Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Roll up your sleeves and make a difference!

Here's an amazing email from an Alberta entrepreneur in response to my "Convocation speech" column (see previous post). His take on today's young people is interesting - and what he is looking for may surprise a lot of new grads and intrigue fellow business owners.

"You are saying it exactly as it is. I run a relatively small company with about 100 employees. We hire young people who we look to mentor into the leaders of our company in the future. Before I know it retirement will be upon me. I believe in promoting from within which means that one of the people I have hired in the last five years or the next five years or so will be the person who takes my place.

But in making that decision I will be choosing someone who is engaged in what they are doing and who has demonstrated an ability to make good decisions and manage the resources in which they have been entrusted in the best way possible. They will also have demonstrated a passion for the company and the employees that make it work today.

Too many grads come out with an attitude of entitlement, as opposed to a drive to roll up their sleeves and get their hands good and dirty, really accomplishing something and making a difference. These are the ones who five years in will wonder what happened when after four or five years of schooling and about the same in the workplace they are still doing the same old thing.

Thank-you for expressing that in print - they may not like it but it's the truth.

At the same time, there is nothing more exciting and more powerful than a young person who is engaged in what they are doing, has the skill set to get the job done, and has a passion for making a difference through the things they accomplish. Although they are hard to find, they are out there -- and it is a thrill to watch and work with! I am delighted to say that I have several of those in our company and they are the most exciting people to have in our employ. They are priceless!"

Not a bad idea for a help-wanted ad.
"WANTED: People who don't mind rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands good and dirty. Must genuinely want to accomplish something, and really make a difference.
Apply within."


Jacoline Loewen said...

This bit of advice is powerful. I hire for companies partnering with private equity and have experienced the same thing with young people. Once you explain that the job is about the company, not their career development only, the winners get it and pick up the ball.
Great to hear the truth from entrepreneurs.

Rick Spence said...

The next step is to figure out how to get this message out to new entrants to the workforce.
In other words, it's a great idea for another column!
Thanks, Jacoline.

Carol said...

Must say this blog is an eye opener; experience speaks louder than academics, indeed! Even I have been ONE among millions of grads with the aforementioned attitude(i.e. attitude of entitlement). I believe, it's about time to roll up my sleeves and let my hands get dirty to accomplish what really brings a sense of satisfaction in me...after all, it's worth doing it!!