It can be easy to point the finger when things aren’t working well, especially when it comes to business. Whether it be drops in team performance, not enough sales, missed KPI’s, or an inability to recruit or retain staff, taking a step back and identifying the cause isn’t an easy task.
One of the biggest problems underlying this is the apparent ease of simply blaming external factors for problems. Which usually results in victim mentality, lack of ownership and accountability. All things which can cripple a business. And while there are external influential factors and things outside of one’s control, the question that ultimately comes back to the business is: What are you doing about it?
And by this question I mean how much responsibility and ownership is your business taking – how much ownership – in resolving the issues?
In the ideal world, there’d be no issues. But, the fact is, we’re dealing with a world that isn’t perfect. Ways of working are still outdated, societal influence is still limiting, the dynamics of workforces have shifted dramatically, the demographics of people are blended, technology is impacting our lives every single day, the global economy is subject to flux and where we’re still dealing with the offset of a pandemic.
The reality is, unless business makes a concerted effort to be part of the solution to the challenges being faced, they won’t be able to be resolved.
Case study: New hire and recruiting graduates
Oftentimes we hear business complain about the difficulties being experienced with new graduates. Some of the pain points include lack of initiative, lack of skills (usually social), inability to make decisions, no practical experience, knowledge gaps, high expectations, need for feedback etc. I get it; it’s a lot for business to deal with. But let’s take one step back to see what’s happened before.
Broadly speaking, the typical university experience isn’t set up in the most optimized way, to support graduates entering the workforce. “Most” universities are still operating vis-a-vis a model that assumes learn to retire vs to learn, adapt, upskill and support. Or, in simple terms, learn from textbooks with limited ability to either reapply the knowledge or skills in a way that mirrors the real world. This also includes a focus if you will, on a one trajectory pathway vs a portfolio career. Yes, placements and internships exist, but not all are privy to this.
So then, is it any surprise when new hires turn up at the office and have all the textbook knowledge, but from a practical point of view, are lacking?
If we want to take it one step back even further, we can go back to upbringing and parenting, which is continuing to build on the helicopter model. In turn, hindering the development of critical skills like decision making, using initiative and that wonderful virtue of patience.
The wider context
Now it’s all well and good for business to complain, but when you start looking at the causal factors, then it’s easy to understand the why. Which means you have two options: you can point the finger and blame the graduate, university or parents, or you can appreciate the wider context and causal factors, and do something about it.
Rather than be part of the problem, business can in fact be part of the solution. Empowering staff, investing in your people and using it as an opportunity to mould your new hire into the people your company need.
The world isn’t perfect but taking responsibility and ownership over what you can control, will get your business as close as possible to what that ideal might mean to you.