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The Top Articles of 2020: Honourable Mention

I’m bored, so I’m here

A strange phenomenon has reared its head among domestic companies, more specifically among their owners. Thanks to COVID, more and more strategic consulting firms are reporting (and we are also experiencing) that recreational travel is almost impossible, causing the drastic development of several domestic firms. Business owners are bored; they cannot distract themselves, so they have started accumulating success.

Generational differences

When everything is performed traditionally, the owners of domestic companies, at least a very well-defined part of it, put serious energy into creating and maintaining a work-life balance. This is primarily a generational phenomenon, but of course, it would be too simple to link it to age. What is certain, however, is that business owners born between 1973 and 1984 — the so-called “Diplomat Generation” — no longer believe that their businesses will only run if they are involved in them on a daily basis. They wanted to build companies they could enjoy, ones that truly served the most important part of their lives: the private life. Their thinking differs significantly from the owners of previous generations, as the “Authoritarians” born between 1949 and 1960 and the “Precisionists” born between 1961 and 1972 built and operated businesses together with the people they controlled. There are several reasons for the differences among the generations, but by far the most important one is that the members of the Diplomat Generation have seen exactly what it is like to own a huge business but collapse inside of it. A life consumed by work without time left for family is not a life well lived. As children of members of the older generations, they experienced first-hand exactly what it’s like to grow up without a parent in the picture. Although the family’s money and well-being are secured, attention and time are scarce. This may not be the case for the entire generation — and it cannot be said that there are no truly happy people among these two older generations — but, in general, we can definitively state that there is a significant difference in the true happiness levels among different generations.

Original lifestyle

How do business owners of the Diplomat Generation live their daily lives? They buy premium goods, travel, move, and enjoy life. Anyone who has their own company does all this with their “close family”, meaning their partner and children. Once they lay their business foundations, they organise their lives this way and become increasingly successful because they do not sink into monotony; they can enjoy their own businesses for a long time. Colleagues are also more motivated within the organisation, as on the one hand, they see that the owner is successful as they can travel around the world and enjoy their lives. On the other hand, there is no constant, operational oversight that gives employees no room to manoeuvre. These owners usually build unique businesses: often a prominent, specialised knowledge-based company that can be a market leader domestically, but also stands out internationally, meaning continuous development is ensured. And with that, these owners are having a good time. They communicate well, motivate those around them, and it is no coincidence that they are called Diplomats, as they also build beneficial relationships well, which provides more business that is usually left to the organisation’s employees to fulfil. They are not afraid that they are not physically at work all the time, as they have built their companies on their own knowledge, and they share very little of this knowledge with their people, so the chances of “pulling the rug out from under them” are very close to zero.

The bankruptcy struck

Maybe, this group of managers is the worst at handling the COVID-19 situation, and it causes them the most mood changes. But at the start of the crisis, they threw themselves into work with tremendous momentum; they felt that most market participants were collapsing because they did not know what to do, and that was a clear message: we must act now! When they laid the foundations of their businesses, they had the advantage of quickly seeing market conditions and understanding and applying trends, which is what has made them successful. Well, now it is especially imperative to analyse trends, and they are quite skilled at that. By working with prodigious energy in the first months of the crisis, they not only avoided losing their businesses, but they also gained a significant advantage over their competitors. Then came the “leisure bankruptcy”. They could not take the holiday they deserved after such rigorous work. And they tried. They tried to travel, to find vacation opportunities, but the constraints caused by the virus became increasingly rigid. They had to funnel their energy somewhere, so they worked. They used to spend a lot of time planning upcoming holidays, improving their lifestyles, and raising their standards of living. There is no need to think about this now. What are they doing instead? They are working. In fact, after a while, they realised that in the present situation, work was the best outlet for their energy. Work is also a great distraction. Of course, the average worker knows this perfectly well, but these managers have just woken up to it. And as a result, the companies they controlled have started developing more than expected. They quickly found a way out of the crisis and managed the necessary changes with their own hands. Because they were already idols within their organisations from the outset, their extra presence gives emphatic, extra motivation to their people, allowing them to outperform expectations. And now these “lucky” business owners are starting to realise that it’s all a good “leisure activity”. After all, in addition to making serious money and bringing in unprecedented profits, they are also receiving significant attention from competitors, as they are showing a trend that is now clearly enviable. As domestic companies, more and more of them are becoming absolute market heavyweights in their respective fields, and they are starting to dominate in the knowledge-based segments.