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Sustainable work through lifelong learning – Interview with Magdalena Rogl

Magdalena Rogl heads the department of Social Media and Internal Communications at Microsoft as Head of Digital Channels. Her passion is to connect people and build networks. She is a mother of four children and is committed to the topic of work–life balance and digital education. As a lateral entrant (she is a trained educator), Magdalena can also tell exciting stories about the importance of lifelong learning. We talked to her about mentoring, sustainable work and her view on digital transformation.

Lena, you made a great video for World Women’s Day 2018, thanking your mentor. What does mentoring mean to you? And what are your experiences with it?

For me, mentoring means above all trust and communication. A good mentor is a good listener and an honest counselor. My mentor Kathleen works in a similar area to me – but I do not think that’s always important. Even a “non-specialist” mentor with a view from the outside can be very helpful.

What is particularly important to me is an encounter at eye level. That’s why I’m a big fan of reverse mentoring: in this constellation, they both learn from each other.

In my case, Kathleen helps me with her international experience, and I help her with my social media skills.

My mentoring sessions are my absolute favorite dates, although they are often very exhausting and stirring. But I always come out of a mentoring appointment with new energy, new ideas and often new decisions. But above all, a new self-confidence!

In the video, you also call on all of us to be mentors. How important is mentoring today? And what role does it play in digitalization?

I believe it is so important in this fast-paced world that we learn from each other and with each other. And pass on what you have learned. Over the next few years, more and more monotonous activities will be taken over by machines or artificial intelligences – giving us more time for creative and empathetic work. And that’s exactly what we need mentoring for, so that we learn to question ourselves, to develop ourselves further, to take a new perspective and to solve problems together.

You yourself are an expert on networked work and social media. What does sustainable working look like to you? And which skills, in your opinion, are becoming more and more important?

I would not describe myself as an expert. But I’ve learned that change is important, that you can always adapt to situations and realign yourself. For me, sustainable work means above all lifelong learning. Because the jobs that we are going to have in 10 years may not even exist today.

That’s how it was with social media back then. When I went to school and did my training, social networks didn’t exist yet – and therefore neither did my current job.

In my opinion, the most important skills for the future are reflection, analysis, flexibility and, above all, empathy.

What is crucial for networks to work well?

In my experience, networks always work well when you meet at eye level and as a human being. Some people try to network strategically and opportunistically right from the start and immediately have business on their minds. That sucks and is exhausting. First, I am always concerned with the people – and if it suits people well, then, sooner or later, there will always be a benefit. In a very personal way, but also mostly for your career.

What opportunities do you see in the digital transformation? How will companies and our way of working change?

Like any kind of change, the digital transformation can also cause uncertainty. Things we don’t know about, which we don’t know how to deal with; paths that have not yet been walked and whose exact destination we may not yet know; roles that we do not yet know exist or how to use.

But this is where the big opportunities lie: we can create new things and shape new things; we can go new ways and set our goals; we can define and develop new roles.
So our way of working will certainly change, and in a very positive way from my point of view: more flexibility, more creativity, more individuality.

And how can one shape the working world today?

By just doing it. In many companies there are still outdated structures, but usually no one really likes them – but it has simply always been done that way.

It takes someone who is brave; who encourages others; who questions things; who gives ideas. And that can be any one of us.

Thank you for your time and the nice interview!

 

 

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