Why Do We Do What We Do?
One of the most widely watched TED talks was by Simon Sinek called “start with why.” It has been four months short of fifty years that I have been involved working in this Industry. When people questioned what I wanted to do with my life when I entered the work place, I had no real answer. I don’t think I was very different from most people. Unless a teenager has a clear purpose of medicine or law or other specialized careers most people are looking for a job that is fulfilling and provides a reasonable income.
I bounced around through a reasonable number of different “temporary” work assignments until settling on working as a social worker in a custodial setting for Juvenile delinquents. I had been unsuccessful at landing a job in the computer Industry and settled on reconnecting with my heritage as my great grandfather was one of the founders of this institution. I was hired as a “control figure.” I was large and fit. This work involved being on the job from 7:00 AM until 11:00 PM daily and on call overnight. I had one day off every two weeks. (During which I slept.)
After six months of this I quit as it was too stressful for me. In the first task I was given there, eight of the twelve young men were there for murder. I had never experienced that side of society before.
I also was involved in teaching at a University in Montreal. I developed and taught a program within the Physical Education Department to teach aspiring coaches in swimming.
From that work my family got a call from the father of one of my University students inquiring as to my availability for an interview. The rest is history.
I was afforded wonderful opportunities to learn. I was given direct training on the job as well as an OEM who took an interest in my development. I am very sensitive to the need for employees to feel that they have a role to play and that the Company is interested in their professional development and growth. Prof. Sinek has an additional interview on YouTube addressing Millennials in the Workplace. It is very helpful.
One of my associates, Edward Gordon, a University of Chicago professor, author and consultant writes regularly on jobs and the workplace. His book Future Jobs is one that everyone in leadership positions across the world should read. His November report includes the following excerpt:
“Employer job training is only a part of the solution to the jobs-skills gap. The U.S. education system is not producing enough graduates with the credentials sought by American employers. Although 68 percent of high school seniors enroll in post-secondary programs, after six years only about 33 percent complete a certificate, apprenticeship, or degree program. Students who are required to take remedial courses (usually in math, reading or writing) drop out at far higher rates reflecting the difficulty of making up for past deficiencies in attainment. Clearly American education is out of step with current societal and economic needs. I agree with David Brooks who recently wrote, “We build a broken system and then ask people to try to fit into the system instead of tailoring a system around people’s actual needs.”
This brings me to Learning Without Scars.
We have been in the Industry since 1969, I have worked with thousands of dealers around the world. One thing is common with every employee with whom I have worked. EVERYONE WANTS TO DO A GOOD JOB. I believe our challenge is first to help employees understand what doing a good job means for each of them and how they can progress to better and better things according to their particular needs, wants and desires. That is why we do what we do. I hope that is also true of the leadership in every dealership in the work. Help each employee to be better at what they do and to help them reach their individual potential.
The Time is NOW.