Does Your Job Give you "Goose-Bumps" of Excitement?
Allow yourself to forget about titles, forget about salary benchmarks. Just think about what you want to create.
Francesco CarboneCOO, Kenjo
About the transcript:
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big because that's your personal drive that's your intrinsic drive you want to create goosebumps for people that's going to make you get up in the morning you know and uh did that a bunch of times and so my word of inspiration would be just allow yourself to um forget about titles forget about salary benches forget about anything just think about what would you do if you are bored and what what what do you want to create hello and welcome today i'm delighted to have francesco join me from kenjo so francesco thank you so much for joining me today please tell me a little bit more about yourself nice to meet you scott thank you so much for inviting me i'm uh i'm francesco uh carbone actually i'm born and raised in germany i got my beautiful name from my father from napoli and um and i'm working with kenjo at the moment the ceo that doesn't really say much but what i'm what i'm in charge of is people and product and also um parts of where we're headed with our strategy basically and yeah i'm delighted to meet you today to speak about about purpose one of my favorite topics yeah absolutely thank you so you know what i'm trying to cover on on this series is really to understand interesting technology that is really helping to move us closer towards the united nations sustainable development goals um but also understand importantly the people behind that you know what motivates the people why they do what they do and you know how they how they move from one day to another and yeah i think a big reason for that is that we are in a very weird time of our lives hopefully it's a blip in our 80-year lifespan um but there's a lot of i think we all need some interesting interesting viewpoints and different viewpoints and understanding how people what drives people so i'd really like to ask you the question yeah what drives you why do you do what you do yeah so i always say there there are two two stories there's a very personal story and and let's say a rational story um maybe maybe the more relatable one is the personal uh it's it's basically uh so so i'm working since 15 years uh that that's a long time for me it's a long time and uh half of it um i really didn't like working that's just how easy and simple that is that that's where my energy comes from that's why i want to change things is because i know exactly how it feels to be in a job where you just don't want to get out of bed in the morning it's it's like it takes all your energy just to do the first time and go out um or you have this moment like why am i even doing this and i'm not really leaving any any positive mark here and uh and i was working in in yeah essentially the first half of my life in jobs like that and uh and i was uh crazy enough to think i can change that yeah so i i thought this this must be better yeah so i was on a sabbatical in the u.s for half a year i i sold my car i um i cancelled my apartment um i yeah i stopped everything uh quit my job of course and took the little bit of money that i that i earned back then and just disappeared and yeah in the in the west coast san francisco la uh san diego but also seattle portland i met people that told me about different ways of working and more freedom based and focused on on on bringing people in in their flow and so on i was like wow this is new i've never heard about anything like this you know i thought i was paid for showing up you know that that's what i'm what i've been thoughts of the thought so far and um i said well maybe maybe this can work in germany too right so um so i went back and started to look for jobs that would you know build this and uh we eventually realized that there's almost nothing like uh just a couple years ago so like six seven years ago germany was um not really investing in new ways of working so much i it's quite a quite a new topic actually still and now everyone knows it everyone talks about it um anyways what i found was a position as a as a feel-good manager in in a german dating app called la vu it's like similar to to tinder probably and and they were heavily invested into um employer branding and those topics and and i was mainly in in charge of that and that was that was my foot in the door in this topic basically and since then um i have like worked in in every year in a new company or consulted or um many many different things uh to arrive where i'm right now and with my massive learning curves in the last six seven years and now arrived at kenzo to reach as many people as possible
i'm lucky enough to have spent a lot of time in many of those places you mentioned as well california seattle with my roles um it was a bit of a culture shock when i went there for the first time uh what was the thing that stood out most for you in the working in the working world when he went there
well the um the amount of ownership that employees get to determine how they how they are successful to how they create value and um and the room for creativity that was given and uh just just you know to the rethinking this topic was just uh fascinating for me um and it felt so so right so um do yeah no that's interesting and um
you came you came back you had these ideas what was it how did you take all of that input that you you'd gathered from your sabbatical and formulate it into well you know what i what i should be doing with my life i should be doing this how did that process work for you yeah i'm being very frank here i had no idea i had no idea what i was doing i had no idea how it would work that's why i said i'm going to search for a job where i learned this you know where i bring um it was was like a mix where i learned how to do this and uh yeah and eventually every year i did something different yeah so in the beginning it was very incentivized uh incentivation focused you know um i think the right word is incentivization right okay um so we would like throw parties all the time we created furniture everywhere like for for the office we had a foosball table and uh it was all around fun hedonistic stuff you know and um and after year i realized okay that might not be it you know that that can't be it and uh because we got into um into a very very exciting times where we uh got raided by the military police inside the office and so we had a big crisis and was very exciting amazing time and so i realized quickly like okay maybe just um incentivizing employees all the time with bonus with money with food with party with alcohol this is not not sustainable so i moved on and started to apply for a research fund from the um for the founders center of germany so i got like a year that i could research research the topic so and did like pro bono consulting for some ngos and other startups and started to measure culture i was like okay how do they how do employees perceive actually what's going on and um created my own engagement survey with categories and everything with a partner and i said okay again i need to learn more where do i go and then i went into an international environment with uh with an innovation hub and did a personality development with employees from a program that is called potential life from
talban shahar it's a positive psychologist professor i think in harvard he created a program i ran it for tel aviv and berlin but we also had offices in in palo alto and in london and everywhere barcelo and so did that for for for a year and then uh moved on again and i had my first um leadership position as a people uh lead to grow a team from 30 to 60 employees and again new challenges new environment so it was like an entire learning path since i'm arrived in berlin since seven years ago six years ago yeah and now kendra yeah so i'd love i mean if we have another conversation later on i'd love to delve into the military police story that sounds like a great one let's leave that out of this interview um but tell me so um i guess the workplace has changed beyond recognition in the last 12 months a little bit longer for nearly all of us i think um i'm one of those where it hasn't changed so much because i've worked from home basically nearly all my life um i've seen i've been i've seen firsthand when i was at vodafone at the turn of the century that kind of incentivization you know we had um we had a table tennis tables bean bags we had duvet days where we could just phone in and say yeah i'm not coming in today and it kind of works but then it ran dry um and then there was always something else you needed and i think there's from what i understand maybe you can talk more about this is it's the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how you bring that into your organization so you know am i on to something there is that something that you you've changed um your mindset about as you go through this journey you just talked about yeah absolutely absolutely so um
what it for me looked like is both as interesting you know so both is relevant um i think we can apply it to our own lives right if we would always do just good decisions where we're intrinsically motivated by then that sounds like a boring life right so we need also this other side it's like it's yin and yang somehow
but yeah the basis is is the intrinsic motivation which can be supplied by um by purpose by um supplying uh employees with uh something bigger than themselves you know and making them part of a journey not um not just using them as a resource yeah kendra's um slogan is humans more than uh modern resources
and this is definitely it was definitely one of one one of the bigger learnings you know you need to listen more to their to employees needs and um be brave enough to do something about it because sometimes it's a it's complicated and um more complicated than uh throwing a party on on thursday night
yeah yeah true so
getting to that point how how do you go about understanding the things that are motivating your staff your teams and how are you applying technology to to get to that point and improve improve that it's a very very simple um there's a very simple way to go about it you know so again um i think one of the biggest com issues is that companies right now they still perceive culture is very difficult it's very complex it's very how do i go about it but the starting point is actually quite easy and and what we supply with kenja for example is an optimized employee engagement survey so what it does is it gives you a fair overview of how your employee perceives what you are doing and because what i saw doesn't does not work very well is just to take a blueprint from let's say google netflix or you know how to run a company how to how to be an employer and then just use it for yourself because in this regard culture is very complex it matters in what city you are and what business you are what leaders you have what resources you have what brand perception you have everything matters um but only with a with a with something like an employee engagement survey um you can get a fair overview how your employees right now are perceiving what you're doing or not doing yeah so um to make it more tangible there there will be categories like communication with subcategories or leadership or feedback or you know all those important topics and it will give you a score from a scale to 0 to 10 10 being the highest and then you can just have a look you know how how how am i doing yeah and um yeah there are some benchmarks in the um around where you can also have a look um how you're competing more or less against other companies and um and then slowly uh iterate your offer if you want to so a question on that then is why why bother i'm being deliberately uh provocative then i'm gonna pull up a favorite question paper of mine now and there's this one the united nations sdgs um a lot of what i'm doing is focusing on how we're getting closer to these um why does improving this for employees improving the workplace help why does it matter yeah so again there's a there's a purpose-driven answer and there's a business-driven answer um yeah so for every let's say ceo who doesn't understand the topic i didn't really look and look it up so much yet um well everyone will be more uh like perform better you know if you if you if you um have everything in place that the employee needs to be successful then the company will be successful like you said initially only people create values nobody else right so so that's something that we need to think about if we support the employee he will support back and that's from the business side yeah
and from a purpose driven side
people work half of their lives right more than half of their lives and um while they are awake i think usually nine to ten hours per day maybe maybe eight sometimes and um yeah we really want to give them a good time no time life is time discounted um i think the awareness about this is getting bigger and bigger that um we should make this count this life there's one life that we have probably yeah i'm not sure um different religion different views but no that's my
my guess that we have one life and um and uh yeah so so if we improve the time that they're there we we instill um also behavior and that they will carry on to their families to their friends to their to their own lives and um
it's great to have a positive impact in that that's my that's my motivation yeah i think you know from my own personal experience um when i reflect on the different roles and positions i've had it's quite clear to see the impact on the family when i'm working in a role i'm not enjoying um compared to the impact i have on my family and the kind of extended people around me when i'm enjoying what i'm doing so yeah i i appreciate that completely um good so i mean that's that's fascinating i think the other thing i wanted to touch on is um from a human point of view over the last couple of um over the last year um things have changed dramatically so from the work that you're doing and the clients you're working with um obviously kobe working from home is the big change but how have they adapted to that what what kind of best practices have you seen being put into place to help manage that transition and support people through that time
yeah so we were lucky enough that when when coveted hit last year i think in germany it was around march that we just had a very very short time to think about how to secure our own business i think it was a week literally a week and then we immediately um thought about how can we help how can we what can we do to you know make this not a good experience it's not a good experience to go to a panami but to make this work and um we immediately started to started to produce um little things to help companies and um it started with um best uh one-on-one meeting templates um share content um every single day uh free content um how to work remote the ultimate remote work guide things like that um
all of those things um shout out it's a positive feedback in the app we created a shout outs featured just because of code with um a news feed you know for hey now you can go to the office now not and so on so to have a place where people can check what's what's what's new what's going on and um also a performance suite things like that so it was constantly in our minds what what can we do to help and um anything that connects um connects uh people during that time is helpful we're now speaking over zoom i think they're one of the one of the one of the biggest um winner but also supporter in these times
yeah i've heard other big winners are networking companies surprisingly yeah how do you see the workplace changing um over the next 12 months and what is it that you're doing at kenjo to help with those transformations so one of our focus topics is um to give more participation to the employee because what we see in the market is that most of the existing solutions are competitors they still have built the this the software after all old rules let's say yeah so a very centralized approach the buyer persona who's the hr admin can do everything and nobody else can do anything so and uh and
we have a very specific angle we say yes of course we need to uh we need to also help the hr admin to save a lot of time but he she can truly save time only when everyone else is working with them which is the employee the manager the recruiter the tax advisor the c-level and all of them and we want to we want to give them more um participation of this of this journey that's we call it dual focus even though it's a lot of a lot of different personas but that's our specific angle yeah so there's also in many of the conversations i've had recently a uh the topic of the role of the employee employer in the employees well-being now that they're not in the office so there's been obviously when you work in an office the environment is very well controlled you've got your table set up nicely your desk set up nicely you've got the air conditioning on the heating the light noise all of that now we're all working from home in these little offices maybe in the corner of a room um you know or a small room that gets full up with carbon dioxide very quickly when you talk a lot um how do you see the role of an employer um kind of evolving in that respect and the well-being and kind of safety working home yeah um fantastic question um in my opinion um hr department employer should be someone who distributes uh knowledge framework um everything and employee needs to be successful that can be the hardware sent to the employee's home that can be guidelines that can be frequent check-ins trainings many many many different things software of course for sure
that's the number one thing i would say
not telling them what to do for sure that not but giving them all the possibilities they need to make good decisions for themselves because i guess yeah some of the companies i've worked for where i've when nearly all of us work from home work from home was that culture um it was set in the culture there were other companies where if you were working from home there was also a little bit of suspicion about what you were doing and and that was culture as well so do you see there's a role in what you're doing to help kind of smooth some of that out and apply and help you know convey some learnings from companies that have done it well based on the culture scores and the feedback scores you see to companies that may be struggling at this time yeah so for sure companies that still are let's say um reluctant to go away from time from the sequence from time against money in this exchange
that's going to be difficult because you can can't really track the employee's time i mean of course we could design a software that would track an employee's or an individual's engagement in the notebook or something just by saying it sounds incredibly creepy right so um um no i don't think that's that's the right way um it we need to have the transition um to to goals setting goals um and and go more to a transition engagement versus purpose versus um being part of something bigger that that's that's just um companies that that don't have the framework don't know how to do it um that can be quite complex i mean um to set up everything at once performance feedback goals um culture values and all that kind of stuff that would be impossible right so it would be way too overwhelming it needs time it needs education it needs the right software again it's the right software uh it needs um it needs a right leadership uh it needs a lot of things to actually be successful and yeah and the the companies that succeed in this area are the ones that put the right time and um and resources into it of course so if somebody was looking um to you for inspiration i mean your story is is very interesting how you went on this sabbatical and you came back with these wonderful ideas and you went about researching how to bring them into the work around you if somebody's looking to you for inspiration what advice would you give them where would you send them to go and look or work or who to speak to
yeah i do a little exercise with people who ask me for inspiration so um i i had it actually a couple times that people approached me and said francisco you love your job i also want to love my job how do i do this it's true it's actually reality and um i invite them to think about a world where you don't need to work it doesn't matter what you do you you know you get money from the government uh status all that kind of stuff doesn't play a role it's uh and it's quite a likely scenario right if you think about it ai robotics and so on uh at some point not every human being in the world doesn't need to work anymore so think about this and think about how would you spend your day what would you do what did you do in the morning yeah okay maybe eat something breakfast maybe do some sports right um what else then at some point you get boring you get bored you get bored and you will get boring that's all you did as well yeah exactly so you get bored what what do you do when when is the moment when you include people into some something that you do that you organize maybe yeah and what fee so by doing that sometimes people say i would like to paint with other people like paint pictures and um and then i asked them what feeling do you want uh your friends or the people that you include to have while doing this and then the craziest answers come my my favorite my favorite was um not gonna reveal who that was but um okay i'll turn the camera off
it's um it's uh i want to create goosebumps for people i say well that's lovely you know and this person constantly talked before before constantly talked about like yeah i want to work in this area or renewable energy with this kind of title and this kind of in this kind of city and with this kind of people so it was very tangible now um now this person had just this one thing i want to create goosebumps i said now you now you have a decision maker if you take a job or not yeah very big because that's your personal drive that's your intrinsic drive you want to create goosebumps for people that's going to make you get up in the morning you know and did that a bunch of times and uh so my word of inspiration would be just allow yourself to um forget about titles forget about salary benches forget about anything just think about what would you do if you are bored and what what what do you want to create you know allow yourself to be bored yeah yeah i call that holiday the opportunity to be bored is my idea of a holiday not that i will actually ever get bored i'm too busy for that but no i like that i like that thank you very much for sharing um so i guess lastly then if people want to get in contact with you or want to find out more about what kendra does what's the best way for them to learn more
well visit our website or approach me on linkedin that's all good brilliant i'll put those links i'll put your linkedin profile and the website down here so by the time you're watching it it should be here now um and then that's great and i think that's um the last question i always ask my guess is is there anything we've covered now oh anything we haven't covered now that you would like to share with us it's okay to say no but if there is something please let me know
maybe one more uh little thing a little story that i would like to share um because uh it is quite difficult to be an idealist nowadays um since capitalism is still very strong and the behavioral traits in the management suite and so on it's tough to deal with them because they are founded in the last couple decades or a century even and i spoke to someone very inspirational
about this with much more experience than me as an old man in italy on a mountain and we had a dinner and way too much wine and he was a journalist he used to be a journalist and he was speaking to and i'm not joking he spoke to the dalai lama he spo he sat on the lap of picasso and met because he um he met some of the most uh inspiring people also the pope and many many more people and he was bitter and i will never forget that he was very bitter he he was not happy to see me being so idealistic about about you know changing the workplace and um i it took me three bottles of wine to get to get a to get a recommendation out of him because i said you must have some sort of advice for me um to stay idealistic because i'm not yet ready to give it up you know and the one thing he said and i i think wisdom should be always shared and from him it's not from me of course he said be an island be an island money meant by that is stay stay autonomous um if if you need to feel you need to change something change it and don't feel don't put yourself in a situation where you're forced by outer parties um to go against your your values and your purpose okay very good well thank you for passing on those words of wisdom very much appreciate that um at some point i found out what wine you were drinking it's a hobby of mine and um yes thank you very much for your time today francesco and um for for all of those who are watching if you like this please do click like do subscribe to the uh to the youtube channel and if you want to get a hold of francesco and find out what um kenjo are doing please click the links below with that thank you very much again yeah thank you also
My Thoughts on the Conversation
Francesco shares with us personal experience of just not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. He tells of his journey of finding purpose and how that took him on a journey across the United States.
I'm sure many of us have had those morning where you just don't want to get out of bed, and question why on earth we are doing this. I certainly have had those moments. Two, in particular have shaped my journey. One where I realised if I stopped doing what I was doing, no one would really care, and another moment of awakening whilst washing dishes looking in a grey, wet November sky.
Francesco took a more radical approach, giving up his possessions and traveling to the West Coast USA to learn how work doesn't have to be just about 'turning up', and how to find your personal 'flow'. It was really interesting to hear about the culture shock, both in going to the USA, and when returning and trying to share his experience in Germany.
The topic of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation was also interesting. Francesco discovered ownership and creativity can motivate way beyond the ability of duvet-days, foosball tables, parties and even salaries. I've certainly experienced this too. Novel incentives quickly become the "norm", and then they loose their 'wow factor', meaning companies have to create even more novel, whacky ideas to incentivise staff. The other approach is to encourage them to find meaning and purpose in their work, through some degree of autonomy, ownership and creativity.
Francesco talks about a "ying-and-yang" between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and how employers can help provide their teams with a purpose bigger than themselves to create that intrinsic motivation. These ideas are easy to say, but harder to achieve. In many companies the idea of giving staff autonomy and purpose seems almost impossible. Francesco agrees, the easiest thing to do is to throw a party, or have workplace food/drinks, but that only goes so far. He says it takes bravery to truly listen to what your teams need, and even more to act on it.
I thought his advice on goose-bumps was a very interesting perspective - does your work give you goose-bumps of excitement? Can your actions excite and motivate people in the same way?
I hope you enjoy the video, please let me know in the comments below.
I can't wait to learn more about his Military Police raid story, perhaps I'll be able to share that another time. 😁
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