There are currently five generations in the workplace. How do we make it work? How can we tune into the issues facing organisations and work effectively together?
In our latest episode of Making Sense of Work, join Vivek Iyyani, a renowned Millennial Specialist and Keynote Speaker at Millennial Minds as he sheds light on how leaders can harmonise the five diverse generations in today's workplace and unlock the key to effective collaboration.
Meet Vivek Iyyani
VIVEK IYYANI is a Millennial Specialist and Keynote Speaker at Millennial Minds. He is the Author of the books Empowering Millennials, Engaging Millennials, and The Millennial Leader.
He is a regular speaker on inter-generational working and has spoken in organisations like PayPal, Oracle, Brunei Government, www.booking [dot] com, Singapore General Hospital, Johnson and Johnson, DELTA Airlines, and many more. Vivek is known in his industry to speak around the globe at conferences on how to engage Millennials to help them reach their peak potential.
He has been featured by the National Population and Talent Division in Singapore under the Prime Minister’s Office to feature in a video of #MySingaporeStory. He has appeared on CNBC, Channel NewsAsia as a guest on the Millennial/Gen Z topic.
During the pandemic, he signed a 3-book deal with Penguin Random House, launched two books so far, and is launching his third book this year.
Book and podcast recommendations:
Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection: https://amzn.asia/d/fPZgyHH
Deep Questions with Cal Newport: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/deep-questions-with-cal-newport/id1515786216
Experience an Introduction to our Coach Training Programmes with our Free Taster Course: https://courses.baileybalfour.com/course/coach-training-introduction
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Hi everyone, and welcome to Making Sense of Work Today. I am thrilled to be joined by Vivek Iani. Welcome to the podcast, Vivek. Thanks for having me, Jean. Oh, it's great. I'm really, really looking forward to our conversation. Vivek is a millennial specialist and keynote speaker at Millennial Minds. He's the author of two books, empowering Millennials, engaging Millennials, and the Millennial leader. He's a regular speaker on intergenerational working and has spoken in organizations like PayPal, Oracle, the Brunai government. Singapore General Hospital, and I could go on and on. He's also known in the industry for speaking at conferences on how to engage millennials to help them reach their peak potential. He's been featured by the National Population and Talent Division here in Singapore under the Prime Minister's office to feature in a video. Of my Singapore story. He's appeared on C N B C Channel News Asia, also as a guest talking about millennials and Gen Z. During the pandemic, he signed his three book deal with Penguin Random House, and he's launched two books so far and has launching his third book this year. Welcome again to the podcast.Vivek:
Thank you for having me. Yeah, I'm happy to be here.Jean:
Ah, it's really a pleasure. So I'm really looking forward to us having a conversation about intergenerational working. It's something that I've, done some work on in the past, but I never felt that I really understood it and could see where the nuances are. So I'm really keen to talk to you about that. But before we get into that, let's just start with housework at the moment.Vivek:
Works pretty great. Um, so we've been doing a lot more of, online and offline, for me at least. And I think it's a good blend. it's good to be back to do live, you know, in-person events. Um, definitely can see the difference, the palpable difference with energy, in the room. So I'm really happy to be. On stage and also glad that, you know, overseas engagements are also picking up as well. So, so yeah, overall pretty, pretty happy with how the year has been going so far.Jean:
That's really good. I imagine you are in demand. Um, when you have a good day at work, what does that look like for you?Vivek:
A good day is when I get to work with a few clients without having to rush, right? So a good day is where I'm not rushed. I'm not rushing from point A to point B to point C. Um, and, uh, I get to work with, clients and when clients mentioned something, that really impacted them and they feel it's a very meaningful. Comment, it could be someone who's like a participant. you know, and who said that, you know, whatever you just shared, really, I changed my perspective on things. Or it could be about, Hey, I'm so glad that, you know, we gotta catch up, uh, you know, after a long time. So that could. These are the, the kind of things that make it a really good day for me where, because you, you really feel the impact of the work that you're doing in some form or the other. Sometimes it's just a very passing remark, but, I've learned to realize that these passing remarks are where you actually see the impact of, whatever we do. Right. As a speaker, I think, uh, you can relate as well.Jean:
Yeah, for sure. There's something about sowing seeds in people's minds, isn't there? And then yeah, coming back to you and saying how that seed. Grew and had an impact forVivek:
them. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.Jean:
And I shared a little bit about your work now, but could you tell us a bit of the story of how you came to be doing thisVivek:
work? Um, Oh yeah. So, I started working while I was in university. and, uh, you know, I realized that I had a lot more time on my hands and, I started doing freelance work. I did, I started with promoting wine to going to do like, you know, event organizing work. I got this opportunity to be like, an assistant slash youth coach to the main trainer where they would go to schools and deliver enrichment programs. So I was so fascinated by how charismatic and engaging these, speakers were. And, I was wondering like, wow. How, how do they manage to do that? How do they manage to really understand the psychology of all? These kids and, um, you know, that even the teachers themselves, they can't bring themselves to get that kind of level of engagement getting even, let alone get them to listen to them. Right? So how do the trainers do something that the teachers who've been in the field for so long are unable to do so? I was so fascinated by it. I continue, you know, just. Observing from behind the scenes as the trainer's assistant slash youth coach, we have to set up the, you know, the microphones and the speakers and the material, you know, and then once all of that's set up, we basically get to sit in the back of the room and observe from the speaker, right? So, That happened quite a bit during my early years in the university, and then slowly I got the opportunity to speak in front of the room and I realized I really enjoyed it. So upon graduation, me and my friends, we just set up a company and said, Hey, let's, let's pitch some programs to the schools ourselves. Right. Um, we had zero experience other than whatever we accumulated, in our part-time gigs. And, we started learning sales and, we did that for a while. We eventually got sales and we eventually brought ourselves in front of, uh, you know, the audience. And, uh, I did that for about. Six to seven years. Um, and then I realized I wanna do something for a different target audience. No more kids from seven to 17 year old. How about those in the universities? 18 to early young adults. Right. So I started out, so now that I've had a bit of experience in business, I started interviewing, you know, these university students. What are your challenges? What keeps you up at night? You know, really understanding where they are at. And I came across a lot of issues. And so they refer to adulting, uh, issues like managing finance, managing relationships, um, not knowing where the career is headed, going through like a graduate remorse, like, you know, I've signed up for this, uh, university degree program, but I don't see myself working as, for example, an engineer. Right? So a lot of these issues that I felt that was not being talked about, And what I did was I did a Google search to really understand what this is all coming to, and I found that a lot of the research that's been there has been, focused on a very western demographic that means US based audience. Yeah. I really couldn't find, um, anything beyond. Beyond page one of Google, right? I, I mean, I, I, I actually scoured all the links, couldn't find a, a lot of research based on the Asian demographic. So I realized that there's a gap there and we should really be raising, the voices of or, and the concerns of the university students. So I interviewed more. And, um, then I took my findings and I decided to put it into a book. so that's how empowering millennials, was formed. And, uh, it's really sharing, it's about them navigating adulthood and the quarter life crisis that they actually face as they enter the workforce or once they've just entered the workforce. so that book then got picked up by the media and then corporate started contacting me, asking me if I had. Any, any programs for them, you know, in the corporate space where they can, help the managers to engage with them. So, so that's something that is, um, still ongoing and that's how I kind of entered into this space.Jean:
Great. I, I love your story, Vive, because it's such a, Story of following your passion, following what you're drawn to, using your own initiative. It's a, it's a millennial story in itself actually, because it's about you saying, I'll create it, I'll create the job that I want and make it happen. And, um, What people won't know is that I was nodding vigorously when you were talking about the research because I actually did run some courses for corporates about five years ago on intergenerational working, and I don't think I told you this, but I stopped and partly because I felt so frustrated that all the research was. Was Western was US based mainly there was a tiny bit in Asia and I felt that I was working with anecdotal data and that I couldn't back anything up. Uh, and also I'm a baby boomer, so I also felt that I didn't have enough of a story to tell, to be honest. So thank you for stepping into the space because there was a gap, and I could see it really clearly, and you've stepped into that space and I think that's really meaningful.Vivek:
So, yeah. Yeah. I, I, I really feel like the gap has widened over the years, and I think we'll talk about this, uh, you know, in, in, in a bit. So, yeah.Jean:
Well, thank you. Let's jump in then and talk about this. Could you sort of set the scene, what's happening in the workplace now that makes it different to before? Why is this such an issue for us now?Vivek:
Okay, so I've always believed that the generation gap has never been a new phenomenon. It's always been there, right? When, even when Gen Xs entered the workforce, there was a generation gap between baby boomers and Gen Xs, except maybe. It wasn't that big of a gap and as we moved into the tech boom, I think a lot of behaviors changed. So socially we have changed. Parenting styles changed, um, the way millennials grew up. With technology changed their behaviors, the way they interacted with their parents, changed the expectations of the adult figures that they interacted with, right? So all of these things, and of course you add in the economy, you know, the ups and downs of the economy also impacted the mindset of the millennials. Specifically, and now when you have the Covid, the Pandemic, it's also affected the Gen Zs as well. So, so we noticed that, you know, all of these big changes in the environment has really led to a bigger impact in terms of motivations, communication styles, working ethics, expectations of the workforce, you know, so. That's the, the gap has just widened, you know? Mm-hmm. Dramatically over the past few decades. Yeah. So it is, it is easy to see why the baby boomer cannot relate with a Gen Z who has come up in a very different, he's grown up in a very different environment as a different expectations, so their reference points are very different. That's what's changed. Yeah. So if you want to be able to bridge the gap, uh, first you need to be able to have the awareness, right? They, they call it the ABC or awareness before change. So if you wanna bring about any change to bridge the Gap, we need to raise awareness of this is how baby boomers were brought up. Like I, I asked my dad the other day, Before email, how do you contact other people in your, in your company? And he said, that'll be this post boy kind of guy who will come and send the memos. Yeah. He'll, he'll put the memos in the inbox and the outbox and then, you know, you have to arrange it accordingly. And then, uh, and then two days later he'll get a response. It was like that. And, you know, I don't think the Gen Zs of today, Realize that they can't even imagine a world without email or, you know, without technology. so this, that is the entertaining side of how the world used to be, which I think if we bring together can really help people empathize with one another instead of just going with the stereotypes, which is just the tip of the iceberg, right? Mm-hmm. So, so I, I really believe that, um, you know, all generations when they come together, they have so much value to add as opposed to, You know, feeling like they are a liability to the team. Mm-hmm. Yeah.Jean:
Because there's, there's about how do we, um, how do we bring the value and the learning from those different generations, but also how do we learn to communicate across the generations is really key,Vivek:
isn't it? Exactly. Mm-hmm. Exactly. Yeah. So, so e e even the other day, I think I, I had this, um, Old age home reached out to me saying that, you know, they were experiencing a lot of, requests for multi-generational workforce training. And, and the context was that, you know, now we have a lot of millennials who are leaders, but they're not willing to take on, um, you know, the baby boomers who are reentering the workforce. Right? So on a gig basis, because they felt like the tech gap. It's too much for them to catch up. And they said, I will be spending more time explaining how the technology works with them as opposed to, uh, you know, getting the project done on time. Right. So there is this bias that we need to address and it works. It goes both ways. We have ageism and reverse ageism, but what we are seeing today is that, you know, even millennials are giving, a tough time to baby boomers. So it's, it's interesting to see how technology is really playing a part in all of these behavioral, symptoms that we are seeing that raises the conflicts, in organizations.Jean:
And it's important to, um, see through the stereotype, of course, because the problem with any of these things is that, Is that we then group everybody into that grouping. So I think of myself and my dad, who's probably more tech savvy than me. He's 90 and you know, he, there's always gonna be an outlier, and he's definitely the outlier on this, but, uh, but it is, it is certainly true. I watch, um, people I work with who are millennials just working technically so differently, so quickly through a new app or a new function in a way that I. Can't do it, but I have to think about it and kind of go, it's just not, it's not second nature to me. I thinkVivek:
I have to learn it. And, and you know what's the interesting thing is that we all think that the millennials or the Gen Zs are digital natives, but based on my work with different millennials across the region, so I've spoken in Philippines, in Bruni, in Myanmar, in India, right. And I've. Come across employees who didn't have the same level of privilege as a typical first world, individual would've. Right. So their childhood, right. If they live in a, like a third world country or in a third world setting, mm. They don't have access to the smartphones. They don't have access to the computers. They don't have the kind of a privilege. They don't grow up. Thinking, I want work-life balance. They grew up thinking, I want to get into a tier one city. I want to get into the city, and I wanna be able to earn, well, I wanna be able to provide for my family. I want to have security. That's the kind of things that's on their mind. So in the Maslow hierarchy, they're actually on the bottom ranks, right? For them? That's what's. Priority. So this is a millennial or a Gen Z that we are talking about. Mm-hmm. City, right? So for them, they didn't have the privilege. So they don't have those. Mm-hmm. We look at those first world country millennials and Gen Zs, they already had those kind of privileges, so they want those on the upper echelon of the Maslow's Heirarchy so we do notice that, you know, your privilege really determines. What drivers you really have. Mm-hmm. And so, um, a Gen Z who didn't have a lot of privilege is very similar to the baby boomer who didn't have a lot of privilege, uh, you know, back in those days. Like our parents, for example. Right? So, so, uh, a millennials parent, a baby boomer who probably grew up in a third world setting, right? Would. Be able to relate a lot more to the millennial or the Gen Z who's grew, who also grew up in a third world setting. So, so we do notice that, you know, we can't just say everyone is a digital native just because, uh, they were born in those years. Yeah.Jean:
Yeah. No, I think that's so important and I think the pandemic. Presumably has made that even more diverse because, you know, in first world countries people could work from, do their schooling from home, their work from home. It was no problem. But where you don't have access to the technology at home, schooling has been really impacted for those generations where they haven't had iPads just there to do their homework on and things like that. Absolutely.Vivek:
Real impact. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.Jean:
So bearing all that in mind, What are your thoughts about how we can begin to work across generations better, moreVivek:
effectively? I think first is we have to divide it into two things. One is what can management do and what can managers do? Because it is always the case where the manager's like, it's the hrs job, it's not my job. Right. And, you know, employee engagement is not hrs responsibility, it's your as well, right? So I think it's firstly important for us to make it clear that the manager has a role to play. secondly, it is to work hand in hand with, the management team, the HR team, to see what are the things that, they can bring to the table, to the organization, so that we can bring, you know, the generations together. So the basic key things that you can do, um, on a management level is, To organize events where you have a facilitator and you know, you get different generations to share, you know, um, you know, what their journey has been like, what their work life history has been like, what were the changes that they went through? What were the experiences that they've had, you know, so getting to share, right? So this creates the abc, the awareness before change. So they, you feel more, you can empathize a lot more with why they are the way they are. When you hear a lot more of these stories, when you don't know that side of the person, it's very hard to empathize and it's very hard to then collaborate and work together. Right. So I think having those kind of things, it can be in the, in the form of focus group discussions. It could be in the form of debates, it could be in the form of different kinds of, um, you know, events that. Tackle generational diversity and also doing brainstorming sessions to see what value every generation has to bring to the table, because all generations are misunderstood. What we need to do is then, you know, debunk all the stereotypes and see what value and what strengths they can have and what they bring to the table, and see how you can then as a leader type on that. So once that has been done from the management point of view, then it's up to the manager or the leader to see what are you. Be going to be able to implement in your own team, right? What are some initiatives? Can you do reverse mentoring within your team? Right? Can you pair up people who have different strengths together? Right? What can you do as a manager to bring them closer together? So I do believe that, you know, it it takes both hands to CLA management and the managers have to come in, uh, to bridge the gap.Jean:
I, I'm interested in reverse mentoring actually, one of the things that you've picked up, because I've run those program before, so I'd love to hear you describe a bit about that and how it, how it works and what are the benefits of doing it. Cuz it's very easy to run. It's very low cost and very effective I think.Vivek:
Exactly. So as the leader or the manager, you, you would have a rough idea of the different members in your team and if you have a multi-generational team, then uh, it'll be really good for you to. Really create a table and see who are the members in your team, what generations they are from, what are the strengths that you really admire in these individuals, and what are the weaknesses that they have? And then look at, okay, who should pair up with whom in order for them to gain different kinds of insights. So, uh, if I were to take a very typical example, if we have a baby boomer who's got a lot of tacit knowledge and wisdom on, and they can really teach you something about, um, building client relationships, right? The real. Uh, difference on how do you really win people over and they maybe weaken the technological or social media aspect of things. Then they can then pair, pair them up with a Gen Z who's really good at the technology. They're very tech savvy, but I'm not very comfortable with, uh, you know, building relationships or. Uh, even confronting people when, when it comes to difficult conversations that they want to air out, right? So when you, when you as the leader have a full idea of the kind of talents you have in your team, you know who to pair up with whom, and then that can kickstart the, uh, reverse mentoring. Of course, this can also be done in the company level, but as a team manager, you can also do it within your team. IJean:
mean, I've seen it across different diverse groups and it's had a massive impact. People are really surprised and it, it, it has a big win in that it helps build relationships in places that people wouldn't have built relationships before. So even if not much learning happens, the relationships are built, they're there and solid, and it's reallyVivek:
good. And they realize how different they are. Like, for example, the other day, one of, my clients, they were saying, you know, he's like the head of HR and he's being reverse mentored by this new entry, employee. And, uh, you know, he just said that, you know, we were both supposed to introduce each other and we had to prepare a deck. And his deck was fully informative. His phone so small on the deck and you know, it is full of words. And, and the other guy, right. Full, full pictures, only pictures on his deck. Right? And then he uses the pictures to tell a story. and he was so amazed that, why didn't I think of that? Why didn't I, this is something that I wanna take back, you know, and learn, you know, how do I tell pictures? So for them, they're so used to seeing numbers and, words on the. Presentation deck that they think that's the only way that we can introduce ourselves, right? Yes. Like the height and the figures. But you know, you can learn so much where when you go outside of your comfort zone and go into people who are very different from you, you can really, learn a lot about yourself and the other person as well.Jean:
Yeah. Love it. Love it. Um, in your writing about millennials, you've. Seven ways, I think, to engage millennials. So could you share a bit about these seven ways?Vivek:
Yeah. So what, whatever I've, kind of filtered down to seven ways are basically, different things that we believe will help in the engagement, the recruitment, the retention. And rewards, of millennials. So let me start off with, first, millennials of the Gen Zs, they're looking for a company that embraces and leans into technology. I remember a time where my friend was so fed up with the company that he worked in because the computer was so slow and it would just quit on him halfway while he was doing his work. Right. He was just shut down and he is like, the company doesn't want to change his computer, and he would rent, right? And we really like it. Organizations that, you know, listening, listen to these kind of, things and really update their software, the technology that they use, so that we don't do things, you know, in a medval fashion. So futuristic is one. Second is a company that really focuses on friendship. Now, one thing you would definitely notice about the younger generation is they are really good on connecting with people online. They have lots of friends. But in reality, in real life, they feel lonely, even in a crowd, right? They feel like they don't have that many friends, they don't have that many deep relationships. They don't know how to have those kind of deeper relationships, especially with people who are at the workforce. Right? So, um, friendship is an idea of how do you build that? So reverse mentoring is just one of those ways that we can look into building people up and bringing the relationships closer. So that you don't feel like it's just a work colleague. But more than that. Now, some people from different generations may feel like, you know, work is work and friend is friend and they draw a line there. But I think for the younger generations, they really would love to be in a company where they can have. Simple banter with your bosses, you know, outside of work. And then when they're work, when it's time to get serious, they do get serious as well. Right? So they, they like that kind of, uh, informal setting right when it comes to work. Third is flexy Pay. So, The idea is not to have a one size fits all. So when Baby Boomers entered the workforce, we had the typical insurance, the retirement watch, right? Um, you had, um, annual leave. Nothing much has changed since then, right? For a lot of the organizations until the tech startups really popped up. And then we realized there's unlimited annual leave that's matchmaking done within the organization. Uh, you have, you know, stocks and, you know, uh, bonds that's being given to people who stay longer. You have, uh, your, uh, ability to do your own ping with 10% of the time in in the company, right? So there's so many other things you can bring to the table and offer it as options so that they can choose, pick and choose what is most relevant for them at that stage in life, as opposed to saying, this is all we have to offer. Take it or leave it. Right. So flexi pay is something that I think we can look into. Mm-hmm. Um, so these are some things that the management can do. On top of that, of course, fulfillment is one of the key things that, will really engage with, the younger generation. So what's the kind of impact they're making in the world? Right? So how do you know that you're doing work that is meaningful? KPMG actually did a study where they interviewed all of their employees and asked them, you know, what keeps you here? Why did you join? And what keeps you here? What are some stories you would love to share about a positive experience in kpmg? I think they got about 45,000 odd, um, you know, uh, stories. And from that they picked the best few ones, and then they put it in their internal communications. They put it on their websites, right. And, um, they blasted out. Entire, you know, employees and, you know, under the great place to work, they jumped 17 sports just because of this one exercise, right? Because people so felt so connected to the the why, the cause, right? And I think even the older generations, Have it, but it's not a must for them because it wasn't really a thing when they joined in. But for the younger generations, theyre, it really appeals to them, especially those who ca who grew up with that kind of privilege. They are really, um, motivated by the intrinsic why. Right. As opposed to the extrinsic money and benefits, stuff like that. So fulfillment. So all of these are basically what management can do. Mm-hmm. On a managerial level. Um, you can also look into what's the career mobility looking like for this individual, this team. Can you grow horizontally? Can you grow horizontally? Can you grow vertically? Can you grow diagonally? What's the way that you can grow? Right? This is really important for them, especially when they are the ones who are thinking about growth all the time. If they don't feel like they're growing or they feel like they're doing the same work and they're going through what we call a role burnout, right? They kind of bored with, uh, what they have then, um, these kind of career mobility conversations really excite them. I do know that you know that some organizations create internal career fairs, so the different departments can then, um, you know, share what. They're, look who they're looking for. Yeah. What kind of roles they're looking for. So that's really important. another thing that managers can do is feedback, um, can, how do you give feedback that inspires the person instead of deflating them? Right. So usually whenever someone calls you into the office, I need to talk to you. You get afraid. You feel like, oh no, what did I do wrong? And usually when the feedback is harsh and critical, it just leaves the person feeling worse off. So now how do we then, as managers inspire them? How do we give them the techniques to make them feel like, you know, you've made a mistake, but that's not the end of the world. That's so much more that you can do to achieve, better results in the future. Right. So these are the kind of things that I think managers need to have in order to, do the kind of work that will engage the younger generation.Jean:
Mm, yeah. No, that's, that's really meaningful. All of that. And I'm, um, I wanna just pick up on one of the points about the career conversations, because a lot of the noise in the system, and I think sort of, uh, judgmental noise about millennials is jaw hopping. And when I was looking at this, I couldn't find any data. About whether the job popping story was true or not. And so I'm curious to know whether, first of all, whether you've seen whether millennials are more likely to move around. And secondly, actually, I think your point is very well made, but it's my job as a manager to see what I can do to help the millennials stay to feel valued.Vivek:
Absolutely. So, I did come across research from LinkedIn where I think in the Asia Pacific they did a research and they did find that, millennials tend to stay lesser in organizations compared to the Gen X and the baby boomers. They, they did publish something based on LinkedIn alone. Right. so statistically we do see that they do. Tend to jump quite a bit. but that being said, right, when we are on the topic of loyalty, I mean this is, this has not been measured scientifically, but you know, when you think of loyalty and you think of, you know, that concept of loyalty, loyalty is being in an organization or being. That specific, let's say if it's a football club or, if it's, someone that you really support, like a celebrity, right? Loyalty to the person means you are there with them, even in the ups and downs, right? So you are there throughout, that's loyalty, right? but if loyalty is being measured based on. How many opportunities you have, then it makes it a little bit more interesting. So this is something that I'm still toying around with. It's like in beta phase. Right. If someone had opportunities knocking on his door and he refuses to join, does that make him more loyal? Or if someone didn't have opportunities, but. He has no opportunities, but he's kind of loyal. He stays in the same company all the way who's more loyal. Yeah.Jean:
That's so interesting. So is there a prison door or an open door and where does loyalty set? I think that's really, that's really interesting. Yeah. Well, ofVivek:
course when it comes to, the workplace, there's a lot of like what, what the offer is on the table and all of those kind of things come into play, becomes complicated, but, Loyalty as a concept is poorly measured just based on the number of years Yeah. You are in an organization. Agree. I, I do feel that's more, I agree more to it than that. Yeah. Yeah. A lot more.Jean:
A lot more. in all of this, we, you know, I run a coach training company, so I'm really curious about what role you see coaching plays for managers in supporting different generations?Vivek:
Well, I really do believe that, you know, back in those days, being a leader means you need to be the one who knows everything, the one who has all the answers. And I think that used to be the concept for a long time. Whereas now with coaching in the scene and realizing that, you know, you can be a leader without knowing everything, you're here to manage everyone so that they can all perform better together, right? if your team is not performing better together, then you don't really need the team, right? So, As a leader, are you able to then listen more? Are you able to then find out what are the key issues that the other individual is facing and able to guide the person to overcome his own hurdles as opposed to just giving them the direction and the answers? Right. I do believe that coaching plays a huge part in the way, they can relate to the people. So back in those days, It is common to have for, the older generations to wear a toxic badge of Warner. Like I went through the worst, I can handle anything. I'm resilient, right? I'm anti-fragile, but, do we have to go there? Do we don't need to go to work to learn lessons in resilience? Right. So, we can actually embrace you know, take on the skill sets of being a coach to bring out the best without having to. Put them through all the kind of fire, right? So if we can use coaching as a way to engage better, with all generations, I think we'll have a better understanding of our team. We'll have a better understanding of, the concepts, the issues that they are facing. And as a leader, we become a lot more valuable as opposed to someone that is feared. Right. IJean:
agree. I couldn't agree more. I mean, I. I believe that coaching is an inclusion tool, actually. And I think everything that you've said kind of helps me keep pointing in that direction. That if we're coaching, we're including, we're helping people feel a sense of belonging because we are listening to them, we're being empathic, we're helping them think, yeah. Before we move on, just to the last few questions, I, I'm curious about what advice you would have for the millennials and the Gen Zs listening to this for their own careers and how they can navigate working life.Vivek:
Yeah, so if you are a millennial, let me say, for the millennials, firstly, you're probably in a position where if you're in a leadership position, you're entering management or you would be facing issues that, your seniors may not have gone through, right? So you've probably gone through a pandemic where now, the virtual remote work has become more of a norm. So, you know, motivating and keeping your team engaged. Through a remote setting is going to be a new thing. Um, conversations around burnout is going to be something that's very new to you. Um, compared to the older generations, probably didn't have to worry about burnout. You, you can't afford to be burnt out back then, right? We are looking at, you know, all of these new changes and now we have ai, right? that's coming into play and it's, you know, creating a lot of fear amongst people as well. So how do you then navigate all of these new changes? The key thing is to remember to always keep unlearning. And then learning and relearning, right? Because, if you are not agile in this world, where the future of work seems to be just so rapidly changing, it can feel very, very overwhelming. So, the first thing is to realize that all of these challenges are new. So it's okay if you're feeling overwhelmed, but at the same time realize that. You have to be agile in order to keep up, with all of these changes at hand if you're a Gen Z I think the biggest, advice or sharing that I can have is to really learn the nuances of building a relationship in person. So how do you engage with someone who is so different from you and build that relationship and think from their perspective and, you know, like, what's in it for me? Think of it from their perspective and always keep adding value. The leaders or your seniors are also humans, right? And that, so how do you now, give, you know, address the human needs of the leader that you are, working with, and, learn to appreciate your leaders and build a better relationship and manage up. So I think that is one of the best skill sets you can, you know, obtain, because you cannot decide who's gonna be a boss. Right. So always be prepared with your core skill sets to be able to engage with who, anyone who becomes your boss.Jean:
Thank you. Yeah, that's great advice. And I was thinking as you were saying that about the building relationships in person, that, for some people that has become a bit uncomfortable. I mean, I noticed myself, I'm a big people person coming outta the pandemic. The first few client meetings I went to, I was. I felt really awkward. I kind of wasn't sure. Um, and so I think it's like any, uh, skillset, we need to practice it. We just need to get on, do it and not take those initial feelings of discomfort, uh, at firsthand and just keep going back in and keep having a go. Um, thank you so much for sharing that. Just as we are coming to close a couple of questions. So the first one is, um, I often like to ask people about imposter syndrome because I think, I mean, you are a very adequate person. It would be easy for people to listen to you and think. That never shows up for you. So I'm curious about whether it's. Does, and when it does, how do you work with it and handle it and overcome it?Vivek:
Yeah, so imposter syndrome was very real for me, especially when I was starting out. So, you know, when I started writing the book, I went through imposter syndrome during that process. Like I was thinking, who would read the book? Why would they take me seriously? And, are in books written by people who are already successful, not by people who are, you know, still in the journey right. Of, career. so I had a lot of imposter syndrome, while doing that. And the only way I dealt with it, was, So I, I mean,, I confided in a friend and, my friend just gave me a motivation in, in a sense that, you know, there are people who are reading 50 Shades of Gray, and your book is doing so much more to help people. So you can be pretty sure that whatever you have to write is gonna be more valuable in that sense. Right. So, so that level of, encouragement that one sentence made me feel like, oh, okay, maybe he has something, he has a point to himself. And even though I still had that kind of nagging, um, voice in the back of my head, I just continued to do what I had to do. And I said, let the world decide instead of me deciding for myself. And I think I also put up a post today where, um, it's a paradox. Uh, imposter syndrome is a paradox because, um, you don't believe. In your own skills or you don't believe you deserve the success you have if you're going through imposter syndrome, and then, you believe the other people, right? Um, but you don't believe your own doubts, right? So it becomes a paradox because you don't doubt your own doubts. So it, it is very interesting to see that, um, uh, imposter syndrome has. It is something that everyone experiences at some point in time. Um, the only way to go through it is to have, is to go back to your why. So you have to really know why you're doing what you're doing and, um, and believe that, you know, There is a bigger cause at the end of it all, and then just continue the journey and ignore the voice that is there. That's, that's what I did. It worked for me. Um, and, uh, I do hope that it works for others as well. Mm-hmm. Brilliant.Jean:
Thank you. And final question, what book or podcast would you recommend to people or book or podcasts,Vivek:
plural? Okay. So, um, for books, I, I, let me just take a look at my bookshelf. So I'm the guy and guy who, uh, you know, collects a lot of books and I have a very long. To be read list, and, slowly,, catching up on, all the different kinds of books that I have bought in the past. and the one that I, the one that I, that really stuck to my mind, I'm just trying to remember his name, the author's name, is. So the book is about, how do you challenge yourself out of your comfort zone? And, so it's called rejection proof, right? And, if I, let me, if I can just quickly, his name. It's this guy called Cha, right? Um, he's even got, uh, Ted TEDx talk, I think. Mm-hmm. Right? So it's called rejection proof. And, how I beat fear and became invincible. Right. Fantastic. He's got really funny stories about, about how he set hundred challenges for a hundred days and then, and then what are the lessons he learned, um, you know, while dealing with people doing things that are totally outside of his comfort zone. Right. And, uh, I, that's a book that I, that really made me realize that, you know, a lot of. What we do, we are the ones self sabotaging ourselves as opposed to people stopping us from achieving whatever we want. So it was a very good reminder that 80% of the time we are the ones that's stopping ourselves.Jean:
Indeed, we are. And a thank you. We'll put a link to that in the show notes and a podcast or two.Vivek:
Yeah. So, uh, the podcast that I like is by Cal Newport. It's called Deep Questions, I think. Think deep questions. Yes. Yes. Deep questions. I really love, uh, his podcast. He really goes into really relevant topics, uh, that, that make you, make you think about, uh, different topics in a different way.Jean:
I love that. I'm also a listener of that podcast and his book Deep Work. Has really influenced my working passions, actually. So, yeah. Um, wow. Vivek, I'm so grateful for you for doing this work because it needed to be done and it needed to be done in Asia Pacific. And thank you for stepping up to the plate and doing it, and finally bringing a really. Um, sound, meaningful voice to this conversation. So it's been great to talk to you. I'm sure that for people listening, there's lots of of rich sources for thinking and, uh, ways of looking at leadership and being employees in this. So thanks very much for joining me in the podcastVivek:
today. Thanks for having me, Jean. I really enjoyed our conversation.