Questions I am frequently asked by CEO’s and HR folks–How can we have more effective employees? I read an interesting blog post in The Harvard Business Review that lists The Twelve Attributes of a Truly Great Place to Work.
I read a discussion with high school students in The NY Times this morning. Their perspective on the future is worth a look. Follow the link to the article, “What to do after high school“.
Steve Jobs gave a valedictory to the graduating class at Stanford in 2006 that is considered a classic and has been widely quoted: follow your passion; don’t live someone else’s life. Sound, brilliant, observations.
The part of that speech that resonates for me and that isn’t as widely quoted: “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?'”
“And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
How about you?? I still ask myself that question.
I had an opening at a firm that I had to fill. So I advertised the position. Scads of applicants. The resume sort resulted in many “no ways” a larger number of “so-sos” and a small number of “real prospects.”
After interviewing the “real prospects,” it was clear all of them could do the job as well as fit into our organization. But there was one candidate who, on her way out of my office, turned to me and said “I know there are other qualified applicants and the competition is stiff. But I would really like to work for you and this organization. And if I get this job you will not be disappointed. You won’t find anyone who is more motivated and eager to succeed.” Guess who got the job?
So, are you a monkey?
Here’s the story:
Put three monkeys in a large cage. In the center is a metal ladder and suspended above it a tempting, ripe banana. One monkey climbs up the ladder to get the banana. Unbeknownst to him it is wired to a battery and when part way up a hidden researcher flips a switch shocking the monkey, who skinnies down the ladder.
The second monkey tries to get the banana with the same effect. But when the third monkey starts to go after the banana the other two stop him. They have experienced the shock and want to spare their cage-mate the experience.
The monkeys are then replaced one at a time. As each new monkey is introduced to the group and tries to get the banana (and, by now, the electricity is turned off) the other two stop him. So, after all three monkeys have been replaced none of the group has experienced the shock.Yet each new monkey, when attempting to get the banana, is stopped by the other two monkeys. No monkey really knows why, they just follow what has been handed down.
It raises the question: are you working with – ahem – a bunch of monkeys. Or – heaven forbid – are you a monkey?
Consider–are you, is your team, following the “monkey see – monkey do” paradigm with no real understanding of what or why?
Could that be where the phrase “monkey business” came from?
What skills do I have that match what employers need and where they don’t match how to I turn them into personal assets?
Too many of the unemployed do not have the skills that employers now say they need. What happen to “on the job training”? To internships? Apprenticeships? How can employers bring on board motivated workers who need some additional training to meet the demands of the jobs for which they are hired?
Today too many employers, out-of –work folks take a narrow view of the strengths that they bring to the world of work. Skills can be learned when someone is excited about the tasks involved and wants to be effective in the new job. Someone who already has the skills and really dislikes the activities of the job will be less effective than another whose strengths lie internally in really being passionate about the job and the work involved.