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Ep 80: Development Beyond Learning for Young People, Graduates & Interns with Josh MacKenzie

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Introduction: Josh MacKenzie, believes in personal growth, equal opportunity and business as a force for good. He is the founder of Development Beyond Learning (DBL)-an award winning organisation using behavioural science to future proof businesses and careers. Josh also spends time to support the growing 100% Human at Work Initiative; a collective of organisations creating a better future of work for humanity. It is now a movement of more than 500 organisations including Unilever, Accenture and EY. Josh is an Australian raising a family in the UK. He considers himself a global citizen, is a proud father of 3 and a mad U2 fan. 


Podcast Episode Summary

This episode speaks to the important need to equip young people make the transition,  perhaps the biggest transition they make in life, from education to work through the development of human skills. 

Points made over the episode

  • U2 The band inspired Josh MacKenzie in terms of having a purpose and giving meaning to what you do. 
  • Josh first became interested in leadership and development at University in Australia where he was part of a student leadership body. It taught him that as individuals we have a lot more to learn than education alone affords
  • When Josh joined the Corporate world he soon realised that there was a whole world dedicated to leadership & development, personal development and talent development – that prompted Josh to set up Development Beyond Learning.
  • He noticed that the transition from education to the working world was probably the most difficult transition a young person can make. It is often underfunded and unsupported. 
  • The Game of Corporate life is different with different rules. 
  • For many young graduates there is a realisation that everyone around them is as smart as they  are and often with wisdom in years. 
  • DBL is founded on 3 core principles. 
    1. Personal Growth: The idea we can learn the skills and beliefs we need to have the careers we want
    2. Opportunity: talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. 
    3. Career: To use your career as a force for good. 
  • The future is human and it is human skills that make a person effective
  • DBL make it possible to collapse the time it takes to realise that these human skills are important 
  • Most young people will not get exposed to the idea that EQ, SQ are as important as IQ
  • A lot of the problems we see in the world today are solvable with technical skills but require human skills as well in terms of critical thinking, self-awareness, negotiation and communication skills 
  • The Good news is that more and more employers are investing in human development such as pre-boarding, on-boarding, 6-12 month development programs 
  • Context is king. There is a difference between teaching a young person on a trading floor of an investment bank how to relate to his/her manager than a person sitting in a technology centre in India for example 
  • Psychology and behavioural science is baked into the development programs 
  • The DBL approach is comprehensive it involves a blend of virtual training and in person training teaching subjects like self-awareness, growth mindset, critical thinking, social intelligence and personal brand. 
  • Young graduates can be sceptical and it is healthy to be sceptical not arrogant. 
  • Evidence based research is vital, especially to connect with participants left brain 
  • You can engage the right brain with high quality experiences, stories, relationships and engaging exercises but it is also important to have high quality content backed up by research
  • Self-awareness can be perceived as a fluffy topic for investment bankers until they are shown the research that says 1,000 top executives cited self-awareness as the number one skill that helped these leaders become successful. 
  • DBL are confident that 5 key behaviours will set graduates, interns and young people apart from others over the first 3-7years of their careers. Skills like self-awareness, building connections, having resilience & grit, growth mindset and mental wellbeing. 
  • Mental Wellness is a topic that is now being addressed in graduate cohorts 
  • Arguably young people have suffered the most by way of the pandemic & least resourced & supported over the many lockdowns
  • Belonging & wellbeing are now important topics 
  • DBL wrote a white paper, available on their website, which researched the topic of wellbeing 
  • Young people joining organisations today have completed their studies virtually, have been hired virtually and are now often still working virtually. 
  • The Pandemic coupled with the earlier work to attract diverse graduate pools has created the perfect storm. More than ever programs need to address belonging and mental wellness. 
  • Organisations are also seeing the wisdom of putting some of the budgeted spend for graduates into management training for managers who have graduates on their teams. 
  • Josh hopes that organisations do not swing back to how things used to be before the pandemic. Virtual does work. Hybrid working does work and can achieve more by providing a level playing field for all learners.
  • Josh would argue that base line training is delivered virtually and augmented by premium in person training when it is warranted. 
  • Investment in the future work force is going to mean more human development not less. In terms of our ever changing world it is important to bring graduates and interns through the organisation with human skills fit for purpose and value creation
  • The 100% human initiative will support young talent emerge through the workforce with the skills to help navigate complex issues, work together really well, have humility help organisations be human. 

Resources shared 

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