29 April 2009

AIESEC Norway CEO's failure 1 out of ?? - New Financial Model: rejected

AIESEC is an organization that works like that: the national executive board is only there to support the local committees to grow. So, for instance, the national executive board has no reason to exist if not for the local committees. That's why local committees should support the national association - as in any membership organization: the members support the association to provide its services, not the other way around. You pay a club to become a member, your payment and the other members give you access to some services, simple as that.

On the other hand, as in any membership organization, the members rule it completly (usually by voting decisions) - thus one more reason for members to support the organization and not the other way around. In reality, in AIESEC this means that local committees decide how much we can spend in each area of our budget, judge how many people to hire and fire, vote directly for choosing the CEO, discharge the national executive board after their term, etc.

Last weeks I've been working with our VP Finance and people from the board of directors to present to our Local Committee Presidents a new financial model to AIESEC Norway. Skiping the in depth details, this would mean that a bigger share of national board financial responsibility would fall under the local committees in a form of monthly fees. As a counter-offer, local committees would get more money for their performance.

This proposed financial model had 2 sole reasons of being:

- Give more responsibility to local committees to hold the association together
- Support performance improvement by destinating a bigger share of money to local committees

The proposed model is in contrast with the current model, where local committees get very little of the money generated, because the bigger part of it is retained in the national executive board. But the twist is that today local committes have no problem/pressure if they don't perform, because they don't need to pay anything to the association. ONLY and IF they perform, the national executive board retain a bigger share of the money generated. That would be the main change of the new model.

Yesterday I had one of the first (and still biggest for now) failures as elected CEO, since the new financial model was rejected by the local committee presidents. Weeks of work just rejected and threw in the trash. This hurts. I know as CEO I should be calm and somehow work to reach an agreement. But I couldn't. I failed. I was naive to think local committee presidents would think with the national association well-being as their first choice.

I am sure it's not only my failure though.

AIESEC Norway failed on yesterday's evening legislation. Fear, lack of ambition, lack of boldness, negativism, failure to commit to own goals, failure to take responsibility to drive the national association...

...lack of leadership.

I am ashamed by AIESEC Norway, both by local committee presidents lack of responsibility and by my failure to make some sense of the chaos that the legislation became. My failure in reassuring that it would be alright, that we would support local committees to grow and perform on the next level.

It was a setback, but I will keep trying. Failure is just midway to success.

I just need sometime to get myself together, because that was a hard one. Not achieving my goals (in this case, approving the new financial model) affects me so much that sometimes I wonder if I am the right person to be a CEO in an NGO full of volunteers that I don't have any real control, but only influence. I am sure the same local committee presidents that rejected my offer are not so worried or concerned as me.

Is this worth it?

Looking through my tons of AIESEC t-shirts and other memorabilia, I can say: yes. My experience was so amazing in this organization. No one or nothing will be able to convince me otherwise. Not even when people in it act the way they did.

I, my team and the new local committee presidents, local executive boards and local volunteers, we all will change AIESEC Norway for the best. This was just the first challenge and we will win as a whole, one AIESEC Norway.

23 April 2009

Sink's accountability

I live in an appartment with more 4 young people from 3 different nationalities. We had a constant problem in our appartment: the amount of dirty dishes lying on the sink was always overwelming. Don't get me wrong, we could get 2 or 3 days with no dish there, but imidiatly when the first unwashed dish appear there, than no one else would wash their plates just after using it, accumulating a lot of dishes. That's a good example of how much the behaviour of other people influence others.

It seemed hopeless.

But then some people in the appartment had a brilliant idea: put name tags on the unwashed dishes, to point out who did not wash the dish and still had to do it. I was the first one to be affected by the measure: I got a little surprised and got even a little annoyed by the tag, but I washed my dishes.

Since then (around one week), there's hardly some dish on the sink and, when it is, we imidiatly tag it and it vanishes in a few hours.

What can we learn with our sink's accountability system?

Accountability is easy to get: just make public the action, the status of the action, the deadline and, the most important part, the neame of the responsible to do it. It doesn't need to be so complicated, an action plan with green, yellow and red on the wall can be enough.

It's like magic, but it's just accountability.

21 April 2009

360 competency assessment

One of the most cool tool we have in AIESEC intranet (that we call MyAIESEC.net) is the competency assessment tool, provided by Career Innovation, where you can invite people who worked with you to assess your competencies (anonimously). It's a great tool for feedback and for understanding more yours strenghs and weaknesses. I've been using this quite a bit (around 2 years now, I presume) and it made me really improve a lot my self-awareness.

But now one new feature was included: you can make your competency assessment available to some people (like managers and mentors) or completly public, so anyone can see. I went to the 2nd approach and made my last competency assessment (April/2009) here in the office completly public. The people who assessed me were my leader, 3 collegues and one subordinate. You can check it out in this link.

It's especially interesting to check the part on the gaps of perception (where you compare your assessment with the others' assessments) and super assets (where you can check written feedback on what you are outstanding or not)

As you can see, I have a long way to go in dealing with people.

17 April 2009

22 tips on how to nail an interview

I interviewed quite a lot of people myself to join AIESEC and the things you hear are trully unbelievable. So, to not make a fool of yourself, here are the amazing 22 tips on how to nail an interview (with funny true interview videos included).

15 April 2009

Problems with hiring great people? I have a hint where to find them

If you own a business, you are probably facing this: it's harder to hire good people. And if you are a student, you probably are having some difficulties getting a good job.

In hard times, people lay off first the dead meat or the ones closer to that and they stick as hell to the A players, those stars that can make anything happen.

So if you want to hire dead meat / cheap labor, suit yourself, the market has tons of it sending CVs to you. But if you want to hire great people (especially because you don't have so much fat to spend in so-so people as in good times), what do you do? As you can see in "Why hiring is paradoxically harder in a downturn" says, if you post a job offer, most likely you will get tons of C players CVs, which are virtually indistinguishable from the few A players around.

Then you spend lots of money with tons of tests and interviews to find some good people. But shouldn't you be saving some money in a downturn? What about making the process more efficient?

The most simple solution is go to great talent sources and convince people there to meet with you (which is not always easy if you don't have a great reputation as an employer also - which is in fact the only long term solution, be an employer of choice to A players).

Where? Companies that traditionally only hire great people, competitive universities and, of course, AIESEC.



What AIESEC does is basically recruit the top students in the universities we are present in (and also some we are not present in, because some students seek for it) and offer them opportunities to develop leadership and tons of soft skills, such as presentation skills, team management, time management, planning, strategic thinking and so on. AIESECers are not normal students, they don't ask questions normal students do, they don't act as normal students and they don't seek normal jobs as normal students. But you don't need to trust me, you can hear some of AIESEC partners talking about it:



As a business, you can interact with AIESEC in a variety of ways. Two of the most common ways are:

1) the AIESEC internship program - where you get some talented AIESEC member from another country to work as an intern in your organization. With this you get 2 things in one, first an AIESECers with all the qualities an AIESECer usually have, second an international to bring diversity and cultural awareness to your business.

2) Being an institutional partner of AIESEC - by being present in conferences, branding your name, delivering workshops, having special student events, etc, you can brand yourself as an employer of choice for both national and international students.

Most business that partner with AIESEC do both, of course, they know what they get and they are really interested in it.

What about you? Is your business in need of some young great people? Why not to try AIESEC?

If you are a student, maybe you want a great job and is not getting it? What about standing out from the crowd and get some invaluable skills while on university? Join AIESEC.

More information on www.aiesec.org or, if you are in Norway as I am, www.aiesec.no

13 April 2009

Young leaders and the financial crisis

BBC's David Willey spoke to a group of young leaders about the financial crisis, while they were gathering in Rome. This was in fact an AIESEC congress called "Global Leaders Summit", which I was also present, and gather all the AIESEC presidents (currents and elects) from each of the 100+ countries AIESEC is present in.

Hopes of world youth as G20 heads gather

The future is in their hands

The world economic crisis can only be solved by major reform of the financial system.

That is the conclusion of a BBC poll of people in 24 countries, commissioned ahead of the G20 summit in London this week.

Some 70% of those questioned said they thought major change was needed, while nearly two-thirds said they had been affected by the crisis at least a "fair amount".

But what has been the impact of the financial crisis on younger people?

Recently, youth leaders from around the world gathered in Rome to talk about the crisis.

The BBC's David Willey spoke to a group of them about their hopes and fears for the future.

Here's the link so you can hear the audio too: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/business/2009/03/090331_youth_g20.shtml

I've found this in Juan's blog, current president of AIESEC International.