Entrepreneurability Generations on the workfloor

How to get ready for the next big workforce

“Millennials are overtaking the workforce as we speak, which really is not a bad thing if you know how to keep this generation within your organization. They bring a lot of fresh ideas and energy to work every day. I get that managers might be cautious about the new generation. This might be caused by the fact that they are often viewed as being attention sponges, but with the right mentoring they can really bring your organization to the next level.

According to the Deloitte Millennial survey (2016) it has become clear that millennials might be willing to stay longer within organizations then most people think. It was found out that the group of millennials who stayed longer than 5 years in an organization was twice as big if they were properly mentored.

The millennials are looking for a purpose in their job. They are the most socially conscious generation that has ever existed. This means that their work needs to fulfill in this purpose as well. Their work needs to give them the opportunity to grow, to make new friends and most importantly they want to see their work really contribute to a larger purpose.

“So what millennials need is proper guidance. They have high expectations from the company they work for, they want a clear map that will guide them to success. In return for this they will happily work hard for you.”

This clear map is all about setting goals, making sure they are well prepared for their tasks and about having moments of time together to see how everything is going. As I said, millennials are very socially conscious, they really like it when someone takes some time to look at their issues.

Mentoring millennials can drain a lot of energy out of your managers if it is not done in the proper way. Millennials never take the ordinary road so why would that change if it comes down to ways of mentoring? In my next blog I will talk about three ways of mentoring that have been proven to be very succesfull when it comes to guiding millennials.”

Entrepreneurability Vlog

What is Entrepreneurability about (video)

The entrepreneurial abilities to optimize the utilization of the production factors is entrepreneurship (or entrepreneurability). This involves four elements:

  • Taking initiative – Action oriented and driven by forward motion
  • Strategic business decision making – Based on a clear vision and strategy being able to make decisions
  • Innovation – Exploring and experimenting
  • Bearing risk – taking the consequences of the previous three elements regardless the outcome.

Since the industrial revolution we have been trying to optimize our production processes. We have created an impressive number of ways to govern it. In the past couple of decades we introduced Projects and Project management frameworks like Prince2, to optimize our productivity we introduced Lean and to facilitate in creative environments we introduced Agile values and principles along with numerous frameworks and practices. All to optimize our labor resources. Capital resources are nowadays heavily regulated and controlled (for obvious reasons) and we try to be more careful in using our natural resources by focussing on circularity.

Applying and optimizing these three factors alone, won’t make your organization a successful organization in these times. Adding entrepreneurship to your mix might do the trick. Here are the key ingredients.

Read the blog here


Mastery – and the story of work

It felt a bit like listening to a fairy tale at a warm fire on a autumn afternoon. This afternoon, when Laurens Knoop, founder of The School of Life Amsterdam, walked his audience of about 40 people  through the ancient wisdoms of Parcifal, Darwin, Michelangelo, Aristoteles and the titan fight of martial arts-fighter Conor McGregor and boxer Floyd Mayweather, which by the way was won by the latter.

In exactly 25 minutes Knoop lead us through what all of these people have in common and how they have come to be a master. During this session, that was one of the gems on a day about The Future of Work, organized amongst others by The School of Life. As for what the steps towards mastery have to do with work, we’ll get to that later. After the steps, taken from the book of Robert Greene and interpreted by Knoop:

  • First we take the step of finding out what it is that we do naturally. Which activities do we have an inclination of doing first, easiest and without a sense of time. This tendency is often hidden when we are adults, and is found in what we loved doing as a child.
  • Then we go into the phase of being an apprentice, the pupil. Practicing our skills, discipline and making as many mistakes as possible.
  • Then there is the step of seeking a mentor to cross into the next phase of growth. Often times the great masters like Faraday, Mozart, Franklin, Nietzsche all had to break up with their mentors in a nasty way. Breaking bad from the guidance then brought on the next step:
  • Shadow work. Or getting to know your own harshness, diving into what isn’t so great about you and coming to terms with that. Then being able to deal with those of your own, learning to deal with what your surrounding ecosystem has to say and interaction with them.
  • Then – right after this step – heading into the domain of creativity and intuitive behavior that combines the new with existing materials and ideas.
  • And finally the master finds his domain where they are able to tap into the memories, impressions and solves issues of the past to re-use them for others.

I am sure Parcifal would have agreed that consciously taking the road of mastery is a bold decision. And how does it connect to work, then?  Well….somehow we’ve lost this mastery focus at work al together. We find we must be a master at once at what we’ve worked with once or twice. We forget that practice is needed before mastering a skill or a domain. Becoming an apprentice first, and be guided by mentors. Under influence of customer pressure and of each other, we tend to forget how important it is to have a mentor and be taught as an apprentice. We deny ourselves the discipline of steady work pace to create a finesse. We must succeed at once. So how then, will we tap into creativity? That much needed place of wonder, where new ideas, news ways of collaboration and old ways of doing business are connected. And how then will we feel the greatest of all motivators that mastery really is? Just like Dan Pink gave us: mastery, autonomy and purpose. Or just like a lot of the other speakers at this event found variations on Pink’s research: motivation of life and work for that matter is not in the money alone, it lies hidden in the steps to mastery.

So: the Future of Work hopefully is that people tend to give themselves that gift of mastery, as a motivator, not only as a target in the school of life.

PS: it was actually 26 degrees celsius out there in Amsterdam on a sunny bright day….


My first year being an entrepreneur

Last week I celebrated my first birthday being an official entrepreneur! To clarify, I celebrated being an official entrepreneur, because I have been an entrepreneur my entire work life disguised as an employee. When the company limited me in executing my entrepreneurial abilities, I left. Last year I decided to start my own business. in this post, I will share my learnings, beliefs and experiences so far.

“I am only present when I believe I can add value”

This was one of the first beliefs I implemented when designing partnerships with my clients. My clients cannot hire me for more than 3 days per week and I will not be present when there is no value to be added. Both of us do not benefit from me being on site for 40 hours a week. Especially in The ‘part-time paradise’ Netherlands, not many people are in the office on Fridays or Wednesdays. And when there are no people around, then there is no value for me being there. This has been one my greatest frustrations working for consultancy firms. Payment by the hours means making as many hours a possible first, looking at value added second. That didn’t feel right! So, my first order of business being my own business was to prevent that from happening.

When there is no real value for me to add, I am not going to sit behind my PC and do things I can easily do at home in my own time. My hourly rate is somewhat at the higher end of the market, but clients only pay me when I am there. And when I am, things are happening!

How to determine I need to be on site? Experience, gut feel and most of all continuously being aligned with my client to know what is happening (or about to happen). My type of work doesn’t require me to be around all the time. It is even better that I am not. Every intervention I do needs some time to digest for companies so sometimes you need to close the oven door to get some real heat.

“Collaborate only with true partners!”

I have gained some great partnerships throughout this previous year and I have declined collaborating even more! Being an independent professional is great, but the risk is that you end up stuck in a status quo bubble. You need to continuously find new insights, conversations and collaborations, which I did. I have created some great partnerships together with WannaflexCapgemini Academy and Incentro last year. With each of these organizations I have experienced true partnership where we help each other out, create new services and product together and trust each other we both operate for the interest of our clients. For example, when a new training course is still needs to get some traction for a class to completely fill up but we both invested in getting it up and running, we deviated for our initial price agreements to make both parties have at least a healthy margin. That is being partners! I have had many conversations last year where I would end up being ‘that Scrum guy’ in a customer-supplier relationship. Even though the monetary rewards would be great, I turned down all those offers.

“When you are open to it, it happens”

This is one of the biggest fears for each entrepreneur. The uncertainty of not having a customer. We have all been there, so have I. Last December, when I looked at my agenda from February onwards, it was empty! Strangely enough, I wasn’t scared or panicking at all. I thought, something will come up, I just have to keep my eyes open to these opportunities. Over the last year, I have experienced that every time I started to get a little worried about new assignments, every time with a couple of hours or days, a new opportunity would arise from…. well from anywhere. I learned that when you love what you are doing, you are good at what you do, people will find you! It’s like when you bought something new, like a car, you see that same car driving everywhere. They have always been there, but now that you are open to it, you see it!

“Starting a second business”

I like being an entrepreneur so much, that I have even started a second business this year! Together with Susanne van Dijk, I have founded Entrepreneurability. We see many organisations, mostly rapidly expanding organisations, struggling with transferring the entrepreneurial mind-set and behaviour of the owner(s) and first generation of employees. Companies unsuccessful in doing this are struggling with attracting new employees and engaging existing ones. This can have many sources but primarily you find some contradicting elements in the governance model, product portfolio and skills set (entrepreneurial ability) of the organisations. This is where we are can help with proper coaching and training of the owner and the employees. A great new adventure we are in and I believe in the next couple of months you will hear more about it.

“Entrepreneur in disguise”

The decision I took a little over a year ago was one of the best decision I made in my life! I am doing the thing I love, which is causing as many powerful, fundamental learning moments as possible, bringing about sustainable growth in humans. I can do this in my own pace with my quality standard with people and organisations I want to work with. And I earn money doing that…. isn’t that just awesome?

Bearing risk Business Decision Making

Are you an entrepreneur or just minding the shop?

Recently, I was listening to an item on the Dutch radio on research about employment and management. It stated that companies fear a lot of people will leave their company and look for a new challenge. With the economy back on track this is nothing new. However, politicians and unions are screaming for raises! Research states that this is not the primary reason why people leave a company. According to the research done by Berenschot and ADP; It is management. Here are some contemplations based on my personal experience.

Mind the Shop

After years of little or no raise, a better outlook of the economy, raising salaries seems like a no-brainer. Politicians and unions are screaming for this to happen to prevent people from leaving companies/industries. It seems that management is ruining the engagement of employees. Is it on purpose? Probably not, it’s never the intent of management to scare people off. If it is, then something is seriously wrong with that company. So let’s assume this is not the case.

It is my personal experience that most company cultures and management behaviour have nothing to do with being an entrepreneur, with running a business. All the mechanisms like multi year strategic plans, proper micromanagement, annuals departmental budgets etc, are all  in place to mind the shop. Look after the place until the next person comes to mind the shop. As long as at the end of the year we didn’t exceed our budget, we’ll be just fine. It has nothing to do with entrepreneurship, by employing innovation, taking risk and most of all taking initiative.

It is the responsibility of leadership and management to give opportunities and put demands on people which enable them to grow as human beings in their work environment.

 Sir John Harvey-Jones

Training already sold

One of the reasons for me to become an independent professional was lack of entrepreneurship from management. I wasn’t allowed to do a training course that exceeded my personal development budget. I just received a plain and simple ‘no’ as a reply to my request. The rules stated it was not allowed. And there’s no use arguing with the rules that help ‘minding the shop’, right? Well no, wrong! Because there was a very plausible reason to break the rules: paying customers. The course would certify me to provide courses myself and before I attended the training I had three potential clients willing to pay for such a course. It still was a ‘no’.

To me, that is a simple sign of minding the shop and lack of entrepreneurability. This internal rule was created to prevent employees from attending courses that do not bring any value to the company. However, this course would almost immediately earn a profit to the company. So, deviating from the internal rules were valued over servicing clients, investing in employees’ knowledge and earn a profit. Explaining this to the management team a couple of times from various angles couldn’t make them to change their mind. They said: “We understand the situation, however, these are the rules of our company.”

The Monitor

Another example, a few years back, I ran a proof of concept with an international team. One of the team members was a designer and requested an IPS monitor (or something like that) to be able to deliver quality in her work. After a request and even an escalation to upper management, I received a ‘no’. The designer would have to settle for a regular monitor just like everyone else. Budget wasn’t the problem, some IT hardware configuration restraining jacket was. Again, I was held back by management that did not want to deviate from internal policies and see the benefits of the request. This is not where the story ends.

The Entrepreneurial Manager

Ultimately, I found one entrepreneurial manager who said, you just get the monitor, I have some part of my budget which covers special expenses which still has some room left. Just hand me the receipt and I will take care of it! So, I went to the local electronics store to buy this monitor and have the designer deliver quality! That is the kind of behaviour I am looking for in management. Them using the internal rules and procedures as guidelines but keeping in mind the reason the organisation is in business. And when people, proactively, offer solutions to increase the impact of the organisation. Not only for their own gain but for a greater good and then supporting them.

That’s what we need. Servant leaders! The last manager is one I want to work for, a person who sees past current boundaries and restrictions and sees the potential value in new or different ideas. They have the guts to get it done and get it done!

The only companies that innovate are those who believe that innovation is vital for their future.

 Sir John Harvey-Jones

So ask yourself, are you an entrepreneur or are you just minding the shop? If you are an entrepreneur I bet you employees love to work for you! If you mind the shop, then you need help! Your employees might already be looking for a different job, it’s not the money you offer them. It’s how you facilitate them to be a professional, to let them contribute to your success. Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Business Decision Making Entrepreneurability

3 tips for fast growing companies

‘You are likely to get management approval for a 500 dollar expense…..but you can call a 1-hr meeting with 20 people and no one notices’.

Some time ago, I saw this statement in an image on LinkedIn. I could not help to grin a little and I bet for most of you this is very recognisable. Throughout the last couple of years I have had first hand experience of fast growing companies that struggle with fast growth. This growth puts pressure on the ability of these organisation to stay as responsive as they were when they were still small. Below you find three tips on what to keep in mind when facing rapid or exponential growth.

1. Quality is the foundation of growth

I have seen this at every company I have worked with over the last couple of years. They have a great business proposition which after a brief period gets traction in the market place. This creates rapid growth for the organisation putting pressure on internal communication, recruitment, processes and procedures. This usually is scalable until a company reaches 80-150 people. Then things get tricky.

A company this size is almost impossible to manage as a single owner and the management team will get larger. There is no fault in this. However, having scaled the leadership of the organisation requires some alignment and a shared vision on how to lead the company. So the management team retreats to a nice off site location to contemplate on a vision and strategy for the coming years and this is where I have seen things so wrong.

To give you an example, one organisation came with a strategy containing 10 principles to guide the organizations to even bigger achievements. 9 of these points were related to safeguard culture, improve quality and facilitate for improvement. The last point stated:

“In 5 years we will have 500 employees in 5 countries”

And that is a dangerous statement. This is what stuck to everybody throughout the organisation. A machine was created to bring in as many people possible to meet this ambitious statement and the quality of the people brought in was a little below the company standard. This single focus on growth affected the quality focus that made the company achieve their initial success. Every completely lost focus on the first 9 statements of the strategy. Not until customers started complaining or even walking away.

Focus on growth in number and results will not help your achieve growth. Growth is a result from the quality you deliver as company. The other way around does not work!

2. Trust your professionals, do not over-regulate!

Especially in an organisation where you focus on hiring true professionals beware of applying a 19th century management style. Management of professionals has shifted dramatically from telling people what task to perform to enabling professional to use their skills and knowledge to maximize the value they create. This sounds nice and is a well researched and documented as in Daniel H. Pink’s book ‘Drive – the surprising truth about what really motivates people’.

However, such behaviour, for those who most of the time are still held accountable for results, is extremely difficult to sustain when operating under pressure of timelines, budgets etc. The natural tendency when pressure is high is to fall ‘back’ into a command-and-control mode. Such behaviour is killing the motivation of professionals who will either leave at some point or will become numb to contributing their knowledge or experience.

Think of this phenomenon with the following metaphor of carrots, eggs and coffee beans. In most organizations where people have the energy to contribute and have the feeling their efforts are appreciated you see coffee beans all over. However when such initiatives are turned down again and again you end up with a group of people behaving like a bunch of cooked carrots.

Working with professionals requires a manager to enable them to optimally spent their time and talents. Steering on the clear boundary conditions is the only this a manager should do. How to manoeuvre within these boundaries is up to the professional. This is how you create environments where people can optimally perform. More on creating such an environment? Check out this video:

[vimeo width=”75%” height=”75%” autoplay=”false”][/vimeo]

3. Hire on attitude & potential

In highly skilled working environments it is all about the people working there. However, finding those people with all the knowledge and experience you wish is almost impossible. Hiring good professionals boils down to attitude and potential. Learning people the content and context they are working in is relatively easy comparing it to crafting the right attitude. Fast learning and highly energetic professionals usually show more potential than those seasoned workers who have ‘seen it all’.

In organisations with highly skilled professionals, culture is key and embedding those professionals in your organisation can be a challenge.  When on boarding newly hired professionals starts with imprinting your corporate DNA in theirs. Drowning them in hours and hours of rich of content training courses is only half as effective as telling them the (undoubtedly) interesting history and cultural values of your organisations. Teaching them the common language you speak within your organisation and what you vision is on the services or products you are delivering is extremely powerful in fast on boarding of highly energetic people. I have experienced such on boarding programs twice in my career as well as a few less successful ones and those two organisations I still hold close to heart.

So if your organisation is in the luxury position of rapid growth please focus on keeping the focus on quality, enabling your professionals and hire on attitude and potential.

What’s your struggle?


What is Entrepreneurability about?

Traditionally to make a product or provide service you need three primary factors. First, we need resources: like land, water or wind. Let’s call these resources.  Secondly we need time and money, starting or scaling capital.  For the sake of simplicity  let’s referred to this as the monetary component. Third, we need labor resources, or human resources: people.  to create it. Now, these three primary needs: resources, money and people together we  call them input factors. By connecting them we can create. The input factor will indeed make creation possible is the fourth one: entrepreneurial ability.  And this factor is becoming the differentiating factor in our current economy. In this article we will explain what entrepreneurial ability (in short Entrepreneurability) is and how we can plant its seeds, cultivate and grow from it.

Stick and stones

In the first human labor practices we used primarily natural resources like sticks and stones, nature provided us to fulfill our primary needs. As we developed into tribes and later smaller communities, we started to specialize and focus on a particular product (farming, blacksmith etc.) doing so people we no longer able to fulfill in their basic needs by themselves. They would withdraw from consuming to produce their product, in order to do so they would need capital to bridge this gap hence we were introduced to an economy in a smaller scale.To accommodate this withdrawal we created financial institutions like banks to facilitate the exchange of products and service. This resulted in an enormous growth in productivity and wealth (for some).

This worked well for smaller communities, however we were unable to scale to larger groups of people. Until the industrials revolution. This is where we began utilizing the potential of the combined efforts of machine and labor forces. This led to significant economies of scale and enabled organisations to reach a global market. At that point, those who were able to control and utilize these three primary factors were successful. Large corporations dominating the markets because competitors are unable to obtain the natural, monetary and labor resources and to maximize these rewards we adopted numerous ways to optimize them.

Optimizing the primary factors

Since the industrial revolution we have been trying to optimize our production processes. We have created an impressive number of ways to govern it. In the past couple of decades we introduced Projects and Project management frameworks like Prince2, to optimize our productivity we introduced Lean and to facilitate in creative environments we introduced Agile values and principles along with numerous frameworks and practices. All to optimize our labor resources. Capital resources are nowadays heavily regulated and controlled (for obvious reasons) and we try to be more careful in using our natural resources by focussing on circularity.

Applying and optimizing these three factors alone, won’t make your organization a successful organization in these times. Adding entrepreneurship to your mix might do the trick. Here are the key ingredients.


The ability to optimize the utilization of the production factors is entrepreneurship. This involves four elements:

  • Taking initiative – Action oriented and driven by forward motion
  • Strategic business decision making – Based on a clear vision and strategy being able to make decisions
  • Innovation – Exploring and experimenting
  • Bearing risk – taking the consequences of the previous three elements regardless the outcome.

In future posts, we will elaborate on these factors. These four elements determine if a product or service produced will actually come to life. Go to market needs these skills. Improvements to keep going and arriving at a market need this way of thinking. And  with an increase in the number of independent professionals, the purpose economy and a generation entering the workforce that is raised with Entrepreneurability, so the skill are already available too. This might explain why more and more organizations are exploring concepts like ‘ Lean startup’ and organize hackathons to facilitate in Entrepreneurability.

What hasn’t evolved though is the organisational structures of companies and the rewards and compensation structures. So if we need these skills to work, how we will adjust our organisation formats? And maybe more important, how will we rewards people if we expect entrepreneurial behaviour from them. Will we get away with just paying them a monthly salary?

Where the three primary factors generate income through rental income (natural resources), interest (capital) and wages (labor). The fourth factor , Entrepreneurability, is compensated through profit and loss. Owning a company you only earn when profit is made, if not, you get nothing. With the rise of Entrepreneurability in our labour force we need to radically rethink our organisational structures and rewarding and compensation structures.

In practice

Entrepreneurability  is already happening. There are several companies already experimenting with elements of Entrepreneurability.


A small student startup RYSST (Rent Your Student Scrum Team) founded by two software engineering student as part of a school assignment. They identified the need for companies to early bind talented engineers and students wanted to have a meaningful job to build experience and earns some money as well. A great combination and continuation for companies since students are available to work at night and during holidays. You rent a team of students and when they graduate you get first pick in hiring them. Onboarding is a piece of cake since they are already familiar with the product. A completely new concept using the rise of popularity of the Scrum Framework and a shortage of software engineers. Within a year they employ over 30 students and starting a new branch in another university city.

ITM Group

A machine manufacturer for among others the tobacco industry. A highly competitive market where ITM is able to do things differently. Self-organising production teams are responsible for the development, assembly and aftercare of a production line. This organisation’s leader took a conscious choice to delegate a portion of the entrepreneurial abilities to their employees.  There is no innovation department.“I honor  personal initiatives from the work floor by challenging my employees to work on innovative projects. They will also be inspired to take responsibility of the future of the customer relations though.” Of course that requires a special kind of leadership.(source)


This IT company is only steering on happiness. They believe that when their employees are happy, they make their customers happy. Having a no-policies-policy and teaching people to balance both the personal, company and customers’ interest has resulted in more and sustainable growth in profit and headcount since 2012. While continuously experimenting with stock options for employees (that is not really creative of course) or having employees dividing the budget for raises themselves and where people are encouraged to start new services and adopt new technologies they have expanded their portfolio in various directions. Starting and stopping services when needed and continuously looking for new interesting opportunities, not by a sales team or innovation team but by its own employees. Teaching them to act as an entrepreneur.


An internet bureau with more than 50 internet professionals, with clients like Dick Bruna’s Nijntje, NautaDutilh and Karcher Netherlands. Their bureau does not employ a single manager. Each and every one of their employees applies Entrepreneurability and takes it to a next level. If you are selected to be their client, the work to be done is posted on the intranet, for all employees to look at, who has the most interest, the best fit. When a team has been formed, the client has an official place in the team.

Since teams apply the Scrum framework, each client becomes a Product Owner. Being part of the team, part of the process and always aligned with what’s being created. Often Netvlies adds value to their clients’ teams because they not only deliver the requested product or service, but also a way of working, insights in how to work with high performance teams and maintaining the power of collaboration, while honoring individual talents too.


As all these four companies acknowledge that enabling Entrepreneurability is necessary, a great way to work and of course all of them are struggling too. Experimenting to find  the ideal culture and governance structures. We want to help them and inspire them to find formats, models and ideas to enable Entrepreneurability.

We are curious whether you have other examples of organizations experimenting with Entrepreneurability (or elements of it). Please leave a comment.

Entrepreneurability Generations on the workfloor

“Terrabyte-technology like AI and machine learning need the Millennial workforce”

“So we need to adapt to their needs. Listen to them. Be a one minute manager in stead of continously on their back, provide resources and time, leverage others to let them work and: be a marketing driven organisation. They want to make an impact”, says Dr. Waguih S Ishak, VP & Chief Technologist at Corning Research & Development Corporation Silicon Valley, CA at the Lunch Lecture at High Tech Campus today.

“Be market driven, have sustainable purpose
and let Millennials have the impact”

“Millennials want to make impact and have a sustainable goal. They ask different questions than others. Like: are you paying for my medical? Quit doing that, I’m healthy I will be fine without it. And: I need 60 days of leave, because I like to travel”, says Isahk at the lecture. This workforce tends to be much more entrepreneurial and have different outlook on life. “We just have the courage to do, in stead of talk about things. I do have to say that I’m not impressed by human resource departments. It needs to be updated quickly, to attract students like me”, says Samanta Svolkinaitė, a student looking for an internship a while ago. “If I can easily prepare for an interview by looking up standard questions, I am not challenged. And we do want money, but want other things in our jobs too, business travel and creating a good network.”

“The biggest of all mega trends is not tech: it’s people: The Millennial Workforce.
If you learn to communicate well with them: you’ll get the tech done.”

Without being blind followers, we will need to adapt to those demands. “We need them to be a part of these mega trends to develop: AI and machine learning, the new step in big data for instance. Or building autonomous cars. We at Corning Research & Development need these young engineers, to do the research”, says Ishak. “In the US alone we need 1,5 billion engineer in the coming 10 years. Half of which will work in the Valley. And they will come from China, India, Germany, Hungary and Czech Republic and from Holland.”

“Megatrends like AI and machine learning need
Milllennials to realize them: to connect the two is the essential trend.”

Entrepreneurability Generations on the workfloor

Why we should let Millennials be our managers

Millennials want only one thing, so it seems: to be a manager, and they want it #now. Their current managers tend to translate that attitude into arrogance and lack of patience. They had to work hard themselves to reach that goal and they are not likely to let go. In the mean time Millennials that don’t see their expectations met and have a different attitude: they just leave. Should managers from earlier generations set aside their ego’s and let generation Y have a go? Yes, they should. And here’s why:

“During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials (yes, 25%!) would quit his or her current employer to join a new organization or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 percent when the time frame is expanded to two years. By the end of 2020, two of every three respondents hope to have moved on, while only 16 percent of Millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now.” This global trend was signaled by The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey. Nearly 7,700 Millennials, representing 29 countries around the globe, gave some pretty interesting answers on employment. And these are now the facts to deal with. All participants were born after 1982, have obtained a college or university degree, are employed fulltime, and predominantly work in large (100+ employees), private sector organizations. (1). “This remarkable absence of loyalty represents a serious challenge to any business employing a large number of Millennials, especially those in markets—like the United States—where Millennials now represent the largest segment of the workforce.”

[quote author=”” source=””]Managing Millennials? Don’t.
Let them manage you.[/quote]

They will leave anyway, unless…
What is true reason behind them demanding to be the manager? This straightforwardness, stubborn behavior one could say, holds an important message. Wanting a challenging role, while you have no experience what so ever, takes guts. And eagerness to grow and experience your boundaries. This is a generation that states they have underdeveloped skills of leadership and is very conscious about it. Could it be that demanding to just try and learn-by-doing give them this skill? Yes, it can! But do current managers lean into that? No, mostly not. Because they have a different view on making a career and their leadership skills were developed during their upbringing. It needs a very – very! – flexible attitude and some else…. focus on business initiatives, fairness of business and positive impact on customers.

[list style=”list1″ bullet_color=”#999999″]

Top 5 things Millennials value:

  • Employee satisfaction, loyalty and fair treatment (26% of respondents say this is most important)
  • Ethics, trust, integrity and honesty (25%)
  • Customer care and focus (19%)
  • Quality of products, service and reliability (13%)
  • Corporate social responsibility (8%)


Long term focus
These top 5 signals a very important message: “we are about long term, and you better be behaving congruent and conform promises you made, or we’re gone.” Their priority for business can be translated in a willingness to invest in growth and driving business initiatives; dealing fairly with suppliers; developing new/innovative products and services and making a positive impact on customers. All ensuring the long-term future of the organization. “Millennials are, thus, in broad alignment with senior executives on initiatives that support long-term success, suggesting that they value approaches that directly impact individuals via jobs, income, skills, or quality products”, says the research by Deloitte.  They are thus embracing profit and do recognize making money as a vital component of business success. The only thing this generation does not tolerate – at all – is short term thinking.


[quote author=”” source=””]Take on a mentoring role and guide them. In the mean time showing them the need for business principles to ensure long term results. 


So how do we manage them? Lead by example. Servant leaders give way to their need to grow leadership skills. They guide a path to growth rather then contain Millennials’ experiences to the maximum that they ‘can handle’. Guidance can be provided by a mentor, so if you have the guts, just like they do: take a mentoring role and guide them. In the mean time showing them the need for business principles to ensure long term results. It seems that this format of leadership gives Millennials a better chance at developing and enhances loyalty, according to the researchers. “Six in ten (61 percent) Millennials are currently benefiting from having somebody to turn to for advice, or who helps develop their leadership skills. Again, this varies by market and appears more prevalent in emerging (67 percent) rather than mature (52 percent) economies. Mentorship levels are particularly low in Australia, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, and France, where only a minority of Millennials have a mentor. Improving these levels cannot not only advance the careers of Millennials, but it will also go some way toward strengthening loyalty.


So yes, let them take leadership positions. And then be there, give advice.Generation X has the power to empower them. Managing means showing leadership. Great leaders show you the path, focus on your purpose and support you to develop skills to tackle obstacles. And remember: Millennials have a different way of saying things: we just need to listen more closely. If they say the want to be a manager: it is because they have an unsustainable drive to grow. Not because they’re hungry for power.








Entrepreneurability Vlog

3 TED reasons you want to work in a Company of Owners

The Company of Owners. An idea of what the future company will look like. Nobody will be on the payroll, everybody will be an owner of the company exposed to the same risks and benefits of running your own business. People no longer just work for their pay checks, they work because they want to create something, to fulfil a certain purpose or because they like to be in a creative environment. Why not crowdsource your ideas, not by asking for money, but by asking for knowledge and skills? This may seem some distant future scenario, but the idea isn’t that far-fetched and there a plenty of signs that put you in this direction. We have selected three inspiring (and sometimes funny) TED videos tapping into your hidden need to work in a company of owners.

You don’t like your job!

Maybe it is not that bad, but most likely there is a (large for some) part of your job that you do not like? Why do you do it. “It is part of the job”, people often say. However, I come across many people who drag themselves to work. It reminds of the opening scene of the movie ‘Office Space’. Why do you do what you do? What drives you, what motivates you, why are you here? If I ask people this question, most of the time silence is the answer. We have forced ourselves to move away from that question. As long as we get our pay check at the end of the month, it was all worth it. Is it, really?

As Barry Schwartz states in the movie:

How is it that we allow the majority of people on the planet to do work that is monotonous, meaningless and soul-deadening?

I have seen many highly educated people working at a large organisation following a step by step sequence of actions. Day in, day out. A terrible waste but the organisations thrive by it. So what if you are able to do the part of your job you actually like all day long and still make money? Many people have this dream to ‘one day, start their own business’. Here is the good news, the circumstances to do this have never been better. You can start your own company today! It doesn’t cost you any money, all you need is an idea and maybe people with a similar drive who are willing to contribute to your idea.

You are worth it

This next video from Casey Brown start uplifting:

“No one will ever pay you what you’re worth.”

And it is true! That is the entire scheme of organisations. We don’t share equally what we earned. Those who make you do the work that creates the value, earn the most. That is a strange mechanism! We pay people based on their attendance at work, the experience and education they have and the supply and demand of people. There are many other factors but none have a direct link to the actual performance of the company. Yes, we have a bonus system, so if the company makes a lot more money, you get a bit extra. And we have performance reviews, annually. We look back and based on the compensation model the company has you make a small step, big step or no step. Recently, I heard someone describe their performance review at a bank.

This person had a great year, contributed tremendously, gained more knowledge and experience like no one had ever seen before within that organisation. What happened? Worker gets a grade on a 1-5 scale where 1 is very bad (if you have three strikes you’re out), and 5 meaning you were amazing! So you’d expect this person to get a 5, but what did the manager say: We don’t give 5’s in this company otherwise your salary will no longer reflects the work you are doing and you no longer fit in the model.

This blew my mind, so we stick to a system of compensation based on everything except the company performance. Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you think it is only fair to be compensated just a good as anyone else in the company who contributed to it’s results? Then consider contributing to a company of owners.

You are wasting your time at work

It can be that you like you job a lot, however, most likely you are often disturbed or unable to do it since your time is wasted on company stuff, like filling in timesheet in three different systems, responding to mass CC emails and meetings! Meetings, meetings and more meetings.

No more meetings, ever? No of course not, but you can control it! There are many ways to facilitate collaboration like simple practices as described in this video or adopting frameworks like sociocracy 3.0 or…well you figure it out. Let’s focus on the work and organize us around it to maximize your contribution.

So if you don’t like how you talent is used, feel under valued or are unable to do the thing you like doing. Please look into the concept of the company of owners and let us know you thoughts below.