Before you say yes to another thing, consider reading Peter Block’s book, the answer to how is yes. He wrote this in 2003 and it is incredibly relevant today.
He says our work world is a major testing ground for the expression of our values. They aren’t designed to affirm what he says, “recaptures the idealism of youth.” We move fast and forward towards the impersonal virtual conversation with accelerating speed and more meetings. What happened to intimacy and understanding each other?
Early career professionals are acting on what matters will change the world. They may appear to be idealistic. We were at that age too. What I respect is that they are wisely taking time to ask questions and determine their own personal values. They know and are more in touch with what matters most to them. They are rethinking relationships with their companies, bosses, colleagues and more.
What makes me say this? Tammy Sicard and I just launched our first early career learning group with amazing, young professionals who have been in the work setting for 3-6 years or so. Half of them have graduate degrees and they are not managers yet. They are sponsored by progressive thinking companies and senior leaders who see they have leadership potential. Their bosses still work in a hierarchical structure and many are focused on speed and results. That can be a good thing but they also value being authentic and developing people as future leaders.
Here is what we are learning from tomorrow’s leaders today:
1 Idealistic – early career professionals believe that life and work are worthwhile and both have meaning. They want to learn and see how their work fits into a bigger picture. They value their personal and family time – it defines them in big ways as one very important element of their path in life.
2 Commitment – they dedicate themselves to supporting their peers, valuing the team along with self -initiated learning.
3 Adaptive – the early careerist is pushing for change in work practices, work space and collaborative relationships. They want to be free of old policies that don’t make sense - they want more and believe they can obtain it.
I am working with an organization that is defining its values and engaging all workers in the process. Many of them are younger in career along with those more senior. It is fascinating to see how language shifts perception. My role is to facilitate honest dialogue and first look for all that is shared before defining a path forward that inspires everyone.
Don’t we all want life on our own terms? We come from a social and work structure that makes us choose work over life way too often. What do you want to put out into the world? Find it and learn from all of your generations at work so we can see new possibilities from their perspective and breathe more.
I will close by suggesting a book called, Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage by Richard Stengel. My long-time good friend Joan Clark suggested this gem. Two of the lessons is Lead from the Front and Lead from the back and another is Look for the Positive. There are more ways to engage your talent than reverting to an old model of leading from the top. Enjoy broadening your perspectives in seeing the world with new appreciation from young and wise in the work world.