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De waarde van leiders met een visie

De wereld heeft een overvloed aan leiders met een winstoogmerk, maar ‘visie gedreven leiders’ – leiders met een maatschappelijke visie en bijbehorende doelstellingen – zijn schaars. Dat is jammer, want ze zijn juist hard nodig om wereldproblemen op te kunnen lossen. Gelukkig is er een trend zichtbaar die hoop schept. Een trend die laat blijken dat er steeds meer leiders opduiken die meer willen bereiken dan enkel een gunstige financiële balans aan het einde van elk kwartaal; leiders die een verschil willen maken in de gemeenschap waarin ze acteren, en het liefst ook daarbuiten.

“De belangrijkste uitdaging voor het bedrijfsleven is er achter te komen hoe we meer visie gedreven leiders krijgen die beseffen dat ze er zijn om een verschil te maken in de wereld”

Dat zei Bill George (Harvard Business School) op het World Economic Forum, dat afgelopen januari plaatsvond in Davos, Zwitserland. Vandaag de dag is de druk op CEO’s om op korte termijn resultaten te behalen groter dan ooit tevoren. Maar gaat het daar uiteindelijk wel om? Wat van belang is, aldus de heer George, is dat een bedrijf actuele maatschappelijke problemen oplost door middel van het werk dat het bedrijf doet. Daarvoor dient het bedrijf te worden gedreven door een maatschappelijke visie en bijbehorende doelstellingen die gedragen worden binnen de gehele organisatie.

In de steeds verder globaliserende wereld waarin we leven, een wereld die overspoeld wordt met nationale en internationale uitdagingen, is het een gedeelde maatschappelijke visie die ons verenigt om aan een betere toekomst te werken. Volgens Youth Speak, een wereldwijde survey onder ambitieuze jonge studenten, werd ‘werk met betekenis’ gekozen als de tweede belangrijkste factor in de eerste 5 jaar van een carrière (de uitkomsten zijn weergegeven in de onderstaande tabel). Bovendien is 72% van de 25.000 jonge respondenten (uit meer dan 100 verschillende landen afkomstig) van mening dat het belangrijk is voor bedrijven om een positieve impact te hebben op de samenleving in het algemeen. Hoewel de definitie van “positieve impact” varieert, lijkt ‘Generation Y’ het eens te zijn over de stelling dat bedrijven minder gericht zouden moeten zijn op winst behalen en meer op het leveren van een zinvolle bijdrage aan hun omgeving.

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Wereldwijd erkennen steeds meer bedrijven het belang van sociaal-maatschappelijke relevantie, het bijdragen aan oplossingen voor de problemen die vandaag de dag onze maatschappij beïnvloeden. De vraag die door velen echter nog beantwoord dient te worden is: hoe kunnen wij bijdragen aan deze ontwikkeling? Hoe kunnen wij deze trend versnellen?

Volgens AIESEC, ’s werelds grootste studenten organisatie, ligt het antwoord bij de ontwikkeling van jonge, ambitieuze studenten. Zij zijn uiteindelijk degenen die invloed kunnen uitoefenen op de wereld van morgen. Dit is waar AIESEC zich op focust. De organisatie biedt studenten de kans om leiderschapservaring op te doen in de vorm van stages en vrijwilligersprojecten over de hele wereld. In een uitdagende omgeving worden deelnemers op verschillende manieren op de proef gesteld, ontwikkelen ze een eigen visie, krijgen ze de kans om in alle vrijheid te proberen, te falen en opnieuw te proberen, en zullen ze zich bewuster worden van waar ze wel en niet goed in zijn en wat zij bovendien zelf belangrijk vinden in het leven. Een intensief proces van ‘trial and error’ draagt bij aan een groter zelfbewustzijn. Het is de eerste stap richting het ontdekken en benutten van jouw ware potentie, en de beste mogelijkheid om een unieke bijdrage te leveren aan de wereld waarin je leeft.

Dus… hoe kun jij een bijdrage leveren?

We hebben leiders nodig die ten alle tijden “the big picture” in het oog hebben en het belang zien van het bijdragen aan de opbouw van een betere wereld voor volgende generaties. De ontwikkeling van meer visie gedreven leiders is de eerste stap op weg naar een meer duurzame en kansrijke toekomst, en jij hebt de kans om een ​​van deze leiders te worden! Hoe help jij de wereld vooruit?

 

Kijk voor stage- en vrijwilligers mogelijkheden via AIESEC op: https://auth.aiesec.org/users/sign_in
 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurship 101 with Intel

We live in times of a changing, knowledge-based economy. Leaving the industrial age behind, we entered the age of information. Nowadays, job markets require different set of skills; the so-called 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, team work and many more. The concepts of “intrapreneurship” and “entrepreneurship” have become highly appreciated. But even though the world has changed, education has not followed. There is a huge gap between the knowledge and skills formal education provides and the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s business world.

Intel wants to follow up on the change.

Michał Dżoga, Head of Corporate Affairs (CEE Region) says, “At Intel, we believe that everything we do should matter to society.” That is why at the Europe Youth to Business Forum, Intel ran a workshop with 100 young leaders about the importance of entrepreneurship, start-ups and innovation.

Hard data proves that the entrepreneurship culture in Europe is weaker than anywhere else. This could be associated with the difference in perception the USA and Europe have regarding the outlook on failure when starting your own company. In the USA, failure is accepted as part of the natural process of learning and growing. Most of what you learn as an entrepreneur is by trial and error. In Europe however, people tend to be too cautious in their desire not to fail, which prevents them from taking healthy risks necessary for the success of their company.

Michał Dżoga asked the delegates at the workshop a powerful question – How often do students start a company straight after college and succeed without previous experience?

It happens all the time!

When starting up, it is important to remember that you don’t have to have absolutely everything in the beginning, because that’s very hard to achieve. The idea is to start and constantly add to what you have. As Michał said “There are more interesting ideas than good companies on the market.“

Another tip to keep in mind about entrepreneurship is that idea is small part of the investment; implementation is everything. In a science project, an idea is worth a lot. But since globalisation influences start-ups, someone else may be doing your project already. That’s why it is important to start as early as possible, with good mentoring and guidance.

At Europe Y2B Forum, Michał Dżoga also revealed the secret of Intel’s success “We really believe in what we are doing. People who were there in the beginning are still with the company. What Intel is most proud of is Moore’s law, named after its co-founder Gordon Moore, which states that the number of transistors on a chip will double approximately every two years. The company uses this as a guiding principle for growth and advancement. Intel has the legacy to foster innovation and leadership, which are embedded in the DNA of the company.“

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As part of this legacy, Intel is organising the Intel Business Challenge, an event which brings together the best engineers and scientists from around the world to present how they plan to make the world a better place through innovations and entrepreneurial skills! But the Intel Business Challenge is not only about the competition, but more about the platform that will help you fine tune your idea and gain mentorship and guidance from entrepreneurs all over the world.

Find out more at intelchallenge.eu. Apply, become an entrepreneur and make the world a better place!

Why do we need entrepreneurial leadership?

“Since its inception, IE Business School has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit as a core value, and is now an international reference in the field of entrepreneurship” (entrepreneurship.ie.edu). What AIESEC and IE Business School have in common is the commitment towards developing young leaders and entrepreneurs who are not afraid of change and challenging the status quo. And why entrepreneurial leadership?

1. Ownership, pro-activeness and taking responsibility

Entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with concepts such as ownership and leadership.
Ownership implies knowing who you are, taking responsibility and owning up to your own actions. Mr. Balvinder Singh Powar, an Associate Professor at IE Business School, believes in the power of self empowerment and pro-activeness in achieving your goals. He invites people to start from themselves and “Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Gandhi)

Taking responsibility for your decisions and actions is hard enough, but taking responsibility for something more than yourself – for other people, a project, vision or a dream is a true challenge. “Pressure makes diamonds” and great leaders often emerge when success or failure depends on what they (don’t) do. Entrepreneurial leaders focus on putting their personal and professional experience, leadership skills and values to practice.

2. Team management and motivation

People are those who drive change and leaders are those who inspire people to take action. That is why it’s important for entrepreneurs and leaders to be people-oriented and possess communication, motivation and mediation skills. When the growth of each team member is your responsibility, knowing how to listen, support and show empathy makes a difference.

Also, recognizing people’s interests and abilities and being able to develop them, sometimes distinguishes a good leader from a great one. When you “listen” to people’s affinities and allow them to fully participate, they feel included; they step up wishing to meet the expectations and exceed them; they put in effort and make a statement. The project you are working on is no longer yours, his or hers.

It is shared achievement.

Team management and motivation are crucial for entrepreneurial leaders because the cornerstone of a successful enterprise is building strong and effective teams.

3. Innovation and change management

The answer to this is simple – “…to meet the challenges of each new age means discarding old, sometimes well-loved methods” (Kazuo Ishiguro). In order to keep up with the swift pace of changes in the world, we need forward, creative thinking and innovative ideas. The man would have never landed on the moon had he not taken risks and fostered innovative thinking. Investopedia.com says that “The entrepreneur is commonly seen as a business leader and innovator of new ideas and business processes.” Entrepreneurs don’t chase opportunities, they create them.

Since we have answered the question: Why entrepreneurial leadership, let us wonder for a moment – Why do we need entrepreneurial leaders?

Because the sky is no longer the limit. Boundaries are being pushed every day, breakthroughs are more common than ever and still, challenges emerge with each day. We need innovation and forward thinking, embodied in entrepreneurial leadership, in order to keep moving forward.

At Youth to Business Forum Top Leaders Edition Mr. Balvinder Singh Powar, an Associate Professor at IE Business School held a workshop Leadership Journeys: Be the Change, Dream Big – From Moon Landing To Commercial Space. Stay tuned for the output of the Forum!

4 Reasons Why AIESEC Provides the Perfect Education for an Entrepreneur: Part 2

This is part two of a Guest Blog from Tom Weaver, previous Member Committee President of AIESEC United Kingdom 2002-2003, Founder of Flypay.

On Monday, I introduced you to my AIESEC experience and how the skills I learned supported me in becoming an entrepreneur and founding my startup Flypay. Here are the other two reasons for why AIESEC provides the perfect education for the future entrepreneur:

Reason 3: Entrepreneurs need to have passion and belief in what you do

AIESEC is amazing at building passion.  It’s what makes AIESEC so successful and sustained over so many decades.  When people join AIESEC they learn how to channel that passion into getting other people just as passionate about the concept and the product.

When you create a startup, you need to really believe in what you’re doing, and feel passionate about it.  That passion will come through for your customers, partners and investors.  I’ve met founders who seemed bored with their own creations, and I wouldn’t put my money into them.

Reason 4: Entrepreneurs need to be accountable in a totally different way than employees are accountable to their managers

One of the most fascinating aspects of AIESEC (speaking, perhaps now, with a UK slant) is how Local Committees have non-contractual accountability to the Member Committees (national teams), and how Member Committees have accountability to their Board of Directors.

In the case of the Member Committees (MC), there are very strong similarities with running a startup.  The typical AIESEC Board does not “manage” the MC.  They are non-executive.  But the MCs are accountable to that board.

Having a startup that has gone through a funding round is the first experience I’ve had of being accountable to a board since leaving AIESEC.  Every job I had, no matter how senior, I was simply reporting to a manager.  The previous company I built, Flywheel, was a consultancy and did not need investment- the two directors were the board.

In Flypay, aside from the two founders (myself and my CTO, Chris), we have an amazing board to guide the organization, and to be accountable to.  I have one Non-Exec who has vast experience running very large restaurant groups and is very well known in the industry.  He gives us the “restaurant operator” insight.  We have a Non-Exec, who is also an investor, who knows all the CIOs in the restaurant sector personally and advises us on our business development.  And we have one Non-Exec, who represents two investors and has a lifetime of experience in technology investment and is steering us towards our second round.

My job as CEO in this regard is very similar to my role of Member Committee President.  I ensure we are being transparent to the board and giving them a clear picture of the state of the organization.  Monthly, I present how we’re doing, and get agreement on strategic items too important for us to decide just as founders, such as a funding strategy.  We often come up with strategic input, but we ensure the board has a say. Working with them closely and building a good relationship is critical to get the best out of my company and my AIESEC experience with accountability structures has been very useful.

Conclusion

Being an entrepreneur and starting your own company is an amazing roller-coaster ride.  But you don’t (necessarily) have to start a venture straight after AIESEC.  Have other experiences that give you ideas.  Often the best concepts for startups come from the frustration of spotting a problem in your current job, and knowing that your current employer or client is not geared towards solving it.  Understand what it’s like to be an employee before you have employees.

That being said, joining small businesses that give you good exposure to a range of problems can be a beneficial path to take. They may have nothing to do with where you eventually start your own business (I was in educational consulting, then design consulting, then customer experience innovation consulting… then Flypay!).  I’ve known other alumni that joined very large businesses, and have done exceedingly well to get in senior roles, but they are now used to working at a macro level and would struggle to deal with the minutiae you have to deal with as a founder in a startup.

Whatever you do, make the most of your time in AIESEC.  It is a wonderful incubator for your entire career, and I’m thankful every day I discovered it.

Flypay is running for the SMARTA 100 mobile business of the year and we would really appreciate your support.  Vote for us by clicking the following link: www.flypay.co.uk/vote You can follow the guys on Twitter at @flypayuk, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flypayuk

For more information on how to get  involved with AIESEC, please visit our website www.aiesec.org

Day 1 Wrap Up: How to make Youth-SWAP more actionable

Hello everyone,

Day One of the IANYD conference proved to be a long and informative one. Learning more about the Youth-SWAP, and how the United Nations wants to move forward with making sure it is implemented is quite an intense discussion.

I spent a large part of the day with one of AIESEC’s New York based representatives Eliane, and she helped bring me up to speed with the youth initiative and what AIESEC’s role could possibly be.

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There was a lot of emphasis on what the role of youth is with the UN. The Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin described it nicely by saying it is now the time that the UN is talking with and not talking to Youth.

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In the afternoon we split into working groups to come up with recommendations for the UN on how to take action on their commitments. I joined the working group on employment and entrepreneurship, because I thought AIESEC had a lot to contribute in that discussion.

The conversations with the people at the table were great, but for some reason they left me wanting to hear more- not necessarily more around SWAP, but more around action. As AIESECers, we are very used to having one year to make an impact; we have to move quickly, and start implementing right away or we risk doing nothing with the one year term we have. Sometimes this leads us to have the “legacy syndrome”, where we do anything to leave our mark, sometimes reinventing the wheel when we don’t have to. But overall, it teaches us that we must move fast to make an impact.

Youth-SWAP was released in 2012, and a year and a half later, it seems it is still not clear on the actions it wants it’s member states to take. If the UN really wants to make an impact in the area of Youth, which I feel it genuinely does, it needs to figure out how to work more swiftly and smart to start taking actions that improve the lives of young people now.

I will be talking a lot more with some of the other youth organisations, but also Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, whom is so passionate around making sure that the Action plan on Youth works! I hope that we can not only identify ways that we can make sure the commitments for employment and entrepreneurship are met, but also the role that AIESEC can play in these plans.

My question to you, and I hope you participate in this discussion:
If the overall goal of the employment and entrepreneurship focus area is to ensure greater opportunities for youth to secure decent work and income, what do you think the first actions need to be? And how can the UN and Youth organisations make this happen?