This is Part 2 of an interview with Jim Bouchard on Black Belt Mindset in the workplace. Click here for Part 1…
Q: Some employees and some prospects for new hires have an entitlement mentality…
A: The “Show me the money” problem!
Q: Yes- they think that they should be paid ahead of performance. What do you do with someone that has that mentality?
A: This is the work ethic problem I identify in my white paper, “The Hard Asset Value of Soft Skill Training.”
According to a study by York College, businesses are looking for people with good work ethic- that seems natural enough and it’s a reasonable expectation. At the same time, our culture is reaching a dangerous critical mass of people who expect a certain standard of living as a birthright. The problem is, that certain standard of living is not a fixed point.
A couple of generations ago you were doing just fine if you had a roof over your head and full bellies. If you had a nice car and could take the family on the annual vacation you were really living the American Dream!
Now there are demands for even those without work to have cell phones, internet access and in one program I just heard about- trips to Disneyland to reduce the stress of poverty and improve self-esteem!
Listen- the best way to reduce the stress of poverty is to make more money. And I’m not talking out of school; I’ve lived in abject poverty. Mine was self-imposed by stupid decisions, especially drugs, but that didn’t invalidate the experience.
Today people are entering the workforce with higher expectations. At the same time, our economy is tightening and we simply can’t satisfy those expectations in most situations. Maybe the problem is that aspirations have become expectations.
You don’t owe me anything when I show up for the job. I may be worth more than the other guy based on past experience and performance; that’s how you build your value in the market. But- if you’re just coming out of college or taking an entry level job you’ve got to prove yourself first.
Q: But what if I’ve got to hire the person with the high expectations? What if that’s the most qualified candidate?
A: At the entry level, I’d say attitude and aptitude trumps any particular educational background. School isn’t real life.
Still- the solution is an ongoing and comprehensive culture of excellence that will help that new hire make the transition from expectation to aspiration.
There’s nothing in the world wrong with high aspirations! You want people who are driven by personal motivations. You just don’t want to overpay for that person who has not demonstrated value through performance.
Of course, now you’ve got to be ready to reward the high performers. They are going to want more money, better positions and more responsibility. If you can’t provide that, that person is going to leave and shop his value on the market.
Q: So the better I train people with this mindset, the greater chance that they’re going to leave?
A: Yes! But while they’re with you they’re going to be your best performers. If you don’t have a place for them to grow, then the best reward is a great referral from you.
Do this consistently and you’ll have an eager corps of new, ambitious employees who will continually step up.
Q: But back to the guy who just doesn’t get it…
A: You know my answer! Mindset training serves two purposes: It improves the performance of those who accept it and it weeds out those who won’t.
Everyone can learn to THINK Like a BLACK BELT. Not everyone will. I say reward the ones who can and fire the ones who won’t!
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