“Creating Common Ground ~ Shift Two”

By: Misti Burmeister


“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being”
– Goethe

Seasoned Professionals:

 

COMMON GROUND

 

Young Professionals:

2. Making them just do the work

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Creating a learning relationship

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What can the company do for me?


Seasoned Professionals:Back when I was working at the National Institutes of Health, I was assigned five Baby Boomer mentors, one after another. While I was looking forward to gaining direction and making additional contacts from a mentoring meeting, each mentor would send me out the door with plenty of work, but no direction. I also left the meetings frustrated and confused. What I really needed was assistance with creating my career path and understanding how these experiences fit into the bigger picture.But it wasn’t until I began doing research on generational differences that I came to understand why this was happening. Baby Boomers grew up during a time when choices were in short supply and the focus was on “working hard” to get ahead. In their world, once you got a job, you put your head down and got to work because that was your company until you retired. The goal was to work hard and make a good impression so you could get ahead in the company. Obedience and loyalty were rewarded.

On the other hand, today’s young professionals have an abundance of choices and many are directionless. Helping them to gain a greater understanding of their own strengths, creating a career plan and helping them see how their career plan fits into the mission/vision of your company will help them greatly.

When they understand how their individual contribution (doing the work) helps both them and the company, they will be more inclined to work hard and stay focused. Many young professionals do not see how doing a great job with small projects demonstrates their abilities and sets them up for opportunities to do bigger projects. If they do not have access to highly visible projects right away, many think they are failures. They need your help in seeing the big picture, creating a career plan and gaining the necessary experience to set them up for success.

Young Professionals:Many times I have heard seasoned professionals complain that young professionals “want it all, without wanting to do the work.” Jackie, a seasoned lawyer, shared a story about a young lawyer, Jason. Jason had been with the law firm for a couple of years and recently had decided to put in his letter of resignation. When Jackie asked Jason to help her understand why he was leaving, this was his response – “I’ll do as many client dinners as you would like, but this office work is not for me.”Jason clearly did not understand how to contribute to the success of the law firm. Being a lawyer in a firm means that you are a part of a team – a team that serves customers and everyone must do their part so the customer receives great service. While going out to dinner with customers or potential customers is a great way to develop/strengthen relationships, it is only the icing on the cake. What is most important is a job well done!

Consider this: If every time you went to your hair stylist, they talked and talked but didn’t do a great haircut, would you go back? Probably not! Conversation and relationship building are important and, it is true, people do buy from those they like, nevertheless, keeping clients and getting great referrals depends on client satisfaction above all else.

While you may not enjoy all tasks set before you, they are a necessary part of the business – if no one does them, the customer will not be taken care of properly. Remember, your customers keep you employed – without them, no one in your company has a job. Take a step back to see the bigger picture and look for ways to contribute to the success of your team/company. This way you will help build a great reputation for both yourself and your company.

If you are clear about your career goals, look for ways to align your goals with your organization’s goals. If you are unclear about your career goals, use this time to test out different opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your job and the possibilities for advancement. When you understand what is available to you, then you can better determine your goals and request direction from your supervisors. Attitude is everything. Do what needs to be done without complaining, be patient, consistently communicate your career aspirations with the right people and do what’s necessary for the success of the company. These are the actions of people who rise to the top inside organizations and over time, you, too, will be noticed and promoted.

Next Time:

Seasoned Professionals:

 

COMMON GROUND

 

Young Professionals:

3. Make them appreciate what’s come before

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Creating a common vision

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Bucking the system


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