It starts with a statistic, and ends with an opportunity.
By the year 2025, 75% of the workforce in the USA will be made up of Millennials.
(Millennials are born roughly between the years of 1980-2000).
That means 75% of the workforce will be 40 years old or younger in 2025.
That means leadership will be younger in 2025.
That means that consumers and their spending habits will be younger in 2025.
And all of that is starting to ramp up...now.
So what is the opportunity?
Education has the largest platform to completely change the game.
I wonder what it might look like to see the college student experience be different than ever before. For the purposes of this blog post, I'm not speaking to the way academics are taught in the classroom by the tremendously talented faculty and staff that does so. I'm speaking specifically to how life is done, lived and offered to the college students during their time on campus.
I imagine a different "experience". One that to implement will give you that "pit of the stomach I want to hurl on my shoes" feeling wondering if it will work. So much different that for it to work, we'll have to ignore a lot of naysayers and status quo lovers in order to do the hard work of launching such a thing.
And when I think about that kind of world...
that kind of University...I can't help but get excited.
I can't help but smile at the thought of my three children attending "that" University.
I'll even toss out some low hanging fruit ideas of what I think it could look like.
Your entire existence as a college student is tracked, in real-time, with something that rivals the "MagicBand" you see taking over Disney these days. Every swipe of the wrist tracks class attendance, grades, meals, volunteer service hours, attendance at sporting events and concerts. No, not a "big brother is watching thing". It would be built FOR the student, not to limit the student. It would be incentivized to create a 4 year, digital resume of excellence. The student could share it like they would something on facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram. A prospective employer could see their growth. No more "tell me one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses" cheesy interview questions. This is their life, 24-7, over several years. Employers see right away if the student is a fit for their organization, rather than them taking a job that they end up hating...and the employer loses tons of money recruiting, hiring, training and trying to retain them.
That's a financial and cultural win for the employer.
That's a cultural fit win for the employee.
That's a job placement win for the University.
Isn't it fun to see the wins starting to pile up for everyone involved?
Parents, Faculty, Administrators, Friends...whomever...not wondering how the student is doing, if they are making it, etc... It's live. It's real-time update-level stuff. Hey, if Mom and Dad are footing the bill for tuition, giving them a shot to see how their investment is paying off BEFORE it might implode is just sound investment strategy. AND...it could save a lot of students from making some pretty crummy decisions early on. That's a win-win. Oh, and that whole retention thing colleges are concerned about. That's a win for them too.
And the wins keep coming.
This whole thing isn't just about 4 years in college. It goes with the student, grows with the student, as they enter the workforce. They launch a company, and because they attended a University that "gamified" and "Disney-fied" their college experience they are better equipped to offer the same game changing experience to their team.
A world where "wonder" is about opportunity and possibility again,
not if a student was going to "make it".
This college experience is arcade not archaic.
75% of the USA Workforce will be 40 years old or younger by 2025.
Still think the current "college experience" (outside of the classroom) is preparing them for that?
I know quite a few Universities are pondering the recruitment & retention challenge.
I also know it isn't something to worry about.
It's the coolest, most amazing opportunity to launch a college experience today that will leave a legacy of impact tomorrow.
The sunset is coming (2025).
The work we do before,
dictates the view we have when it gets here.
It's time to create the University on a hill for all to see
as a shining example of what true innovation looks like...
And ends up with the best seat in the house come 2025.
That is a sunset I can't wait to see.
That is an opportunity to leave a tremendous legacy.
That is a world I want for all three of my children.
That is the University I want all of them attending.
Is that you?
"You've got to create healthy boundaries."
You must do this so that things that appear attractive don't become habits that are destructive.
Let's go swimming for a minute. At first, it's a lot of fun. One stroke at a time. The view is great, the water refreshing. Then something starts to happen. Our arms tire, our breathing becomes more labored. And in a moment, what we are sure will be there to help us catch our breath is not any longer. We go to put our feet down on solid ground to stand, and we can't feel it.
We've gotten out so deep in the water,
we are in over our head.
Work. Home. Relationships. Ministry. It can happen in all of these places. Our best of intentions can get us in situations we should never have had to encounter.
So how do we avoid this part of chaos?
Just like the buoy line in the picture above tells us we need to turn around, we need limits in place in our work, families, relationships and churches. Candidly…there are just some places that some people are not equipped to go.
As a leader it's your job to identify them, articulate them clearly, and set your people up for success within your organization.
As a follower it's your job not to rock the boat and pitch a fit when you don't understand. Many times you won't be able to "see the difference". In other words, you won't know if the water is 4 feet or 44 feet deep. So you will keep swimming. You'll insist "you are fine". And at some point, it may end in a tragic situation.
Listening to and honoring the leadership over you may be the very thing that will protect you.
Separating what looks the same isn't easy, and not everyone is called to do it. But those that are need to be listened to.
(Insert why it's so important that parents stop trying to be their kid's "best friends" all the time here. Just lead well!)
That's how you can make sure that something that looks attractive doesn't become a habit that is destructive.
You avoid deep waters that will overtake you by trusting the vision set before you.
Are there times when the boundaries need to be pushed so that your team can get to where they need to go? Absolutely. But that is never done by just diving in and rushing into the unknown. It's done out loud, in advance, with intentional preparation so that you can get where your team needs to go safely.
Leaders are leaders for a reason. If you are under one that casts vision, and leads by careful influence to get everyone someplace special…together…congrats. That's a cool place to be. And if you are a leader, don't let this go to your head. It's your responsibility to get everyone there safely. Your pride has no place in that process.
If, on the other hand, you are in a situation where orders are barked out, and you stay on the shore forever…there isn't anything wrong with having a conversation. Talk it out. Share your concerns. And then make decisions that are healthy.
But please, don't just jump in and start swimming to prove a point. The point you prove may end up being you in over your head. And that's not any place you are called to.
Turning chaos into order
starts with intentionality.
It starts with setting healthy boundaries.
Embrace them so that you can get where you are going with a purpose, on purpose…to make a difference in the world around you.
Part 3 is coming soon!
Here is what we'll tackle.
3. You've got to create systems and structure. You must do this so that you can multiply your progress in a healthy environment.
See you all soon!
If most of us know what it means, than why do so many struggle to honor them?
For lots of reasons, I suppose.
There is one in particular that I believe has the ability to shape an entire generation that I want to talk about today.
And there is one group of people that have the opportunity to change that.
As parents, we must teach our children that once a commitment is made, preference is set aside. If we don't we'll be raising a generation of wimps. Our kids will bail when it gets hard, a better option comes along, or they just generally don't feel like honoring their commitment.
When I was a 7th grader, (a VERY long time ago), I was on the middle school basketball team. It was early in the season, and my body was already sore, tired and generally becoming "allergic" to hard work. I can distinctly remember sitting in our family's Dodge Minivan in our driveway after my mom had just driven me home from another practice.
I told her the plight I was facing, and I was ECSTATIC to hear her response! Well, the first part anyway. I told her I wanted to quit, and she immediately said…"You can quit if you want to" (I was getting ready to sigh the deepest breath of relief I'd ever experienced when she followed that sentence with this)…
"You can quit…when the season is over".
That lesson has ALWAYS stuck with me. It's carried over many seasons of my life, well into my career as a leadership consultant. Let's admit it…there are plenty of times when we'd rather take the short cut, easy way out or generally walk away.
It's our PREFERENCE that is tripping us up. And our kids are watching us.
When we see something through by honoring those we said we would, they learn that's the benchmark. That is the "new normal".
When we come and go when we feel like it, take the more pleasurable option in the short-term regardless of its effect on others, or walk away before we've seen something all the way through to the end?
We've failed as parents.
It doesn't mean we are failures.
It simply means…no excuses. Own it. We've dropped the ball.
As I work with large teams through the WHOBIX leadership curriculum, I can see it a mile away. Show me the employee who is perpetually late, loves the phrase "that's not my job" and believes they are entitled to rewards just for showing up…AND I WILL SHOW YOU A PARENT THAT HAS MODELED THAT BEHAVIOR.
I want to leave you with what I started with.
When we make a commitment, preference is set aside.
If we don't model and teach that to our children we will have raised a generation of entitled, often fired employees, who believe the world owes them something for doing nothing.
Is it always easy? No. But then again, nothing worth pursuing ever is.
By the way…once I stuck that season through until the end, a funny thing happened. I fell in love with the experience, my team and being part of something worth working for. And…we were pretty good too. League champs if memory serves me correctly. :)
When this becomes part of the DNA of our kids, they will know WHO they are.
Like we say @WHOBIX…
When you know WHO you are,
you will know WHAT to do.
From the desk of our founder, Brett W. Gould.