Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NOT EVERYONE GETS A TROPHY:  How to Manage Generation Y
By Bruce Tulgan

 The multi-generational nature of the workplace has become the new, hot issue for organizations.  I can't tell you how much complaining I hear when I do training within organizations about how the "younger generation has no idea how to come to work and how to do the work.   It's not that they aren't intelligent, it's just that they don't seem to have any work ethic!"The frustration of managers and supervisors has reached epidemic proportions.

The author researched the so-called Generation Y's (born between 1978-1990) for more than a decade.  He believes that much of the information on how to deal with the influx of young workers is going in the wrong direction.  His approach of  "less Google, more United States Army"  is a clear departure from everything previously written on this subject.

Here are a few suggestions for frustrated supervisors and managers:
-NEVER undermine your own authority
-NEVER pretend that the job is going to be more "fun" than it is
-NEVER suggest that things are up to GenYers when they are not 
-NEVER gloss over details
-NEVER let problems slide
-NEVER offer praise or rewards for less than excellent performance (hence the book title)

His discussion of the difference between mentors, career coaches is interesting.  Tulgan believes that there has to be at least come compromise on how the workplace should be run, but both sides need to do some giving.  This is a different approach and I think it has merit.  What do you think?  

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THE SURVIVORS CLUB:  The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life
By Ben Sherwood

Did you know?
-Every hour, of every day 136 people lose their jobs.
-Every hour, 80 families can't hold on to their homes.
-Every hour, 330 people are injured in auto accidents.
-Every hour, 171 people are victimized by violent crime.
-Every hour, 160 people are diagnosed with cancer.

These statistics came from the book.  Don't you wonder who survives and thrives and who doesn't?  Who bounces back from adversity and who surrenders to it?  What do survivors and thrivers know about beating the odds that we don't?  This book has some intriguing answers to these questions.

The book explores "What does it really take to overcome life's greatest challenges? And what kind of survivor are you?"  There are true stories and some surprising research.  The author did personal research with the U.S. military survival schools and the FAA's airplane evacuation course.  He even underwent genetic testing to find out if he has the so-called "Resilience Gene."

One tidbit of information I found fascinating was about flight attendants.  I have always thought they were there for passenger comfort and to be helpful in times of emergency.  I had no idea that part of their job was to "profile" each passenger and determine which ones might be suspicious and to identify the ABP's (able-bodied passengers) who they could call on for help in case of an emergency.  ABP's are typically solo travelers who are alert, healthy, and physically fit.  They wear clothing that suggests they are some kind of military, law enforcement, or firefighter.   Thank you flight attendants for trying to keep me safe.

Readers are offered a unique opportunity to discover their own unique Survivor IQ.  Each book  comes with an access code printed on the underside of the dust jacket.  By going to, you can take the test.  I did and found it very interesting.

The book is filled with interesting information that may just save your life.  What do you think?

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THE RIGHT LEADER: Selecting Executives Who Fit
By Nat Stoddard with Claire Wyckoff

"I wish that all the interviews I did where ascomfortable and professional as yours, and that the interviewers came as well-prepared with relevant questions as you did. You really made the entire experience a pleasure." -----Nat Stoddard

As I read the author's credentials, "Chairman of Crenshaw Associates, former CEO of a leading kitchen products manufacturer and a former president, and CEO of GE's Canadian appliance affiliate, Camco, Inc.," I was very impressed. There is no doubt that Stoddard knows what it looks like from the top. My initial question was "What does this book have to do with someone like me? I am just a regular employee. I have always looked up at the top executives in the organization from somewhere in the middle."

As I read the book, I began to understand the importance it has for me and for anyone else involved in an organization.

The book is well-researched, interesting and thought provoking. The statistics about the failure rate for top executives in corporate America are staggering. The amount of money wasted would sustain a small country for at least a year. Why do organizations give top executives such "golden parachutes" when they do a bad job and are replaced? Why can't Boards and Teams select the right person for the job in the first place? They seem to be looking at the wrong things and not asking the right questions.

Stoddard and Wyckoff present a Match-Fit Model that makes a lot of sense. There is also information about how to put together the selection team. There are recommendations for questions that should be asked as well as a discussion of the organization's culture. Doesn't it make sense that if there is success at the top there will be success at the bottom of the organization? Don't we all want to be part of a successful and stable organization with solid leadership?

I believe this book contains ideas that are useful to any group choosing new leadership, whether it's a church group, a non-profit organization or a major corporation. The idea of actually choosing the right person the first time just seems like common sense. but I read a quote the other day that says, "Common sense isn't so common any more." What do you think?

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