Wednesday, June 11, 2014

how no child left behind = everyone losing.

through our early education we've decided to teach the misnomer that there are no failures. everyone's equal. for unmotivated kids, this translates into "just show up" and you'll get the passing grade, ribbon or trophy. they know this. for motivated kids, this translates into "why bother busting my ass when the kid next to me is going to receive similar/the same recognition with minimal effort". this flawed logic is following 'our future' through their education life cycle and emerging in the workforce. 

it used to be commonplace for people to bust their butts, go the extra mile and stand out in the workplace. whether it was for the intrinsic sense of pride or the extrinsic bonuses & raises, more than less came prepared to go above & beyond. did a few slip through the cracks? sure. were there greedy leaders who took advantage vs. fairly recognizing and compensating. probably. but more than less, if your leadership is worth the designation they have received, they got it/get it and saw your extra effort.

now. we want & expect to begin work on the hour we're supposed to start, invest the minimum requirement and leave on the dot when we are supposed to finish. no more, no less. team builders - 'are we getting paid for it?' continued education to make us better - 'better be compensated' and the list goes on. it's a sad testament on the times, which in tight times make little sense.

here are five strategies we can employ to ensure we're not all being left behind. 
  1. get rid of this everyone deserves to be a winner mentality we're teaching at early ages. to be clear, those who put in the extra effort deserve to be winners and the world is full of them.
  2. set clear expectations around job descriptions. eg: you're being paid X per hour / per salary which includes AB&C in the off hours.
  3. recognize and reward efforts that extend above and beyond the minimum expectation at every turn. this recognition can be in a variety of forms that doesn't always need to be monetary.  you will reap what you sew.
  4. eradicate naysayers on your team / in your organization quickly & often. people put on their best front initially and then the honeymoon phase ends and the expectation of receiving more, while doing the same begins. 
  5. stop changing what's not broken. survival of the fittest cannot be replaced with flourishing of the apathetic and an expectation of progress. it doesn't make sense to anyone.... except the apathetic.
we need to start leaving people behind if we truly want to get ahead. 

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