Career advice specifically for women in 2018

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Photo by Nicola Gypsicola on Unsplash

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.”

—Sheryl Sandberg

On the other side of the imposter syndrome is your success. YOU are worthy, YOU were chosen, YOU will not fail and God NEVER makes a mistake.

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Millennial Consumers Determine the Fate of Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson

*Firstly, I want to start of by clarifying that I am by no means a fortune-teller/ marketing expert. The contents of my article today are merely based on my own opinions and research I have conducted around the company and do not reflect or indicate in any way with absolute certainty the fate of the organization being discussed. it’s a wild world and anything can happen :). COOL…

As I settled onto my bed to prepare for one of my Business School lectures, I had already prepared my mind for a half an hour of critical thinking and active reading.

This time around the business case I had to go through was based on Harley Davidson-The history, the journey and “the future”.

What I soon realized on the first page of the 12 pages of information, was a very dangerous situation. You know when a company starts sinking and they can see it but they don’t know what to do? Something like Nokia… Blackberry… HTC….MySpace….MXIT…The crux of the case focussed on the concert the leadership team had around their aging client base and felt that over the years they had neglected their existing millennial fan base who would prove to be crucial in taking the brand to the next level; as opposed to relying so heavily on its former glory days where the fans in the 80s lived and breathed the brand due to influences from pop culture.

Hells Angels

Decades later, having neglected the marketing aspect of their business and not staying in touch with the evolving client base, the leadership in the company which was responsible for Harley Davidison’s strategic direction woke up to realize that their base was growing older and thinner by the year, their competition was eating their lunch (despite their local government assisting them with foreign tax implementation) and in regions where they had chosen to expand with their “more relatable” Buell, no previous research was done of competitors or of target audience preferences. The company had made the very big mistake on relying solely on their powerful and established American brand, not realizing that there was a possibility of customers all the way in Asia/ Africa/ Europe, who needed a customized story and message fit for their context. The HD brand and philosophy was just not landing with my fellow global millennials.

Read more posts related to consumer trends: Why is butter so expensive?

As I read on, thinking that there would be some kind of comeback strategy, to my disappointment, the case ended by subtly suggesting two brand revamp strategies which I don’t think have been implemented at all to date and quite honestly I believe, if done correctly and effectively, could win back the grace and image of the brand in diverse international regions.

Although this case is a bit dated. Having left the reformation to so late, I think it’s going to take more than a brilliant marketing strategy to reform the brand (effective execution is key) and the WSJ seems to agree, with projections of the company’s profits taking a downward spiral as can be read here .

Sometimes it’s better to bend. With new developments, the brand needs to take the millennial voice into account during product proposition design and execution (and it will take more than just paintng the whole motocycle black to win back the client base) or else I’m sad to say, will become obsolete and irrelevant for the future.

See the new Harley Davidson commercial which aims to target their younger client base, while still remaining relevant to their existing base. Do you think it will be enough?

Guest Post: My travel, my truth (tips for traveling with and without friends)

Travel
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

I have been privileged enough to travel overseas twice on someone else’s budget. My first overseas trip was to the USA in 2014 and my second trip took me all the way to Portugal in Europe.

On my first trip, I had 9 other companions and we were all friends so there was no doubt that it was going to be fun. All of us were heavily involved and committed to making the process perfect. Upon arrival, we were mandated to be in Boston for 4 days for a Young Leader’s Summit, but hey! We were finally in ‘Merica and we absolutely could not let this opportunity pass us by without some kind of exploration.

We had a grand ol’ time in Boston but as fate and “the spirit of YOLO” would have it, we made a pit stop in NEW YORK, (yes NEW YORK CITY the big apple) and boy was it magical!

Friends
Trip to ‘Merica with my friends

TRAVELLING WITH FRIENDS

There is something special in travelling with friends. A dynamic you can’t really attain when you travel with family or work acquaintances. Here are some of the elements I found most enjoyable when travelling with people who are your friends:

  • Flexible itinerary– having the freedom to change the itinerary depending on how everyone feels that day with no hard feelings.
  • Prior planning– we knew how much it would cost if we were to go to every tourist attraction in NY and Boston.
  • Work hard play harder– we made time for work and time for fun. We also made time for people to rest when they needed to.
  • Friends bring familiarity and some sort of security– traveling to a different country can be overwhelming but having people you can call “friends” brings a sense of calmness and adventure.
  • Shared interests– Prior conversations around the trip ensured that expectations were laid out. We all knew what each of us wanted out of the experience and it was so comforting when the boys made time for the girls to do some shopping ☺
  • Picture perfect– We all wanted to share every moment so we became each other’s professional photographers.

I do not believe that these benefits would have been as prominent had I travelled with individuals with whom I did not share a common interest. So this trip really set the bar high in terms of how I would like to experience traveling in the future.

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Musings in Portugal

My second travelling experience was pretty interesting… I had an opportunity to travel again, but this time it was to Europe for a work conference.  I was tasked with hosting 4 delegates who would also be attending the same conference I was going to and had little to no time to plan my itinerary. So here I was with 4 complete strangers and a colleague in Portugal. FUN. To make matters worse, unlike with the USA trip, I didn’t know much about Portugal except that Cristiano Ronaldo, the famous football star was born there. Despite all of this the extrovert in me remained optimistic and hoped for the experience to turn into another perfect opportunity to make lifelong friends (Boy could I have been more wrong…. haha).

TRAVELLING WITH ACQUAINTANCES

The city was beautiful and there was so much to do and explore but because the sense of “shared interest” and of familiarity which I spoke about earlier was kinda missing, the trip was a complete dud. Looking back on my experience I would say there are definitely some key learnings and take outs. It is possible to have fun travelling with acquaintances and here is what you can look out for in order to ensure the greatest time:

  • Preparation is KING– but also leave some room for spontaneity. Have a plan in place but also allow yourself to be moved by adventure. The last thing you want to experience when traveling is the monster called frustration.
  • Understand the most optimal means of transportation in your destination AND ENSURE YOU ARE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE ABOUT THE DECISION- you know why? So you avoid that thing again, frustration :).
  • Have a budget and communicate this with others around you so you all can participate in things that will leave you breathless ☺.
  • Pre travel drinks– If you will be traveling with people who are not your friends, make some time for a quick hangout over drinks so you get familiar and understand expectations.
  • Have fun– try to make the most out of any situation; after all you’re stuck together in that country, truly be open-minded.

Traveling is priceless it enables you to take a pause from your normal life and experience how other people live. The benefit truly outweighs the cost. After all, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” So it’s okay to go beyond how you regulate your life on a daily basis but travel with people who will make the experience unforgettable.

Girl traveling

                                                                                           Guest Post Author: Faith Tembe

Faith Tembe is a vibrant young professional with a passion for purpose driven work.

She holds an honours degree in Industrial Psychology and currently doing a Masters of Management in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation.

She draws her experience from the corporate environment with specific focus on Innovation and Transformation management.

Managing Millennials: Don’t ask us what we want because we actually don’t know

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Over this past weekend I spent some time reflecting on some of the millennial focus projects I have had the privilege to work on in my organization. During this reflectional period I thought about the impact I made with my suggestions and how much my opinion, as a millennial was depended on for strategic direction and influence on our certain workplace environments.

As much as I am proud of the effort and successful impact we made as a working group, although a little part of me can’t help but cringe when I think about how a dysfunctional, barely able to adult group was tasked with so much responsibility and freedom to experiment.

Two of the things we did really well (unintentionally); which I think contributed to our success were:

  • Having numerous, diverse initiatives (because in hindsight now that I think about it, no two 25 year olds are the same)
  • Seeking more guidance and partnerships with experienced senior sponsors (because although we belong to an incredibly special and unique generation, our behaviour and motivational drivers are not revolutionary, someone, somewhere has wanted the same thing before, whatever it is and to a varying degree)

Some of the questions I am asked now more than ever are ” How do you want me to manage you?”, “What makes millennials happy”, “What workplace dynamics will make you thrive” and each and every time, true to Simon Sinek’s video titled “The Millennial Question” I had a smart succinct answer that I was sure was correct, universal and would guarantee my loyalty. I believed I was giving away a formula that when used, would curb global millennial attrition in the workplace. Until it dawned on me one day. I had the environment I wanted, the resources and the leadership backing to implement the formula I had suggested but it was just not working. With my working group, I had sat down and created this magical Utopia that we thought incorporated elements that would make work life incredible but even so, there was something we had missed, a huge oversight.

The big thing we miss with the millennial generation, on both sides, as the manager and the millennial, is that we try to get a “1 size fits all” strategy that we try to paste to INDIVIDUALS. What my experience on these projects taught me was that strategies are great as long as they don’t involve implementing them directly on people. Although millennials are all born into the same generation, we aren’t all motivated by a bean bag and flexi-hour workplace some millennials thrive in traditional bureaucratic settings and others couldn’t care less for the mastery of unwritten office rules. At the end of the day, millennials, like the rest of the human race, are fickle and forever evolving. Today we might want complete autonomy and the next day we could be accusing you for being a distant leader who isn’t interested in growing their people.

Millennials are really great at having opinions which can sometimes be uninformed and rash when given the opportunity to have a voice.So next time (as a manager/ leader/ human capital business partner) you have an engagement with your millennial employee, instead of asking us what we want, try asking what we don’t want from an organization/ management perspective. As human beings, the things we dislike tend to stick because the decisions we make to rule them out usually stem from concrete and tangible past experiences unlike a future state, wish list  made from fantasies we have no experience in.

I hope this post helped to shed some light into the thought process of a millennial. But, then again, this opinion piece might just be coming from an “entitled, know-it-all millennial” perspective that could change in the next two blog posts haha! Who knows?

How to discover your purpose: 4 questions to ask as a guide

For so long I wandered…. wandered and wondered where exactly from the sky my purpose will fall. In 2017 I decided, I’m fucking picking something. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work and if it does then great! I would have stopped wondering and starting working.

The minute I decided to focus my attention on myself as a brand and a product so much started making sense. The world is very much like a theme park, except without a theme, just rollercoaster everywhere and it’s very easy to find yourself being mesmerized by something because everyone else is staring or everyone else is queuing for the said experience. What I realized when I focused on myself was that my passions and strengths and somewhat of a purpose is already embedded within me and it shows itself very prominently everyday if I just decided to focus and think.

I’m not saying I’m an expert at discovering purpose but I definitely can say I’ve discovered a method of questioning myself that has made a lot of sense for the first time in a long time of searching and I want to share them with you (and it doesn’t involve what you loved doing as a child cause quite frankly when I was 3 I wanted to be a singer and a dancer and I cannot do either to save my life right now)!

If you have ever wondered or asked yourself what your purpose is/ what you should be doing with your life/ how you can spend your time on earth more meaningfully, ask yourself the following 4 questions that will reveal to you, your natural abilities and competitive advantage which you can then apply in a work or personal environment:

1. What do I like?

2. What do I spend my spare time doing? (watch out for this one and compare your answers with question 3, when I reflected on this question it became quite evident that although a specific thing came naturally to me, if I had all the money in the world, I wouldn’t do it- this thing for me was being a DIY hairdresser for myself and my family. I will not be opening a hair salon anytime soon thank you so much haha)

3. If money wasn’t a factor, what are the things I do for the rest of my life?

4. What do people naturally come to me for advice on?

Let me know how it goes and whether this method helped you as much as it’s helped me so far!