Nov 15 “Having a Sense of Purpose and Challenge Binds us Together”
Our Co-Founder, Brad von Bank, recently had the opportunity to participate in the 4th Annual CEO Roundtable: “The End of Work as We Know It” held by the Edina Chamber of Commerce. We asked him to share some of his thoughts.
Why were you invited to participate on this panel?
I think the organizers were interested in the perspective of someone who has co-founded two very different organizations that share a common mission and set of values. My hope was to share some things we have learned from starting a for-profit and non-profit at the same time.
Why did you agree to participate on this panel?
As someone who is roughly at the mid-point of my professional career, it was an opportunity to both reflect and look forward. As a leader in two unique organizations, it was also a test of how we are doing in adapting to the evolution of “work” and how I am doing as a leader. Plus, it was a great opportunity to learn from others, and I walked away with ideas and insights from other talented leaders.
What was the focus of the conversation?
The moderator, Julie Nelson from KARE11, did a marvelous job of keeping it conversational and engaging all the panelists. Work as we know it has been evolving at a faster rate than ever before and it is complex. It was less about working remotely or bringing dogs to work than it was about being more focused on what people are seeking to unleash their best selves at work.
Were there any constant themes across the panelists?
Yes. Everyone is trying to figure out Millennials. One of the pervasive themes was about new generations entering the workforce. While this is a generation that is forming a strong identity and a reputation for being difficult to understand, I think some of that is unfair and so I shared that ultimately, it can be tied to two themes around purpose and challenge. Moreover, I don’t really think that is much different from any other generation. When we started Rêve, we thought our vision of turning the great work of consulting into the good work of changing lives would resonate with Millennials. Over the past seven years, we have learned that this is a common desire. To have a sense of purpose and be continually challenged binds all generations together as humans.
As you look back on your career and your plans for your future, what advice would you give to younger generations to achieve these goals? Is it really as simple as ‘follow your passion,’ as we are made to believe?
I think generic advice is difficult because we each have a unique story, and a set of gifts and circumstances that influence the advice. That having been said, one of the great dilemmas when it comes to work is satisfaction. We know that the biggest factor in job (dis)satisfaction is your manager. But we also know that managers come and go, so to make decisions based solely on that factor is not entirely rational. The advice I would share is: Seek organizations that have stated values that align with your personal values. If they are well run, those leaders who do not embody them will not be with the company for long. It is one of the surest ways to achieve your goals and unleash your personal passion.
What one idea really resonated with you?
One of the panelists spoke with such passion and intentionality for creating community. I think that organizations sometimes overlook the opportunity to make an impact around them. We live in a state that consistently ranks at the top of the lists for volunteerism. We as a state have huge hearts and willingness to help. The panelists discussed ways to engage team members in a more skills-based manner that connect passions with opportunity and how to build coalitions of community to create impact. I think our country is in dire need of this now.
Any other insights you’d like to share with us?
Yes. Purpose > perks. We hear all these stories about ping-pong tables, free beer, sleep pods, etc. I think it is tempting to focus on material perks in order to stand out. We work hard to provide perks to our team members and I must admit that I quite enjoy having monthly chair massages. That said, our great hope at Rêve is that our purpose is much more compelling than our perks. We try to live that each and every day. Our mission is to “help people and organizations dream with direction,” and we believe that applies to our team members as well as our clients, and of course, our students.