Make sure you are an accelerator for your team. Promote your team, or make sure they are offered opportunities to grow and learn at a fast pace.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Nicolas Visiers Würth.
Nicolas Visiers Würth is a digital acceleration professional with more than 20 years experience in business development and digital marketing initiatives. He has a diversified background in start-ups, turnarounds and established corporations and has developed a deep interest in user experience optimization. He is passionate about driving business growth within both the U.S. and international markets and believes in the power of effective communication skills when articulating a bold vision and delivering on it.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.
Professionally, the most important thing happened when talking to a former boss of mine. I asked him if he was happy doing what he did, because I was sort of in line to succeed him, and I was not sure if his lifestyle was something that I would enjoy. He told me, “I do what I do because I have to.” Then he said, “If I could, I would be a teacher.” At that point, I was deciding what to do with my life, so I let him know that I did not want the same to happen to me. I told him I was going to be leaving the company to focus on what I needed and wanted to do.
Personally, my divorce completely changed my outlook on what was important for me. Since then, I have focused on prioritizing the most important things in my life.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?
I believe that in 10 to 15 years we might have a workforce that will be much more project-focused; a workforce that will only commit to working a specific number of hours or days per week, and we will have to make it work. It seems to me that we’ll have a “plug-and-work” scenario where work is divided into tasks and we can manage multiple tasks being executed by different people. Think Uber for professionals: “I work when I want, with whom I decide, and when it suits me best.”
On the other hand, we might see the complete opposite: working environments that supply all our necessities (we work, we live, we socialize in a single space). These environments would entail that we are sort of members of this organization that takes care of all we need for us to be able to focus on contributing to what we are best at.
So, we will still value talent, leadership and management skills. The major difference will probably be how you actually source work or engage with companies and teams.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
As we continue to develop, we will face apathy: working to survive vs. working for a cause that matters alongside teammates I enjoy sharing time with. We will have to attract talent at bars, clubs, or universities. Work will be one aspect, but how, with whom, and where will become more important for many. As such, recruiters will continue to play a key role, but HR will have to develop into a much more strategic role.
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
The biggest issues will be how to manage the different priorities within your various company “cohorts.” We are already seeing that younger team members favor freedom of movement, as seen with the “work-from-anywhere” mindset. Others are really looking forward to being back in an office. How can you actually make sure you do not have two classes of workers? How can you make sure that everyone has equitable access and treatment? We will have to work hard on communicating the benefits of each alternative and then people will have to decide what makes the most sense for them.
I am a firm believer in remote work for experienced team members that do not require continuous feedback. But, for team members who are learning and need extra support, it is best to be on the same premises. That way, you can actually create spaces that facilitate growth and co-creation.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
It has fast-tracked us to a place where we now know what can be done, what works, and what is needed to make it work. I see every pandemic month as 7 normal months (dog months?). We have yet to see the impact on productivity for some specific industries, but overall I see it as a great opportunity for many to understand how to best manage a workforce without having it in the same location. Just think of all the travel time (and fuel) that has been saved. Companies that quickly adapt to this new reality will likely find it easier to retain talent.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
We have seen a shift from meeting daily at the office, gym, bars, and restaurants to not meeting at all. This has had some extreme repercussions on mental health, addictions, and lack of social interaction. I definitely see the need to develop alternative spaces where you can actually meet other people. The “metaverse” alternative does not particularly appeal to me, but some people see it as a way forward.
One alternative would be people working in “pods” of 7 to 10 members. This number can help teams that are dispersed keep close contact, and hopefully try to meet in person every so often to fulfill those social needs.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
Knowing that if the basic priorities remain, there is always a way to solve anything. We are less absolute, and we are now in a better place when it comes to trying new things.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
In an ideal world, we would personalize the work experience for each individual. My priorities are different from yours. What’s more, I will change priorities as my context changes. I foresee that companies that are career accelerators will have the greatest chance to attract and retain talent, because people want to learn and grow.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
We need to keep understanding what the people we work with value. An important message is to understand what actually matters to your team, to your employee, getting as granular as you can to understand the meaning of all those trends but in your own context. I have team members in Argentina, Colombia, the U.S. and Spain, and I can tell you that we have a completely different take on those members depending on where they live, even if they are all working for the same company or team.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
- Create small teams that work in 2-week sprints; work agile.
- Define whether you want a local or global workforce. I am a firm believer that you benefit more from a diverse, multicultural team. I’ve seen this work well in smaller teams.
- Make sure you are an accelerator for your team. Promote your team, or make sure they are offered opportunities to grow and learn at a fast pace.
- Create a meritocracy, so that anyone and everyone actually has a chance to succeed. Aspire to the highest position in the company.
- Make sure your priorities are clear and in the right order: #1: Team. #2: Client. #3: Company.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” -Stephen Covey
As I mentioned earlier, I had to learn how to decide what was most important in my life and prioritize based on that. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a really fantastic method for deciding what’s important and using that knowledge to be even more effective as a person, and as a leader.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz. I am a great fan of both of them, and frequently share their articles and quotes with my team.
I would also like to meet with Angela Merkel, the first female chancellor of Germany. She seems like a very pragmatic person and I am sure she has some great stories to share.
As for breakfast, I hope to have it soon with the world-class chef José Andrés. I actually went to high school with him in Spain. The last time we met up was 30 years ago in New York City, when I was a student and he was a cook that already knew what he wanted to do. I have a profound admiration for him.
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
LinkedIn is a great way to reach me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolasvisiers/
Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.