"My interest in the New World of Work comes, like many good things, from a personal experience. Until I was 30, I was the Jewish-Polish mother’s dream come true– I completed Atudai (a very competitive IDF track), studied at the Technion, became an officer in the army, and went on to being a product and system engineer in high tech. But even with all my success, I wasn't feeling good, mentally. I didn't quite understand what the problem was, or what was going on, but because I am a rationalist, it took me some time to figure it out; I went through some sort of internal crisis to understand what was going on in my physical health was actually due to my mental health.”
After a year of therapy, Lior realized that he was constantly trying to please and serve others, and in doing so had put anything that brought him joy on the back burner. Though he made this new realization, actually acting toward reversing it took much longer.
In his first startup, he was the CTO and spent most of his time programming, a role he now understands doesn't suit or fulfill him. But whenever he would make any move toward a new goal – every time he took one step forward in whichever direction he chose– he knew he was getting closer to his end goals: Where and who he wanted to be. He explained that making these refinements – these steps– is like training a muscle; understanding what he connects with and what is the right move for him requires training. Even after doing these ‘training’ exercising, and knowing where we want to go, doing it– acting upon it– is a different story. We need to actually manifest what we realized and put words, thoughts, and ideas into action.
Lior shared that it took him another 3 years of self-reflection and along with implementation that at the age of 30, he decided that his current life didn't suit him anymore. He wanted to build something of his own. During his final year at his first startup, the company started running out of money, so Lior started working as a freelancer to make rent, while he built his vision for his own startup with his partners.
"I discovered a new world – suddenly I was working with a team from every corner of the earth. Together, we were doing asynchronous work– projects worth tens of thousands of dollars for clients– and I hadn't even met some of them. This truly blew my mind."
His second startup was aimed at helping freelancers, and to this day Lior continues to dive deep into this world. Something that kept on popping up in his head was: What does it actually mean to be in the New World of Work?
As someone who worked partly on his startup, and partly as a freelancer, he experienced, firsthand, the wonderful and challenging parts of the New World of Work and had to learn how to navigate within it. Once again, he was in a deep process of self-reflection: What does he like? What is he passionate about? He connected the dots and realized what was common to all the projects to which he said 'yes' which was building a bridge between the Old World and the New World. "I focused more on the employees – how we as humans, who travel around the world, can find work in the new world; how to find a job with more meaning; how to balance how much money I earn vs how much meaning or enjoyment I derive from my work – a concept that until recently wasn't considered. Additionally, since employees' mindset has changed in the New World of Work, where does that leave managers? Suddenly the new situation is full of complications.”
Such complications have become a household topic; we are all familiar with them in some form or another one way or another. We must navigate a world whose laws we have not learned - which has changed and continues to change, and within it, we also need to understand what we believe in and what is our agenda when it comes to working. Lior talks about a conversation he had on his podcast with Prof. Dan Arieli, who talked about an index he is trying to promote, the Human Capital Index. He said that after collecting extensive and systematic information, they saw that companies that invest in their human capital, for example, giving autonomy and developing employees, are more successful in the long run.
But doing that is not simple. There is a lot of pressure on managers from different directions, and they need to know how to deal with it while executing their goals and tasks. And at the same time, they also need to take care of the employees. This is a complex task. Lior experienced this again and again, and over time, he created anchors that helped him navigate:
1. Long-term versus short term
If you look at things from a short-term perspective, you will only make decisions from a short-sighted point of view. “When you make short-term decisions, you may solve a crisis, but the price you pay is those good employees end up leaving. So, yes that crisis was avoided, but now you can't go back to your routine because you now have to invest a lot of time in recruiting new employees. Also, when a new crisis comes, your new employees who are not as experienced, may not deal with it as well, which leads to further instability. So, these sorts of moves can lead to a sort of avalanche effect. It can be an avalanche effect."
Relationships take time to build, and for them to succeed you must know how to give and receive: "I discovered that when I nurture a relationship–when employees know that my intentions are pure and I have proven it time after time–when a crisis comes up- they are ready to hang in there with you and to waive all the small indulgences because you were there for them first." This is double-sided loyalty which creates shared responsibility.
The first basic thing that Lior learned in building relationships is to explain before each task why we are doing it. "This feeling of understanding why I am doing something is very significant. Of course, there is also a downside to this as you chose to hire smart, critical-thinking people, and they don't always agree with what you say, and now you need to hold a discussion. But I endure it and explain to them why, because otherwise I'm once again playing the short-term game.
A new book Lior has written, The Handbook for the New Manager, speaks exactly to this subject. When Lior speaks about this topic, you can see the sparkle in his eyes and the passion he has for it, as someone who was a manager himself, but also has either experienced or heard about managers who made life difficult for their employees, sometimes even without knowing it. Being a New Manager is not about how old you are, but who your role models are, and how open-minded you are.
"Managing in the New World requires a lot of work – but what employees need today is a new type of manager. Furthermore, what organizations need today to retain employees are such new managers."