The new extrovert business model
Since the advent of the current economic crisis, the term “extroversion” has been considered a panacea for Greece’s unfavourable economic conditions. There was much talk about the need to increase exports and reduce imports whilst even greater investment was poured into our national tourism industry, our high quality agricultural products, our raw materials and everything our blessed homeland has to generously offer. Whilst for the average Greek, all this was unheard of, it was already old news for the globalized economy, whose problems almost outran its achievements, leaving behind the troubles of a small country like Greece.
Unfortunately, even today, after seven years of crisis, when the average Greek is asked to define extroversion, their answer is that it is to do with business decisions which guarantee a positive balance between imports and exports. But is this really the case?
With the exception of the Industrial Revolution, technological unemployment has never been more intense and long-lasting, making our need for global extroversion transcend the issues of trade balance and influence more aspects of our lives. No matter how hard countries and their economies struggle to preserve distinct boundaries, valid interstate agreements and participations in supranational formations and political balances, global economy and production borders have long since crumpled. The existence of the internet alone, along with the prevalence of four to five credit services corporations (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) push the farce of interstate trade to the backstage of the international economy.
In this context, both businesses and employees should develop acute extrovert skills that will enable them to promptly find employment and clients anywhere in the world, at any specific time. When talking about extroversion, it becomes clear that we are not just taking into account national policies and business practices, but we are also focusing on the average individual citizen’s employability. What we are really talking about is Business Extroversion and Extrovert Employability. Let’s consider which skills are considered necessary in each case.
Pursuing and maintaining a positive exports—imports balance is merely one of the goals of extroversion and not the sole one; we also need to focus on developing the conditions that help maintain and encourage that balance. As such, apart from safeguarding a healthy balance, we must also be mindful of the importance of the following:
a) networking and maintaining a presence at international trade fairs
b) accessing knowhow and research tanks
c) presence on electronic platforms
d) international legal intelligence and documentation
e) adoption of international accounting and financial practices and models
f) adoption of cost centre management models
g) linguistic and intercultural intelligence
h) international communication intelligence (culture and behaviour)
The last two parameters in particular are the most neglected in Greece: linguistic and intercultural intelligence on the one hand, and international communication intelligence on the other. It is extremely common to find word-for-word translations of product—related texts from Greek into other languages, which are visible in the eyes of target-market consumers, because the text has not been corrected or edited by experts in multilingual communications. It is no coincidence that until recently, almost 100% of hyphen SA’s sales of this kind were to foreign clients that acknowledge the value of intercultural intelligence.
Let’s move on to individual employee extroversion. Emerging employees and graduates should acknowledge that we are now transcending the norms of traditional employment models, and must develop skills which highlight our international extrovert profile, enabling us to find employment practically anywhere. These skills comprise:
a) linguistic intelligence
b) intercultural intelligence
c) social intelligence (and self-awareness)
d) new media intelligence
e) sales and movement flexibility
f) design intelligence in new content production
g) design intelligence in cognitive load know-how production
h) investment in skills and not just in formal qualifications
The international academic community acknowledges this significant transformation and the research conducted by institutions such as the University of Phoenix, USA, and the αriston project Ltd, UK. The European Commission has adopted Agenda 2020 and clearly refers to employability skills in a landscape where employability, by definition, can only be extrovert. As years go by, we will witness the segregation between two categories of employees, the internationally employable and the locally defined unemployed. Perhaps this is the first time that a new social hierarchy will make its appearance in human history, the class-doctrine of intelligent employability.
Focus on Publishing
Productivity applications at the service of education
In the digital world, the dissemination of ideas, information processing, global collaboration and complex project management are daily necessities for thousands of professionals. The tools allowing project management and effective communication in the modern business world have evolved into digital applications such as mobile apps, online information management platforms and file management systems. Examples of such tools are summarised below:
Evernote is an application which records, saves and shares notes. Recording an idea and sharing it with your colleagues has never been simpler. This is a cloud-based communications process which means that information is saved and made available anytime, anywhere. The application is device-agnostic, allowing access from devices such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, etc. Finally, interactive options enable participants to automatically share and work on updated notes, ideas and to-do lists in real time.
The most popular project management application is Trello. This is an app that records target setting, supports timetables and creates automated timekeeping models across multiple projects. Automated productivity reports and reminders across multiple devices allow for greater workload management by one person, even if they are out of office in a distant location.
The Google platform also provides a number of applications that enable online collaboration. Google Drive provides storage space and Google Docs enables online collaboration in the form of documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, on even a global scale.
If these applications can support the workload of large companies, then imagine what they can do for a school. Online and digital skills are a prerequisite in the ever-evolving job market, and very soon they will be at the service of education. Just imagine students using these tools for their next school project.
All Different – All Equal
by Efthi Georgiou, Primary teacher and owner of the Young Leaders Elaeon, Limassol
I would like to take the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture’s motto, “all different – all equal” (the Council of Europe), to express my personal view on diversity within an educational context.
When we try to imagine the ideal school for both ourselves and our children, we instinctively describe a place that offers equal opportunities in both cognitive and social contexts; a place where children come to understand the structures of society on a smaller scale and the existence of multiculturalism and diversity on many levels. In this way, they acquire a positive view of diversity within an otherwise familiar educational setting.
Before progressing further, it is essential to clarify the meaning of diversity. Diversity distinguishes one person from another and is determined by an individual’s personal traits, external features (colour, body type, etc.) and character (their way of thinking and behaviour, culture, etc.). However, diversity can inhibit people from effectively functioning in and adjusting to their social environment.
Within a school, teachers are responsible for imparting the knowledge and skills required for students to understand and accept diversity, after the teachers have accepted it themselves, of course. In particular, teachers should be able to manage the diversity amongst their students, positively highlighting and nurturing their individual talents and potential. They should be the first to set an example of how to deal with discrimination and promote diversity, in turn reducing the opportunities for aggression and violence at school. Teachers need to be more receptive and open towards their students’ specific needs, but also willing to create a school environment where students feel that they belong to a larger group in which each personality participates without fear of discrimination.
Education influences the quality and future of society as a whole, and teachers must be mindful of this whilst moving beyond the sterile knowledge of the past and focusing on the students’ multifaceted education. After all, the year 2020, which presupposes the existence of individuals with social intelligence and multicultural awareness, is only four years away.
The importance of soft skills
The importance of soft skills for candidates entering domestic and international job markets was the focus of discussion for hyphen SA’s Production & Education Director, Fani Tsatsaia, during her interview on the radio show presented by Athens-Macedonian News Agency journalist, Alexandra Gouta.
Fani Tsatsaia explained that irrespective of degrees and foreign language certifications, today’s professionals should develop skills that will distinguish them and set them apart in their working environment.
The five most significant soft skills required by candidates entering the job market were outlined during the interview and are summarised below:
It is imperative that candidates demonstrate that they can provide solutions rather than answers, and this must be clearly demonstrated during interview. Employers are inclined to hire people who take action during moments of crisis, and successful candidates are evaluated based on the effectiveness of the solutions they’ve provided.
It is also crucial for candidates to understand that they are not individual units. Team production cannot be compared to individual production. That is why candidates must be able to integrate in a group and collaborate effectively with colleagues.
Furthermore, one should not ignore the importance of oral communication. There are candidates who have multiple qualifications but find it difficult to communicate even the smallest piece of information.
Prioritisation is yet another important skill. Planners are not a necessity just because they constitute the basic tool of recording work, but rather, because they enable employees to prioritise their tasks according to realistic outcomes.
Finally, it is very important for employees to be able to give their employers the correct and relevant information about how a process or meeting evolved. It is essential for them to be able to provide their employers with a clear picture of what actually happened, without hiding or embellishing details.
Robust growth for hyphen SA
hyphen SA is expanding its activities in Greece and abroad with the creation of a pioneering one—stop shop, providing forward-looking businesses and industries with prepress and specialist communications services, similar to those already employed by renowned international publishing houses.
Simultaneously, hyphen SA continues to implement its development plan, achieving a 55% increase in turnover last year and recording profits in accordance with the company’s predictions. In 2015, the company also expanded its human resources, recruiting nine new staff members to fill posts in the production, media and sales departments.
Whilst continuing its focus on activities within the international market (as 85% of turnover is generated abroad), hyphen SA is also committed to supporting viable Greek and Cypriot businesses that are turning to exports and international sales. hyphen SA offers a wealth of experience and expertise stemming from collaborations with the five largest publishing houses worldwide (Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson Education, Macmillan and McGraw-Hill).
In addition to specializing in the development and editing of printed and online texts, hyphen SA also undertakes graphic design, illustration, translation, writing and content development, in addition to project management, providing a one—stop shop able to fulfil a wide range of printed and online publishing needs in a variety of languages.
In conjunction with the αriston project think-tank, hyphen SA devises educational programmes for Greek and Cypriot businesses, adapted to the specific needs of their staff and executives.
The company offers an integrated approach to the planning and implementation of educational and publishing projects, fulfilling specific marketing and communication needs.
In the context of their prepress and consulting services, hyphen SA currently collaborates with several private businesses and institutions, including the Black Sea Trade Development Bank and MEVGAL dairy.
the αriston project
Personal learning and skills profiles
We all have our distinctive learning and skills profiles. Awareness of our individual profiles is essential if we are to achieve our educational and professional goals, but first we must understand what these profiles constitute.
Initially, we must clarify the distinction between one’s learning profile and skills profile. Our learning profile relates to “how”, whilst our skills profile relates to “what”. If we are to effectively promote ourselves and succeed in attaining our desired job, both our learning and skills profiles should be reflected in our employment tools (curriculum vitae, interview, etc.). But how do we define candidates’ learning and skills profiles?
The learning profile demonstrates how a candidate learns and communicates in a functional way. Prior to presenting their learning profile, candidates should establish:
• whether they are primarily a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner.
• their aptitudes (based on Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences), for instance, whether they have higher mathematical or artistic intelligence, etc.
• whether they have more of a systemic or empathic index – in the first case, they are able to manage, record and memorise information whilst in the other, they are a communicative type of candidate, suitable for sales positions, negotiations, etc.
• the methodology they use in data processing, research and analysis.
• what their viewpoint on project-based learning and study is.
• how they view regular formative assessment and self-evaluation which contribute to the attainment of specific goals and growth.
Regarding skills profiles, candidates should clearly state their formal qualifications, in other words, their degrees and certifications. However, there are other important traits belonging to the wide sphere of formal qualifications which should be reflected in their curriculum vitae and in the interview process, including:
• rhetorical ability and capacity to present ideas and facts.
• intercultural intelligence, that is, whether they have travelled or collaborated with people from other countries and cultures.
• voluntary work.
• computational intelligence – how one understands the function of cost centres and the realisation that candidates will occupy jobs in the future that ultimately constitute cost centres.
• ingenuity and design mindset – a focus on finding solutions to problems rather than simply analyzing them.
• suitability for managerial, supervisory or operational roles (see αriston news 7).
• the extent to which a candidate is committed to lifelong learning.
Future skills and non-formal education
by Stella Sfatou, Head of Studies at the Petmeza Elaeon
In recent years, and especially after the manifestation of the economic crisis, there has been much discussion about the future for our young people within the job market. More often than not, predictions have been pessimistic. However, could it be that these predictions are built on the “here and now”, or is the premise that new generations are condemned to unemployment not such a distant scenario after all? Is there perhaps a pressing need to make radical decisions about our children’s education?
As parents and teachers, it is our duty to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills that will turn them into worthy, competitive citizens of a widened, globalised society. Young people no longer need barren knowledge and unnecessary certificates. On the contrary, they need to be able to express themselves in a persuasive manner and be able to cooperate with others within a multicultural environment, thus enabling them to become competitive within the job market.
Prospective employees or professionals must be aware of the basic principles governing productivity; they must also be able to calculate that productivity and substantiate it using simple mathematics in the dominant global business language. This will empower and help them to build confidence in their new working environment – one which is freed from stereotypes and limitations.
It is at this point that non-formal education steps in, aiming to equip youths with future skills which will introduce them to and establish them in the job market. Innovative and adaptive thinking, social intelligence, cognitive load management, intercultural awareness and virtual collaboration are only some of the skills required by the 2020 job market, according to research by the Institute for the Future, University of Phoenix Research Institute.
So, everything is becoming intertwined. Language, ICT, high-tech tools and studying and computational thinking skills are all insufficient on their own. Non-formal education needs to view people as complete personalities, combining ethics, knowledge and skills to prepare them for the new reality opening up in front of them.
The new world of work requires skills and an adaptability to multiple environments and unknown areas that were unimaginable up to now. Non-formal education will be the first to take on the challenges of this new era.
Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
by Dimitris Diamantidis,
New Media & Marketing Director of hyphen SA
The latest research published by the Adolescent Health Unit of the P. & A. Kyriakou Children’s Hospital has been met with surprise and concern after studies found that one in every three elementary school students have been the victim of e-bullying.
The research indicates that 20% of children have experienced bullying at least three to four times a week, and 36% of children who have been e-bullied report that it took place via a social networking site (i.e. Facebook).
11% of the children surveyed said that they had been treated unkindly by someone online during the previous month, whilst 14% stated that incidences of bullying had occurred repeatedly during the previous month, at intervals of more than three to four times a week.
The research also reveals that Greek children start using the internet from the age of 6 years and 2 months and 51.2% of students in the 5th and 6th grade have used a fake profile to become registered members of at least one social networking site.
Concurrently, parents of only 44.5% of the children surveyed monitor and limit their children’s access to websites.
The research concludes that, as with everything in life, internet use must be used in moderation and in the case of underage children, moderation should be imposed by their parents.
Of course, owning a smartphone is very tempting. However, many dangers lurk inside the internet and an informed and preventive stance is a necessary measure. Parents should have a basic understanding of the technological abilities that devices with internet access offer, so that they can exercise some limitations.
Banning internet access is not the answer, but neither is excessive use.
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