Great Leaders Are Guided By Abundance
September 11th, 2012 – The changing of the guard has begun. Members of “Generation Y” (born between 1982 and 2000) are permeating the workforce, creating cultural shifts in our business environments. While many of us “tenured” business folk believe in not quitting until the job’s done – not to imply this is (or was) necessarily the right or only way – this next generation seeks more than just work as a path to fulfillment.
Recently a client of mine, a vice president of operations, hired her replacement. The VP is a baby-boomer. She works what she considers normal business hours: she’s there before the client arrives and is there after the client leaves. Her new hire, though, works from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. without fail.
When I asked my client if her new associate was completing her work, the VP responded, “I’m not sure.” Come again? According to the VP, while her new associate completes the work assigned, she doesn’t seem all that committed to the team or to the organization.
So I asked, “Have you given all the information, emotional support, acknowledgment and guidance you can to the new hire?” and “Are you being abundant with your giving, or are you being stingy?”
While the VP’s response was not surprising, it was thought provoking. “When I joined this company 18 years ago, I had to prove myself. I had to show I could keep up with my superiors. I had to win their acceptance before I could ask for things like flexible hours. I just feel everyone must pay their dues.”
Can you say, “Business as usual?”
Consider this example: An entry-level associate with a year on the job was showing promise at a small business, which came to the owner/CEO’s attention. On a Friday afternoon, the CEO asked the associate to put together a plan for how he could take on greater responsibility, building up to a promotion. The CEO asked for the plan to be completed by Monday morning. That weekend the associate told his father he thought the CEO’s request was unacceptable. How dare the CEO ask him to give up the weekend!
Surprising? Yes. But understandable when you consider that 80 percent of today’s workforce does not want to own a business, lead a team, or manage people. Most want to listen to radio station WIIFM (“What’s In It For Me”) and to get as much as they can get as soon as they can get it. Like it or not, Generation Y is here to stay. Great business leaders will be those most able to lead this next generation closer to their ways of thinking while also learning from them what is required to retain top talent and get results. At the same time, these leaders will need to be generous with their time and knowledge so Generation Y can succeed.
Do you approach life from a place of abundance or of scarcity? Which of the following best describes you?
• I live by the philosophy of ABUNDANCE, the belief there’s plenty as long as I take action with purpose and intention and always make progress toward my Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Reasonable and Time-sensitive (SMART) goals.
• I live by the philosophy of SCARCITY, which means if I get there first I win and you lose. Living with abundance is like running a marathon. There is ongoing preparation, maintenance and the wherewithal to deal with the unexpected. Pass this legacy on to those you currently lead. Help them help you win the future.
Scarcity is more like a sprint, where in order to win, someone else must lose. Leaders guided by scarcity hire quality individuals, make them work long hours, and bleed all they can from them in 2 to 3 years. They are guaranteed that their golden gooses – their businesses – will cease laying golden eggs for them.
What kind of leader are you?
Get the less-tenured workers more involved in your business. Work with them. Share your knowledge so they have a better understanding of who you are and what you’ve done. Have them participate in this knowledge-share. Discover what they need from you. In the process, you’ll build longer-term relationships, loyalty and show Generation Y how to be generous to those who follow, resulting in greater profits and stability for the long haul. It’s your choice…
Stuart Friedman is president of Progressive Management Associates, Inc. He is a business visionary who helps his clients get their companies “Unstuck!” He guides organizations through cultural shifts by getting people aligned to strategic outcomes. He is a leading consultant, speaker, coach and author. Friedman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)