It is made as a funny picture, however it has a lot of truth in it.
Young people have little to no money, however they have greatest amount of energy and almost as great amount of time. They thrive on their autonomy, mastery and purpose to do what they believe in, improve themselves and all around them and thus, give the best of themselves.
Adults have little to no time, they do have money but the energy is starting to run out. That is where people get comfortable in their position, doing only what they must, not trying to improve themselves that much, nor their environment. They are in their comfort zone mostly. And not so keen to leave it.
Elderly people have plenty of money saved, they have good amount of time, but energy to do stuff and to thrive often lacks greatly.
Silver Spoons vs Scrappers
Silver Spoons are your "perfect" candidates: top business schools, top grades, long job experiences. They are the ones who seem perfect on paper. They are the specialists. The A-students. They know how to play by the book and climb a clearly visible stairway towards the heights.
But they are not the driving force in real life. They are not the creative ones.. They are not the A-players. They are not the ones who connect multiple disciplines to create more value.
Scrappers are your confusing candidates: maybe some schools, could be very different topics; average, could be above or below average grades; a lot of different jobs in different areas. They are the ones who can be great in real life. They are multipotentialites, The creative and bold B or C-students, who dare to break status quo. They dare to take risks, they dare to try something new and different; they know how to translate their different-area experiences into any other area; they know what to do in order to scrap and fight their way through the clutter and climb all kinds of obstacles in order to reach the heights.
Specialists vs Multipotentialites
A specialist is growing linearly. Step by step he or she evolves from school to school, often being high graded and becomes very good and something certain. Those people are necessary in many areas: doctors, lawyers, chefs, accountants, university professors and other areas. However in the business environment of these days, multipotentialites are the driving force.
A multipotentialite is growing organically. He or she has multiple interests, multiple jobs in very different disciplines, often does not get the highest grades in school for not going deep enough to most of topics. Multipotentialites know how to translate the experiences in different areas into other areas and thus be dynamic and flexible in a more faster way than the specialists. Innovation happens in the intersections of two or more fields. Specialists usually sit in only one field. They travel one road and bump into no intersections.
Linear vs Organic Growth
A human being is an animal. An animal from nature. And nature is often change - that is organic growth. Human beings try to bend a lot of aspects under their control and create linearity. However the best growth is organic: acquire the skills, indights and knowledge as is natural. Explore multiple roads, wander and be exposed to more intersections.
True talent can come from anywhere: the hotel chain Kempinski has a good example for this:
“Michel Gehrig is the Vice President of Talent Development at the Kempinski Hotels’ Geneva headquarters. He has spent most of his career in F&B working as the Executive Chef for a number of well-known international hotel chains. A year ago, Kempinski made a surprise move and offered Michel Gehrig his current position.”
Excerpt From: Dr. Lily Lin. “Interviewing Successful Hotel Managers.” Lin and Pavelson B.V.
The fact that someone started on one road, does not mean he or she could not end up being successful on another.
Make your own conclusions
So the "perfect" linear growth silver spoon specialist-kind of candidate would not always be so perfect after all. Which is the group that actually does the most? The long-educated specialists? The old and "experienced" guys? If one looks at many start-ups and most valuable companies in the world today, it can be seen that it is the young “inexperienced” people who started them. Talking with many people I have been told that "everybody cannot be Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg". Everybody cannot be the owner and CEO of the company - that is the truth. They don't have to be. They can work in the same spirit though. Many people want to work in a similar role, working FOR great companies. They can "play the orchestra" in your company - give the value to your company instead of creating a new concept and a strong competitior to yours, And be sure that they will find more efficient dynamic solutions to problems that the managers of your company don't even perceive (yet). And your market share will shrink as the organically developing multipotentialite scrappers do not even want to climb a career ladder any more and build one for others to climb instead.
These are just some thouts on the matter. What thoughts or questions does all that information spark?
Hei! Ma olen Mihkel Kahju - M-Management Solutionsi juhtivpartner ja juhtiv kasvuhäkker. Olen entusiastlik maailmaparandaja mitmel alal: turundus, haridus ja ettevõtlus. Pean end mitmetahuliseks ja multidistsiplinaarse taustaga isikuks. Need omadused on just need, mis teevad inimesest ideaalse tegevjuhi või ka kasvuhäkkeri ;)