Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: AIESEC, alumni, exchange, internship
It’s been a long time since it was called a time to move on for me. Since then, I have grown up a lot and I must accept that it was hard to learn to get by without you but I have done so while keeping you in my heart. I didn’t want to be like those creepy ex-boyfriends that show up uninvited.
Every time someone talks to me about becoming an alumnus, a dinosaur, head for the future, going into the life long connection or however you want to call it nowadays I tell them exactly the same thing, and AIESEC, the problem is that you get so deep into our hearts and go so much into the core of who we become, that letting go is initially a pretty hard thing to do; Accepting that it is someone else’s turn to learn and experience the amazing lessons and friends you gave me was a hard task initially and it required me to make a clean cut, a hard cut. So I wasn’t in touch for a while. I needed to catch up with myself without you.
And as your acronyms changed; Careers progress, people move countries, continents and new lessons are learnt; Life continues and one moves on, unavoidably. It seems that all that time I spent with you passed in a heartbeat and it seems that life is going by even faster than that, if my head could comprehend.
It is only after a couple of glasses of wine and in the company of those who shared you with me that I dare to say things like “Years later and I haven’t found anyone that understands me as well as my AIESEC friends”, because it is once or twice a year that every alumnus, dinosaur, headed for the future or life long connected accepts they are nostalgic. It doesn’t matter really how many years we spent with you we all get it here and there. If there is no wine confession, there will be a cryptic Facebook post.
And you were so good to us AIESEC… Many of us are getting ahead in many ways. The business skills that completed my academic education… You made it happen. May we be successful artists, technologists, scientists or business people, entrepreneurs, activists or politicians, we are conscious citizens in this world thankful to that, which made us who we are today: YOU.
There are few magical moments like having a conversation with a truly inspiring person, a real change agent in the middle of a conference on any imaginable topic only to discover they are too an AIESECer.
And then, the question that I really want to ask you pops in our heads… What is the job of an alumnus? Here is the advice I gave to some soon to be alumni:
- Join an alumni association.
- Give advice when you are asked for it.
- Act as a mentor of current members that want to learn something from you
- Chair a conference, a workshop or a local planning weekend when you are asked to.
- Get a trainee.
- Pass on your piece of history to those that can use it.
- Let AIESEC know you are there when it needs you.
- Remember ONE roll call and keep an AIESEC T-shirt; you will need it once.
- If honoured with the invitation, become a member of a BoA or an auditor.
- Show in small and meaningful ways that you will always be an AIESECer.
AIESEC, you have changed so much too. It is hard to keep up with what happens with you in only a few years time but any alumnus can feel nothing but pride when as I went back to you this weekend I discovered
- You do twice as many exchanges in my country as you did (2000!).
- You are present in twice as many universities as when I left you (1700!).
- You change the lives of three times as many students (86000!).
- You expanded to 30 new countries, making a total of 110
Who wouldn’t be proud to be part of a legacy like that?
We had an identity and now a way; We have done projects, leadership, issue based learning, programs and many more; There was 1996, 2005, 2010 and now 2015; there were green forms, pink forms, Match, Insight, Insight 2, myaiesec.net, the orange one and the blue one and many more will come, but there is one thing we all believed for the last 65 years and we will believe in forever: Exchange.
AIESEC, don’t let this letter be only the nostalgia of one that remembers the incredible rush of selling, matching and realising a management internship or the feeling of that full bucket of cold water spilling over my head…
For you are not only an organization for us, you are our life long cause. We are out here, millions of us. Find us.
I am back from an AIESEC National Conference in Germany. Truly inspired by AIESEC’s evolution and success, believing in the impact that AIESEC and its alumni can have together. In this post I think of every AIESEC member in the world, and the two alumni that with their role during my active time in AIESEC , starting in Mexico and until the culmination of my AIESEC International term, changed my life. I am forever thankful to Juan Manuel Ferron and Victor Loewenstein.
Filed under: Business, Human Resources, Recruitment, Society, Sustainability, Technology
What’s stopping equitable recruiting? If recruitment isn’t a level playing field, then the recruitment industry is at least partly to blame.
Across Europe and the rest of the world, institutional process has a definite and damaging impact on increasing executive diversity in the workforce. While a few voices work to erode that impact, we’ll still be facing discrimination — both conscious and unconscious — far into the foreseeable future.
While deliberate discrimination still happens far more than anyone admits, the battle against this barefaced prejudice is well advanced, although it may never be conclusively won. Unconscious bias, on the other hand, is far more subversive and wide reaching.
Even the most enlightened, diversity- and equality-conscious individuals and organisations are prey to it, and we all need a better understanding of it if we are to diminish its impact.
I have seen it where I least expected, a woman discriminating another woman based on gender. A mature manager discriminating another one based on age.
Unconscious bias often starts with the first thing a recruiter experience of a candidate — their CV. Recruiters, helplessly are conditioned through long practice to review CVs in a certain way and to look for certain characteristics and features in them. Every recruiter gets reprogrammed when starting in another firm and we are effectively given a blueprint for assessing a CV against a job specification.
When I review a CV, I run through a checklist of what I expect to see and deviations from that ‘normal’ are exclusions or extraordinary happy surprises. With most recruiters, non-standard CVs are quickly discarded in the first or second cut and rarely see the light of day.
Unfortunately, a large proportion of diverse candidates have an ‘irregular’ career progression and ‘irregular’ educational backgrounds and I was right there at that pile. This barrier, at the very first link in the chain, is arguably the most pernicious form of unconscious bias — and almost certainly the most widespread.
Even for recruiters who do understand the value of increasing capability in such non-standard career paths, a common challenge is coping with generalist vs specialist experience. Candidates with broad generalist experience across 20 roles, for example, are difficult for a ‘straight-line thinking’ recruiter to cope with. Assessing overall competency across those 20 roles is far harder than assessing someone with a narrow field of focus, with the result that we tend to favour the specialist, at the expense of people who might bring far wider experience and diversity of thought.
Again, a large proportion of diverse candidates bring that generalist background to the table, and again, they stand to lose out.
Those two elements of unconscious bias are compounded in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) situations, where the large organisations delivering the recruitment (and the third parties they employ) tend to rely on rigid processes because of their economic models and service-level agreements that inadvertently promote the kinds of unconscious bias described above. I have seen poor RPOs in action and they tend to draw talent from a very narrow band, risking the organisation’s employee value proposition with unsophisticated social media campaigns.
The same can be said about some preferred supplier frameworks that appoint ‘the usual suspects’. When the usual suspects recruit on your behalf, you’ll tend to see the usual suspects in terms of candidates as well. It’s potentially a negative cycle in terms of diversity, since those kinds of recruiters and recruitment firms typically lack the desire, client relationships or leverage to promote diverse candidates.
The simple elements of unconscious bias barely scratch the surface of the issue. Add them to the current market pressures, and the result is a narrowing talent funnel, drawing candidates from a narrow, homogenous group of people. Understanding and overcoming unconscious bias is the next big barrier for diversity champions to break down for sustainable progress.
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability
Filed under: Business, Change, Human Resources, Innovation, Society, Sustainability
An organization that is truly diverse understands both the differences and similarities in people. Inside the organization you’ll see people from all different backgrounds working together and how a blend of employees adds intrinsic value to the business.
An increasingly global network, due largely to the expansion of technology, people from all different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives are all coming together to work in various capacities. Virtual connections have significantly increased the capabilities of doing business.
A more diverse business environment is rapidly developing through e-commerce, customer service practices, supplier relationships, outsourcing, partnerships and merges to name a few. As a result people are exposed to differences.
Businesses who embrace diversity go above meeting the confines defined by the law because they recognize the advantages from a both a business perspective and from a social one. They understand diversity shouldn’t divide employees, but instead unite.
There is a strong business case for diversity because companies who are genuinely diverse and invest resourcesin diversity initiatives have found lower turnover rates, and less discrimination lawsuits brought against them for sexual, race and age discrimination.
Additionally, what we all have heard before is: People who are diverse in culture, background, social class, gender, age or religion all bring something different of value to a company because of different life experiences and perspectives. Each employee helps shape a unique perception on work projects, processes and issues because of the differing backgrounds. These distinct viewpoints help businesses grow because of the innovative ideas inspired by diverse viewpoints.
From the social perspective, investing in diversity initiatives means equal practices for all people within their organization without exercising positive discrimination either is the right thing to do. Organizations that have become intensely aware of the value of diversity and from a humanistic point treat everyone equally and with the same respect.
A great case for this is made for example in the commented book, Womenomics while being careful once again of maintaining objectivity; As I mentioned before, exacerbating differences in a superficial way is too one sided. Only genuine appreciation for the unique value different people bring to business will drive growth and could in some cases become a key driver for organizations to operate in a true synergic and organic way, and this kind of adaptability is of utmost importance for those that want to be successful in the future.
What has been observed though is that companies which invest resources in diversity measures experience strong levels of growth. It has been proven customers like to see themselves represented within the companies they do business with, so in addition to the other business and social reasons for diversity, the market base is a high consideration and strong argument for diversity as well.
Also traditionally known… Diversity naturally drives innovation because the differences in ideas, incentives, knowledge base and experiences all promote new inspirations and initiatives. When people who work together think alike, this good to an extent, but it is the challenges which make a company grow.
Businesses which hold strong conviction and dedication to diversity illustrate they recognize the value and advantages that naturally follow diversity. The committed company celebrates the differences which exist amongst different backgrounds and realizes the worthy contributes people all bring to their organization beyond the obvious differences.
Filed under: Business, Change, Resources, Sustainability | Tags: Culture Scan, People Scan, Spiral Dynamics
Filed under: Business, Change, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability, Technology | Tags: Evolution, History, Leadership, Motivation, Psychology, Society, Spiral Dynamics, Technology, Theory U, Values
In the last half a year, I started working with Spiral Dynamics. A concept/model I knew but never applied has become an key part of my current professional development as of my personal life, and so I thought of sharing a little about it, for those who are thirsty for something estimulating that I could recomend to get your hands on and munch a good bite of.
I personally think this theory can be powerful if mixed with other tools such as MeshWORKS and Theory U.
So here a glympse.
Conception of a Model describing the Evolution of Individual, Organizational and Societal Conscience
When you look back on your actions, decisions, and ways of coping with problems, were your responses consistent? Or have your reactions changed over the years? (Most people’s do.) This is because our values and motivations change over time.
Psychologists have long been interested in these changing reactions. In fact, some of the best-known psychological theories on motivation have been derived from looking at this very phenomenon. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and McGregor’s Theory X versus Theory Y are just two of the theories that have emerged to explain what motivates people and why. Although each theory is different, the question of what people value is central to the theories of motivation and human development.
Spiral Dynamics, a fascinating but less known theory of motivation, looks at the value systems that drive individuals’ beliefs and actions. The concept originated in the 1930s with the work of Dr Clare Graves, but he died before publishing his theory. With the popularity of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Graves’ theory slipped into obscurity until one of his students, Dr Don Beck, wrote “Spiral Dynamics Integral”.
Essentially Spiral Dynamics was developed in order to help us understand:
- How people think about things (as opposed to “what” they think).
- Why people make decisions in different ways.
- Why people respond to different motivators.
- Why and how values arise and spread.
- The nature of change.
And interestingly enough, it applies not only to individuals, but also to organizations and societies. Taking a little time, you can apply it for the personal development of any individual from childhood on, analyze the structures and business models present in organizations through time and place where they are or to see patterns in the historical development of human kind.
I don’t think I need to tell you it is enough material to go on for years.
Misconceptions of Spiral Dynamics: You are less evolved than me, so bugger off!
In my path to discover this interesting theory, I came across consultants and practicioners that dislike it. Going a little deeper into what they dislike, I came to the following point of misunderstanding:
Spiral Dynamics talk about more and less evolved people, this creates a hierarchy and a feeling of superiority from some towards the others aka. I am yellow and you are only orange so bugger off unconcious being.
This is a misconception that easily happens when you go through the theory quickly without suspending and taking the time and space for it to really sink in.
Spiral Dynamics differs from other theories of human development and motivation in one key way: It doesn’t argue that we travel towards an ultimate destination and stay there, it says that we continue to spiral through a helix of developmental stages depending on the biological, social, environmental, and psychological forces at work. As such, Spiral Dynamics attempts to explain “everything” that influences human experience.
Spiral Dynamics argues that with enough personal mastery, we can live in one meme and communicate to others, collaborate with others and foster their development from the place they are at enhancing then common understanding and the efficiency to achieve a goal.
The theory also suggest that an individual does not “belong” in a color clasification, but they can have different colors in theferent spheres of their being. Eg. I can be orange in my external individual sphere, while being yellow in my inner individual etc etc.
At this point, a picture says more than a thousand words, enjoy.
Full size picture here.
Filed under: Business, Change, Innovation, Leadership, Society, Sustainability | Tags: Action, Collective Intell, Ethic, Moral
Now, that should be an interesting combination. Knowing what is the right ghing to do, how and when to bend the rules… truly innovate and do it in service of the whole. It adds up. It’s time for internal collective change… Systemic change. We all know it in a way or another.
Filed under: Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Society, Sustainability, Technology | Tags: Civil Society, Collective Intelligence, Conciousness, Mexico, Transformation
Mexico has it all, but we are drawning in the sea of poverty, of inequality, impunity, corruption anddeath. The emptiness created by the social fractures has been filled with hate, resentment and fear. The lack of hope and chances have been taken over by mistrust and violence. Problems are explained structurally, but they are also go across a social and cultural dimensions and that makes us question ourselves as a society.
We need answers and actions that will transform the current conditions and with which we will reach the ideal of a democratic, participating and equal society. Now, more than ever, it is time for the revolution of conciousness, culture, education, institutions and finally the evolution of citizens.
It is key to create a community, networks, built by people with feelings, ideals and common purpose, with a sense of identity and belonging. In the information society, what will guide us to a superior level of human nourishment is the architecture of the human link. The construction of decentralized human networks with multiple nods, can be triggered by technology and the collaborative nature of the internet.
The net gives place to the emergence of collective intelligence: People can easier, quickly build networks to generate and communicate knowledge that can be later translated to action and common wellbeing. Creativity and imagination convert into empowerment: Intelligent masses with the capacity to impact their surroundings. The basic principle of collective intelligence: Everyone as a whole knows everything; with the practical application: We can do anything.
The Digital Era creates networks and communities, it articulates its sense of identity and belonging, it promotes its capacity of organization and action. Internet opens a small window of opportunity for citizens. Citizens can for the first time make choices directly and in real-time between opinions, information or actions coming from the governing agents of content. Civil groups organized in networks with common interests and worries have accomplished public visibility. New leaders have come from contexts that previously had no presence in public debate. These new networks organize themselves many times along the order of party organizations, use technological tools and social network platforms for communication, organization and action; the create a space for public debate on social topics and create and distribute alternative content to that of the traditional media, they develop consciousness about the social surroundings, provide critical but constructive views about reality; they get media visibility, enable the emergence of civil leaders, drive political and civil agendas, propose innovative initiatives, integrate differentcommunities and and themselves to different social causes; they have a social impact.
If it is truth that in Mexico the access to the internet is limited to one third of the population, it is also truth that this small group of users the valuable initiatives that have achieved social impact put in new light the old judgement and myths of social and youth apathy. Even if many young people have felt captive to organized crime there are many that despite their poverty, the uncertain future and the social rejection have demonstrated they are capable of positively influence their surroundings. They are only a few, but they are there.
The transition from representative to participating democracy should come from the incorporation of all voices conforming society. The technological tools are only one option to achieve this. In this sad historical moment for Mexico is when more voices are needed to make proposals, and more hands are needed to take action. We have to bet on the imagination, the creativity, human dignity, sensibility, civil networks, youth…
Juan Villoro says: “Mexico is not going to be saved by bullets, it will be saved by its people”. We need to understand we are a community, a collective intelligence and that together we could do anything.
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Personal Discovery, Society, Sustainability | Tags: Collective Intelligence, Entrepreneurship, Evolution, Fear, Practice, Spiral Dynamics
It can happen to anyone sitting on the life they planned; an idle moment, a feeling that changes everything.
What many experience as the “entrepreneurial bug” can be more or less scary depending on the clarity they initially have about their personal endeavour. For me, the initial feeling of this bug has brought me into a 2 years journey to really uncover what the call was behind the bug that decided to bit me. Why? Well, the more out of the traditional path your idea is, not only makes it harder to crystalize it’s “what”, but it can exacerbate the fear anyone starting on their own gets making the process even slower.
Deciding to become an “independent practitioner” of the different paths of social innovation and collective intelligence can get out of balance even those that know the theory of “how to make it work”. There is no news on milestones like “building a network”, “identifying a field of specialization” or “looking for financing sources”.
The vastness and novelty of the field, the amazingly global scope it has, makes the most attractive features of this path, the points of fear of those who decide to follow it.
Personally I have never met someone that chose for this path of conscious evolution and planetary alignment straight out of high school, the struggle to break old paradigms is key to future success, to personal enlightment and collective impact.
In the last months I submerged myself in which I sometimes like to call the “evolution of the corporate shark” the change beyond orange… better known in the field as the conversion from strategist to alchemist. The road seems to be long and filled with beautiful sights to be seen, bewildering experiences to be had… As for the learning I try to capture along this journey to find my unique role to truly contribute to the sustainable success of our planet and species I can so far come up with one advice I can give to other rookies on this high speed motorway:
- Die to learn. Be eager, hungry to learn more, to experience more even from the least obvious.
- Strive for the feeling of absolute creation and good.
- Be open to discover the unexpected in yourself and others and be ready to embrace it.
- Find an individual practice, go deep into it, and change it as much as much as it feels right.
- Hold tight and just take the unexpected turns synchronicity will bring you and connect authentically to those you find.
- And boldly said… Get the balls to follow your call fearlessly, daringly even if your finances will be harder to plan.
Filed under: Business, Change, Goals, Innovation, Leadership, Meditation, Society, Sustainability
When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.