Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helping Our Youth Get a Faster Start

One of the things I have really enjoyed about being a parent has been seeing my children grow up and begin to discover what they love to do...what they were made to do. I have eight beautiful children and they are all very different.

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and was sharing about what my four teenagers are planning on doing for careers. I have one who wants to be a mom & photographer, one who wants to be involved in counter-terrorism work for the FBI, one who wants to be a web/graphic designer and one who wants to be a filmmaker. And, while things could certainly change with time and experience, it is exciting to have children who have a solid idea of what they want to do well before they reach the college years.

The other exciting thing is that most of them are getting a chance to try it out before they sink a college career (and my money) into it.
  • My 18 yr old daughter has already started her own photography business and is really getting some traction. She is very talented. Check out her website to see some of her work.
  • My 15 yr old son is working on websites for his sister, a neighbor and his own business that he started with a friend.
  • My 14 yr old son has been working on editing a training DVD, getting it ready for sale by the gentleman who gave the seminar.
I say these things not to brag (at least not too much), but to make a point. My friend asked me at lunch the other day how in the world this happened. Initially, I didn't know how to respond. But, as I reflected for a few minutes it became clear.

Ever since our children began approaching their teens my wife and I have been very intentional about observing them to discover their passions and talents. And, we have tried to give them plenty of opportunities to explore them and try them out. I have also had my oldest three children take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment and this has provided some additional insights.

Our children don't have to wait until they are 30 to figure out what they want to do. Instead of being so overly focused on sports, let's help them discover what they were made to do. They'll love it.

Seize the day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time to "Cut Bait?"

We've all been there. We have someone on our team that "just isn't working out." We know it is true, but rather than do the intelligent thing...we wait. And so, the bleeding continues or the cancer spreads, whichever the case may be. One thing is for sure. The situation rarely improves.

Why do we wait? Why do we put ourselves (and others) through this agony? There are two primary reasons that I have encountered personally and through my interaction with other managers.

First, we blame ourselves. We say we haven't made our expectations clear, or we haven't given them enough time to develop, or we haven't given them the right training or the right tools to succeed, or...or...or etc. We think if we can just fix those things and give them more time it will all work out.

Second, we hold out hope for a major turnaround. We think if we just wait a few more weeks or months they will discover the missing link, the "light" will go on and everything will be just fine.

Ah, yes...the magic potion of time. We fool ourselves into thinking it holds the mystical key to a happy ending. The reality is that it rarely does. Usually, the opposite is true. The longer we wait, the more damage is the organization, to relationships, to our reputation.

In both cases, the culprit is usually our unwillingness to admit we made a mistake when we hired this person.

Let's not let that happen anymore. When we hear that nagging, yet confident voice saying "it just isn't going to work out," let's listen. Let's do ourselves, the organization and that person a favor and end it directly and graciously. What kind of damage is being done while you wait?

Seize the day!