An entrepreneur by nature, Júlio Gabriolli founded Ação Educação Empreendedora in 2011, a company that aims to contribute to people’s satisfaction, joy, purpose and positive results in their professional and personal lives. To do so, he created a methodology based on human behavior studies, which is now applied to corporate education programs with human and behavioral approach.
In an interview with CER, Júlio talks about his definition of entrepreneurship and the potential of self-knowledge to transform business and lives.
What is the relationship between purpose and entrepreneurship?
When we decided to contribute for people’s lives and helping them becoming entrepreneurs, we began to research what the term entrepreneurship really meant. None of the definitions satisfied us. Not that they were wrong, but they were always related to doing, to turning an idea into a business. We knew that entrepreneurship was more than that. We then decided to write down our own definition: to create something that has meaning and purpose, that contributes to one’s life and that has, among other positive outcomes, economic results.
To be an entrepreneur, an individual does not necessarily need to be willing to change the world, but to have the desire, for example, to help people getting home earlier or having more money in the bank. There is always a relationship with other people, because undertaking without a purpose is just doing something like anyone else.
The Millenials (Y Generation) – who just entered the labor market – belong to the so called ‘age of purpose’, where finding meaning in work matters more than economic return and stability. It is also a generation that has to rely on entrepreneurship to create new ways of working with such a saturated market. How do you relate those aspects?
The changes we are experiencing have shown that long-term plans are increasingly vulnerable and it is difficult to predict how the market will be 10 years from now. That brings great dynamism, little predictability and a lot of changes into the business world.
This generation has a short-term perspective and demands faster results than previous ones. In the past, people started working in a company with plans to stay 10, 15 years and looked at their careers with a future perspective. Today’s generation wants a job opportunity – and it can be either a project, a business or a regular job – that gives short-term results. Since many businesses have such rapid dynamics, these two variables match. We have projects and businesses that will last very little time and people who are looking exactly for that.
What worries me is that there is something of disengagement in this generation that, in the long run, can have social and economic consequences that can not predict yet. I believe that many projects still require a medium and long-term vision and I do not know how young people will handle it. Perhaps those who have the patience will have successful ventures of their own. And those who do not have the patience will be excellent contributors to short-term projects.
What is the role of self-knowledge in the process becoming an entrepreneur?
Self-knowledge plays a key role because it gives one the freedom to make conscious choices. We hardly choose something that is important to us without knowing who, in fact, we are. If we take away the ability to choose from ourselves, we become susceptible to engaging in things in which we do not see a meaning.
In what ways Ação Educação Empreendedora awakens those things in its programs?
In the first place, we sought for knowledge, to have the strength we needed to work in this field. We studied a subject called Cultural Biology, offered by a school in Santiago, Chile, that allowed us understanding human behavior in depth and then to create resources to help us work with all these issues.
In practice, all the concepts and themes worked out in the programs and trainings must necessarily start from a concrete question the entrepreneurs have. When someone is failing to develop their business, for example, usually the problem involves beliefs, fears or the lack of some skills. So we work with the reality of each one, understanding that everything each person brings is valid: knowledge, lack of knowledge, fear, motivation, demotivation, dreams, challenges. On the one hand, this helps us assuming a very pragmatic and, on the other hand, transformative field.
And how can the entrepreneurial attitude transform people’s lives outside the work environment?
Since the process involves self-knowledge, the entrepreneur challenges himself, reflects on himself and seeks a path of improvement and evolution for the business. All those things end up turning into personal habits. A person who is disciplined in business is more likely to be disciplined in his or her diet. Those who learn to recognize the client as a person who has problems, who needs to be listened to and well served, begin to rethink relationships in their lives in general. And that happens very naturally, since our approach is very pragmatic in relation to business. This is actually a very frequent feedback we hear. Participants point out the gains of the program for the venture, but acknowledge that, above all, they have become better people. This shows that we are being relevant and that the change is indeed happening at the root.