Let’s talk about work ethics. We live in an ever changing dynamic world where words like improvement, profit, market share, EBIT and success are sometimes more common than shopping lists and people’s names. Everyone wants to lead without having a clear definition of what it takes to become a leader. I have been listening a lot lately to talks about understanding the millennials and talent retention and I agree that we need to be more flexible going forward. However, there are some rules that even if we change them in the way we explain them and drive for the teams by in, we must not change the basic essence of them. As leaders, we have a responsibility of coaching young executives in order to leave our legacy as part of their professional growth.
I was raised in a family of five brothers and my mother couldn’t afford to be soft on us and still manage to teach us the facts of life. So whenever one of us told her “Mom I don’t feel well”, she would go to the medicine cabinet, give us an Aspirin and instruct us to get ready for school. She made dependability a habit for me. In a team, our actions have an impact on our teammates. It’s a wonderful feeling when you work in a group where you know that if anything goes wrong, you can still depend on your colleagues to handle contingencies. Having ownership of your responsibilities creates trust in the team and trust is something high performance teams cannot afford not to have. Somebody once told me that the moment the business starts losing money, is the moment they stop being dependable.
We live in a world where we take things for granted. We go to the gym in the morning, buy coffee on our way to the office, do grocery shopping at our neighborhood supermarket and go to dinner with that special person to that special restaurant where you feel right at home. Would we still go to the same places if we were not sure that they will be open? Would you continue to be friends with someone you do not know you can trust? The list goes on and on…
Sports and Instant Gratification
Instant gratification is one of the main characteristics that we see in millennials. Being a leader, it is quite a challenge to deal with this and explain why in jobs and in life in general, things do not happen as quickly as we want them to happen. As a father, I wouldn’t like my kids to go through the frustration of trying to understand why they cannot be managers at their first professional job or that in order to be a leader you need to learn to be lead. Sports are a good way to be taught this in the early years.
Over the last year, I have very much enjoyed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. When I feel like taking a breather from daily work, I leave 30 minutes early to watch the kid’s class. I am amazed at the fact that the way they earn their belts is not by test, it is by completing an attendance checklist board. So every day when they finish their class, they run with huge smiles on their faces to put a cross on the board marking it as having completed a class. They know that to get the next belt they have to put in the daily training. This then becomes a habit which will practically take over instant gratification. So when you pick a sport or team for your child, instead of thinking that perhaps he will become the next Liverpool striker, think about which values you want him or her to live up to. There is no substitute to hard work with the right work ethics when it comes to gratification. Cheers!