The Learning Spotlight
Making the Team
By John Grubbs
There is something special about the challenge young people face when attempting to make the team. This healthy competition ignites a desire to perform that cannot easily be replicated for this young generation of Americans. Regardless of the sport, the desire to achieve and play is a remarkable source of motivation. Imagine the organizational potential if an organization could replicate this as source of
motivation on the job. What would happen to key organizational metrics like attendance and productivity?
High school sports may hold the key to attracting, retaining and motivating the best of Generation Y for today’s employers. This generation of Americans has been labeled as “lazy” and unproductive in the workplace. Modern managers cannot seem to tap the potential offered by the smartest generation of workers to date. The generational disconnect comes from the
result of the activity of work. Previous generations have been motivated by the need to get that “good” job. Parents living through the great depression and the promise of lifetime security made getting the “right job” the prize.
Today these carrots no longer exist and the new generation has difficulty placing a job as the focal point of life. The social side of life holds far greater value than the traditional view of work for young Americans. The evidence exists in the connectivity to peers and the need to broadcast life’s simplest activity on networks like Facebook and YouTube.
The difference for a young worker may seem subtle, yet the result in the workplace is vast. If the job seems menial or has little personal value, its significance is comparable to that trip to the dentist. It’s a necessary and often unpleasant activity that must be accomplished. On the other hand, if we can create value in the activity, the desire to attend and perform can change
The feeling of making something special holds the key to attracting and keeping the best young talent. After all, if we undervalue their contribution, why would they consider it to have value? Business has worked very hard to devalue human talent and then we act surprised when the “job” holds no importance to the worker.
If a position in your organization is difficult to achieve and more importantly keep, young workers will be attracted by those already there. The elevation of young workers rather than devaluation is the first key to success in the new talent game. The self-fulfilling prophecy of lazy workers can indeed infect your team. Creating a workplace to attract these best of these
workers and select “only” the best can change your organizational paradigm.
And, even more amazing is the effort these workers will exert to make your team. If there is no value in being on the team, you will not retain the best. Treating your players like pawns begets more pawns, while treating them like your “queen” attracts more queens. Who are attracting and how are you treating them is the key to success. Please share your comments.
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