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SANTIAGO wall by SEBA CENER

The only constant is change

Joan Gonzáles

Presales Director

Joan, spent most of his professional life at SAP: In 1998, he was the fifth employee to join the company in Peru. Since then, there have been many transformations – in him, in the company, in the labor market, and in the world. At first, there were so few employees that each of them had to do a little bit of everything. Over time, Joan had the chance to specialize on a topic, but now he believes that the cycle is going full circle, exalting the flexibility of performing different functions.

Out of everything Joanma learned, the phrase “the only constant is change” is his mantra. There are so many things beyond our control; being diagnosed with cancer was one of them for him. Coming to terms with the frailty of life helped him understand what truly matters. At SAP, he discovered the importance of setting an example, not just providing support.

We don't just say we accept diversity, but we do. In a fast-moving world, and in an even more agile industry, you are always connecting with different audiences. In order not to fail, we must embrace diversity.

Nowadays, Joan leads a team of 20+ people from different nationalities, genders, generations, races, creeds. “Young people, for instance, are very used to change. They are the ones teaching us to see things in a new light. We are so concerned with overachieving and prestige, most of us forget how important it is to adapt. We learn that from millennials," said Joan, convinced that the flexibility of the new generations combined with the experience of older ones is a very powerful tool.

He loves sharing his experience with the new generations at work, and he also wishes to do so in his personal life; he’s planning to start a family soon. He always wanted one, but his fight against cancer for nearly ten years put that on hold.

The whole process of coexistence between these different generations is based on construction and learning. While some young people have a certain intolerance for frustration, they also have the courage to express themselves with more freedom and less fear.

What surprises me the most is how flexible they can be and how much effort they put into thinking of new and different ways to improve. Millennials are not afraid of change, even when things are working.

Drag the mouse to check out the before and after pictures of Joan's wall.

There are, of course, certain challenges along the way. For Joanma, managing expectations is one of them. In a rapidly changing society, anxiety is a side effect when it comes to career advancement –he often identifies that young people get frustrated more easily when starting with simpler roles. For example, Joanma once had an extremely competent and dedicated young lady in his team – everyone was thrilled with her efficiency. But one day he found out that she was bored. She felt worthless after two weeks where her only task had been to handle a small volume of administrative work.

That time seemed like an eternity to her. And then I realized how challenging it is to motivate young people who have this multitasking capability.

This and other similar situations led him to discover that dialogue would be his best management tool. “I learned to talk a lot, to receive and give feedback regularly,” he said.

He’s learned a lot during his professional journey, but what stands out is how crucial it is to have a good understanding of human interactions. He understood the importance of communication and how to use it for people to work well together. Most of all, he learned to listen and accept suggestions. “People are happy when their voice is heard and we help them carry out projects and build their paths," he said. Despite his training in industrial engineering, he jokes that today he’s more of a psychologist to his team.

Today, he looks back and takes the best from every situation: Each of them has made him stronger and encouraged him to pass on everything he has learned, and to continue soaking up all that good relationships have to offer. “My disease has forced me to spend a lot of time on my own and realize how important it is to be with people who will pay attention to you. That is the secret. I have many godchildren and I get along very well with younger generations. I don't believe my sole purpose here is to teach. On the contrary, there is a lot of learning involved," he rejoices, with his eyes set on the future.

Address of graffiti art: 335, Rio de Janeiro St, Patronato | Santiago, Chile