The Corporate Matrix: Going for a New Career or for a New Life?

The future of Talent Scouting might change. Are you ready for the red pill?

Last week I was watching The Matrix again with my two boys. Enjoying the beautiful dialogues I realise this movie (1999) contains a lot of valuable insights for us today. Especially for those working as Talent Scout, searching for the leaders of the future…


Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Neo: The Corporate Matrix. 

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is? 

Neo: Yes. 

Morpheus: The Corporate Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your car window or when you turn on your computer. You can feel it when you go to work… when you are in a meeting… when you prepare a Quarterly Review or your next business plan. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. 

Neo: What truth? 

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else in the corporate world you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.


I run more and more into people who feel like Neo. Around 40-50 years of age, highly experienced, with an impressive corporate career behind them. And they know something. They know that if they continue the way they used to work, making just the next career move, convincing themselves that the challenge ahead will be really exciting, they will compromise on something fundamental. They don’t know what it is exactly, but it’s there, like a splinter in their mind. It makes them feel sad, disappointed, and discarded.

“You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.”

If they weren’t afraid of the uncertainties, or not bound by financial commitments, these talents would rather radically change the course of their journey. They’re not interested in a career shift, but rather in a life shift.

And here is the opportunity for the next generation in Talent Scouting. Personally, I even think it’s not just an opportunity, but more something like a change or die situation. Not only for the Talent Scout, but for the companies he or she serves as well. Because only when Neo & Co get the chance to change the course of their journey, they will be able to positively influence the current corporate world as well.

Traditional companies desperately need leaders with an urge to explore the organisational elements that are viable for the future. And design and reinvent their organisation consistently around these elements. Even if this means to radically discontinue certain activities or ways of working if they prove not to be sustainable.

Leaders who are courageous enough to add heart and purpose to the organisation’s activities and make bold choices that would be approved by future generations. Instead of writing software code to obscure negative environmental effects.

Leaders who can ignite a spark that will inspire employees to start seeing the Corporate Matrix, and realise they have the freedom to make a difference. Besides making profit.

“Neo, sooner or later you’re going to realise that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

As a Talent Scout you play a crucial role in attracting these talents and connect them with visionary companies. Think about it. How could you become a heart hunter instead of a head hunter? How could you organise and position yourself so you can hand over purpose-driven leaders? Eager to show people the way out of the Corporate Matrix and lead them into building organisations that would be approved by the future? How could you become a little bit like Morpheus?

Neo: “I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to show these people a world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”