The Entrepreneurial Spirit of the New Generations

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of the New Generations

by Otávio Dias, CEO and partner at REPENSE

MAR | 2020

by Otávio Dias, CEO and partner at REPENSE

I entered the communication market at a very young age. At twenty-three,

I was already a service director for a Curitiba agency that made history in direct marketing: Zest, a pioneer in southern Brazil and that in a few years became one of the most recognized in the country.

I was lucky to "find" myself in relationship marketing and to have had amazing teams and clients on my journey. But, above all, of having a first leadership - Beatriz Teixeira de Freitas, founder of Zest - who managed to inspire me, give me space and quickly awaken and boost the entrepreneurial spirit that is part of my essence.

After several years as a partner of Zest, other good years in the Gray Group (GreyZest) and almost 13 years as a head of REPENSE along my partner Luna Gutierres, I realize that one of the characteristics that are emerging in the new talents of the business world is directly related to the spirit of that young enthusiast of almost 25 years ago: intrapreneurship.

Many companies have been losing (and failing to attract) young talents with the justification that they want to start their own startups or work in other startups that are emerging in Brazil and in the world. That is true. However, based on my own history and what I have observed and studied about the new generations, this is not the only thing that has kept them away from some corporations.

I strongly believe that what this new generation wants is not necessarily to open their own business, but above all, to have space and a voice for their ideas and ideals. For them, as important or more important than being an effective owner, is to realize that they can be and make a difference wherever they are.

In addition, that is exactly where startups are hands down still better than most corporations, as they are naturally less strict, less hierarchical and less bureaucratic and, by that, faster, more accessible and more open to listening and giving space to people. In startups, young people are heard without judgment, arrogance or prejudice.

Audacity, courage and willingness to innovate and affect the world in some way are intrinsic feelings of the new generations. This same generation is discouraged and can no longer engage in hierarchical, bureaucratic or repetitive routines.

If, on the one hand, there is no denying that these new professionals are actually more complex to manage, on the other, their bold behaviors can transform them into the most productive and transformative workforce in recent times.

However, for this to happen, we need to rethink the way our leadership has been relating to these new generations.

  • Are your leaders prepared to deal with these young people? For those who come from other generations or formal structures, the reactiveness of the youngest may sound arrogant. Although the "shape" is not always ideal, instead of giving that "discouraging cut", how about giving more importance to what is behind this movement?
  • Do your leaders confuse firmness and conviction with authoritarianism? Consciously or unconsciously, every young person needs limits, but this new generation has an aversion to imposing or inflexible leaders. And, remember: just as they reject hierarchy, they also reject confused, absent and, above all, insecure leaders.
  • Do your leaders give (and receive) quick and transparent feedback? Young people like to speak their minds as much as they like to receive quick and honest feedback. Do not leave for tomorrow what you can say and remedy today;
  • Do your leaders recognize who makes (and who seeks to make) a difference? If, on the one hand, the effectiveness of meritocracy has been questioned, especially in societies as unequal as that of Brazil, for these new generations it is essential to have a light at the end of the tunnel of the steps (and leaps) they can take in your company. And the good news is that these young people are open to growth and rewards quite alternative to conventional career plans: from participating in the results of specific projects to more free time for family, other businesses or even social causes.
  • Are your leaders concerned about the diversity of your teams? The technical, theoretical foundation and, above all, the maturity and emotional intelligence of previous generations is as relevant as all the technological experience and the entrepreneurial spirit of the new generations. Not by chance, many companies have already realized that great magic happens when looking at diversity includes - in addition to the diversity of gender, sexual orientation, color, races, ethnicities and social classes - the difference in GENERATIONS.

In this moment of global entrepreneurial boiling, keep an eye out for new businesses that may arise within your own company. Although we have a tendency to believe that innovation comes from outside and that “no one is a prophet in their own land”, often the revolutionary insight, the differentiated professional or even that disruptive "startup" idea that you are looking for may be in your own company.

If in the old days, valuing the "home-grown" players for new positions was already fundamental, nowadays, valuing the "home-grown" players can mean a turning point for growth, longevity and even renewal and perpetuity for your business.

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