Author: Jake Gunnoe

The “Why” Generation

This is the third article in the Next Generation Leadership Series. Click to read the first and second articles.
Work-life balance: the millennial dream and the employer nightmare. I presented on the topic of millennials to a group of professionals at the Construction Specification Institute Phoenix Chapter. Their biggest struggle was trying to attract younger employees to their companies. The room was polluted with confusion about the trends of “work-life balance”. What is work-life balance? Who decides when work and “life” are in perfect harmony? Why is this new idea so pervasive among young professionals?

The Internet

A married couple boards a plane to Fiji with two kids ages 4 and 2. They don’t own any cars, they don’t live in house, and all their belongings fit within two suitcases and one carryon each. For 100 weeks straight, The Bucket List Family went on a perpetual “vacation” around the world. This lifestyle was made possible when Garrett Gee, the Bucket List Father, sold a bar code scanning app to Snapchat for $54 million. The real kicker is that Gee still hasn’t touched a cent of that money. Instead, him and his wife were inspired to sell their cars and belongings, so they could travel with $45,000. As they traveled, they shared their story on social media, gained a massive following, and soon started turning a profit.
 
The Gee family is living the millennial dream. They are the embodiment of work-life balance.
 
Twenty years ago, stories like The Bucket List Family weren’t shared worldwide at rapid speed. Modern media is like an IV drip of success stories streaming to everyone with internet access. The millennial generation grew up in a more transparent age. They heard all about the dreams that were coming true. They read about kids who became millionaires before they were old enough to rent cars. They watched movies based on the notion “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Their expectations were set on the top shelf, and now they’re looking for a career that gives them a ladder.
 
Millennials don’t want to settle for a job, they want to find careers that allows them to pursue their dreams. They want to work with a company that supports their ideals. Work-life balance isn’t about more time at home, it’s about career-aspiration alignment.

A Changing Workplace

Workforce culture is changing. This change has created two issues among employers: higher career expectations and a desire for more personal freedom.
High career expectations
Young employees want earlier advancements, greater upward mobility, and higher profile positions. Millennials want to know that they are adding value in a company that’s making a difference in the world.
More personal freedom
Many employers think that millennials aren’t prepared for more responsibilities. That they lack accountability. But we propose that millennials don’t take accountability because they don’t feel like a stakeholder. It’s a catch-22. Overbearing employers suffocate young dreams. Millennials want to contribute to a vision instead of being forced through a corporate assembly line.
 
Despite the popular narrative, millennials are flocking to leadership positions more than any other generation. According to a workplace trends survey, 91% of millennials aspire to be leaders. Currently, 50% of working millennials hold a leadership position. Additionally, 40% of millennials say that they want to stay with a company for more than 10 years in hopes of career advancements.
 
Many professionals worry that there aren’t enough management positions to meet the millennial demand. They might be right, but there’s an important differential between management and leadership. Many students don’t want to be managers, they want a career that affords room for big ideas, flexibility, and creative control. Any career field or job position can meet these parameters. In fact, many companies are finding very creative ways to make that happen.
 
If a company offered you a job; one where you chose your hours, your salary, and gave you complete freedom to do whatever you wanted, would you take it? Companies like SEMCO, Gore-Tex, Zappos are making this dream a reality. These companies have completely eliminated management positions. They have created more transparency and accountability throughout their organizations. Many organizations are taking similar approaches. They have started allowing flexible hours and incorporating leisure activities into the office. Most importantly, they are encouraging employees to take creative control over unique projects. By the looks of it, these trends will only continue to grow as more millennials enter the workforce.

Are We Prepared for the Change?

Many companies are responding to the demand for more leadership opportunities. But are students being prepared for this kind of workplace? The current school system is designed to prepare students for an antiquated work model. Students are taught based on standards and uniformity, not creativity and innovation. Students are rewarded based on their ability to follow directions regurgitate information.

Students should be being prepared for the workplace they will have. Graduates want leadership positions and companies are becoming more leadership-oriented. It’s about time that we prepare our students to be leaders. Children need opportunities to exercise creative control. They need free time to think about who they are and what they want to do. They need guidance from mentors to help them cultivate important leadership habits. These emphasize continuous growth, personal accountability, and learning to utilize others’ expertise.

This is the heart of our mission at the Leadership Society of Arizona. Students can learn how to become leaders through all aspects in the life, but they need guidance. They need opportunities to talk about their ideas and they need time to test out their ideas. We work with schools and teachers to create these opportunities in the classroom. We also hold summer leadership camps to give students a jump-start on their path to improved leadership.

Conclusion

Millennials want the freedom to dream. Companies are creating innovative ways to provide it. It is now time for the education system to respond.
 
In our next article we will answer the big remaining question: if everyone wants to be a leader, who’s going to perform the labor?

Out with the New and In with the Old

This is the second article in the Next Generation Leadership Series. Read the first one HERE.

Kids These Days…

Since our last article, I have done some digging to find out when the belief of “young people don’t work as hard” began.

I came across two quotes that aptly describe millennials:

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners. Contempt for authority. They show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

“[Technology] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories. They will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves… they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing. They will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing”

Here’s the kicker: both of these quotes came from Socrates [2,500 years ago] as he reflected on the youth of Ancient Greece. In the second quote, the “technology” that Socrates refers to is plain old ink and parchment. Even back then, people thought technology was ruining the kids’ minds. If you replace “technology” with “cellphones,” the quote sounds like it’s taken straight from a New York Times article about millennials.

Socrates isn’t the only one in history with the same opinion. Here are just few others that I found:

“I see no hope for the future…  for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.” 

Hesiod (800 BC)

“The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no respect for their parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint.”

Peter the Hermit (1200 AD)

“Never has youth been exposed to such dangers of both perversion and arrest as in our own land and day. Increasing urban life with its temptations, prematurities, sedentary occupations, and passive stimuli…”

G. Stanley Hall (1904)

This story is as old as time itself; the young versus the old. There has never been a time in human history in which the younger generation lived up to the standards set on them. The profound truth is that young people and old people are different…

A Logical Proposal

There’s a fundamental human characteristic that separates the old and the young: experience. People with more years of experience know their limitations. They know when they don’t know something. They know their own area of expertise. They are quick to ask for help instead of trying to do something they don’t understand. They avoid unnecessary risks. People with less experience tend to take more risks, think they are very knowledgeable, and seek to be good at everything.
 
This difference creates tension in the workplace. It is hard to work with someone who feels highly qualified even when they are not. As we get older, we tend to forget what it was like to be young. We tell ourselves, “I should have known that when I was younger.” We project this same idea on the younger people around us, creating unrealistic expectations. We think that younger people should listen to us, the older people, and learn from our mistakes. But we tend to forget that we were even worse when we were younger.
 
The main reason why generational differences is such a big concern today is because society is becoming more transparent. Fifty years ago, basic human stupidity was not considered newsworthy. Thanks to advancements in technology, the ignorance of society is  paraded before us on a daily basis for the first time in history. Even more, between the flurry of news outlets, social media, and reality TV, we have started worshiping ignorance as a society. These outlets have caused a shift in how we view younger generations. It has created an illusion that there is more ignorance, violence, and negative traits today than before. In reality, the world has, and always will be, filled with ignorance, especially among the inexperienced members of society.

Leadership, Summer program, arizona, high school

Conclusion

Human behavior is governed by natural law. Environments change, technology changes, and social trends change, but people will always be people. The youth will always be a little ignorant, there will always be something new to blame, and there will always be contradicting opinions. The one truth that we can hold on to is that everyone is the master of their destiny.
 
Millennials are not doomed because of their upbringing.  As people learn more, they grow out of “ignorant” traits. The same thing will happen to millennials as it happened to the generations before. The world will continue to change as technology advances. Millennials will adapt and will usher in new industries and business models.
 
There’s a lot of “noise” in the media today. If you can filter through the noise, you will find that there are many young people accomplishing astonishing things (30 under 30).
 
Because many young people lack real-world experience, they tend to be under-prepared for the working-world, so what can we do to help? Next month, we will discuss the future of millennials in the workplace. How to find and attract bright young talent, and how millennials can find the impactful jobs they are looking for.

Who wants to be a Millennial-aire?

What’s the Deal with Millennials? 

millennial, high school, summer program, leadership, arizona

According to Google Trends, people have become increasingly interested in generational differences in the past few years. Every day, a slew of articles is published with some variation of the title: “This is how we’ve always done it, but how will Millennials do it?!” Back in 2013, Time Magazine published a special issue on millennials, which opened the floodgates of criticism. Zoom around the internet, and you’ll find that people don’t have the highest opinion of millennials:

  • Millennials love selfies, but don’t like themselves.
  • They want meaningful work, but don’t want to work.
  • Millennials want to take risks, but are afraid of loss.
  • They are addicted to social networking but don’t like social interaction.

Before we go further, let’s take a step back. A “millennial” is someone who was born between the early 80’s and mid 90’s (no one agrees on exact dates). A millennial is anyone old enough to remember cassette tapes, but young enough to have been raised on CDs.  Also known as “Generation Y”. By 2020, half of the workforce will be millennials. Despite this, many employers are struggling to find and adapt to recent graduates. Ironically, recent grads are still struggling to find employment.

In 2013, 89% of companies stated that millennials are not ready to enter the workforce. Another survey said less than 50% have desirable skill sets. McKinsey and Company identified that:

  • 61% of new graduates are unhappy with their careers.
  • 57% of employers agree that they cannot find enough skilled entry-level workers.

Another study assessed survey results of 2,322 students over a 4-year period. The results show that 45% of students did not improve in skills employers seek until the last 2 years of college (critical thinking, reasoning, and writing). In turn, recent graduates are struggling more with unemployment than previous generations.

Who Can We Blame?

Earlier this year, TED talk legend, Simon Sinek answered some questions about millennials in a live interview. Some are hailing this video as “The Interview that Broke the Internet”. Sinek reaffirms that millennials are entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused, and lazy. He claims this is because of:

  • Failed parenting strategies
  • Addiction to technology
  • Instant gratification
  • Consumerism

millennial, high school, summer program, leadership, arizona

Sinek concludes his interview by praising the creativity and potential of millennials, but it’s about as comforting as someone saying  “It’s not you, it’s me.” Sinek isn’t the only one to hold this opinion of millennials. There is a lot of research backing up his claims, but I’m not sold on his premise.

After doing some of my own digging, I found many articles that support the opposing viewpoint. One article cites several research papers explaining how Sinek may be wrong. Another, by the Harvard Business Review, found that millennials share many of the same traits and trends as older generations. This article concludes that millennials aren’t an anomaly, in fact, they are very average. Millennials are what some scientists may call “young”. This sate of “young-ness” often comes with narcissism, entitlement, and laziness.

Who’s Right?

One side says that millennials are flawed anomalies, the other side says that millennials are average. So, who’s right?

Well, the conversation itself may be flawed. We can dissect the character traits of any group people into infinitesimal segments. We can blame parents, technology, vaccines, gluten, and the media all we want, but the real question shouldn’t be “What caused this?” The question we should ask ourselves is “What next?”

The Next Generation Leadership Series

For the next couple months, we will be addressing this question through our newest articles series about young leaders. Our goal is to help make sense of this situation to inspire better solutions. Much of our research comes 25 years of management studies and by working with over 2,000 students.

Our motto is “Make Life Simple”. Natural Laws govern everything around us, even the workplace. As you continue to read this article series we hope that you will something new about how:

  • Employers can improve relationships with young employees.
  • Parents can better understand their children’s career aspirations.
  • Young professionals can use their generational differences to discover their own success.
  • Students can improve their chances of finding work by understanding the older generation.

Next month, we will look at the simple natural laws that causes the majority of conflicts in the workplace, and how it relates to the millennial issue.

How School Didn’t Teach Me My Most Valuable Lessons

When I graduated high school, I had my life figured out. I thought that I knew everything. I was the ideal product of the education system: great grades, a hearty resume, good test scores, the works. Growing up, I was told that if I got good grades, a good job would eventually be handed to me. I was taught that more rigor meant more success. I decided that the most rigorous degree field I could go into was engineering.

Two years into my undergraduate career I realized I wasn’t really cut out for engineering. I wasn’t enjoying my classes, and I lacked direction. While my classmates were memorizing differential equations, I was having an existential crisis. I started to realize who I really was… just a dumb kid without a clue in the world, trying to convince myself that I had everything figured out. For the first time in my life, I realized that in the big scheme of things, I didn’t know anything. It didn’t matter how much information I memorized, or how many tests I passed, because I wasn’t happy and my life was a mess. Nothing I learned in school prepared me for this kind of struggle.

It was at that time that I really started searching for who I wanted to be and not so much what I wanted to do. I looked high and low for mentorship. I had a bunch odd jobs and took a variety of different classes, but everything changed when I met Dr. Dean Kashiwagi.

I met Dr. Dean when I signed up for his leadership course that proposed he could teach someone “how to know everything without knowing anything”. Through his research, he found that effective leadership is more about understanding and accepting, instead of controlling and commanding. He taught that the best leaders don’t try to know everything, instead they know how to leverage the knowledge of the people around them to accomplish a greater goal.

 

These lessons in leadership helped me realize my greatest downfall. Throughout my academic career, I was too focused on my own life. I was lost in the details of what I was doing and I never stopped to figure out why I was doing it. To find direction, I needed to look outside of myself and seek the guidance of leaders around me.

This story is all too common for many other Millennials. We’ve grown up in an increasingly complex world. We’ve been trained to memorize, regurgitate, and repeat. Most of us have done well in school and learned valuable information, but school doesn’t teach us how to apply it in a meaningful way. As we finish 17 years of education and walk away with thousands of dollars of debt, we just want to know that it was all worth. We want to know that we have what it takes to add value to society. We want to make a difference.

Modern college and high school students are facing a depression epidemic, and I believe the problem is much deeper than chemical imbalances or too much social media. I believe that these students are overwhelmed with the complexity of life. Students are taught that if they don’t know all of the answers, they will fail. Students don’t need more answers, they need to learn how to ask for help, how to recognize when they don’t know, and how to be okay with being wrong or failing.

Since working with Dr. Dean, I have earned three degrees: a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, and master’s and doctorate in management with a construction focus. Through my two decades of education, the most valuable thing that I learned is that my success doesn’t depend on how much I know, it depends on how willing I am to ask for help. This is the message that I want to share with the world. This is the reason why I co-founded the Leadership Society of Arizona.

I want to simplify the complex lives of students by helping them feel comfortable with not knowing.

Summer Leadership Academy: 2017 Report

The Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA) is a federal 501(c)3 non-profit leadership education organization. The fundamental idea behind the summer leadership academy is simple: if we want to change the world, we must first be the change ourselves.

LSA employs an industry-tested, no-influence leadership model sourced from 25 years of professional and academic research at Arizona State University. The model  on over 1,900 projects delivering $6.8B worth of services in 9 countries and 43 states, with a 98% customer satisfaction rating. It is also the most licensed technology out of ASU (54 licenses). This model has been taught to over 1,600 college students over the last 7 years with a satisfaction rating 96%. LSA adapted this model for high school students and has taught over 500 students in 4 years with a satisfaction rating of 96%. Students who understand this model can learn new concepts 10 times faster. Using this model, LSA shows students how to enact simple changes in their daily lives to cultivate life-long leadership skills proven to make individuals more successful.

Summer Program Summary

The Logic and Leadership summer program is a fun, interactive and discussion based week-long course (20 hours) that teaches high school students how to be more effective leaders and plan for their futures. During the week, students learn a new framework to solving their problems. This approach replaces the complexity of technical and detailed information, with the simplicity of natural laws and logic (compiled from the world’s greatest minds: Socrates, Einstein, Bruce Lee, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and many more). To help make this program possible, Frito-Lay donated over 500 snack products.

summer

Students pose with their snacks donated by Frito-Lay at ASU West Campus

The summer program consists of four days and one closing ceremony:

  • Day 1: Understanding Natural Laws – how to set goals and change.
  • Day 2: Common Practices of Successful People – how to form good habits.
  • Day 3: The No-Influence Model – how to improve relationships.
  • Day 4: Alignment Leadership – how to leverage the strengths of others.
  • Day 5: Closing Ceremony.

List of Programssummer

In 2017, LSA hosted 5 summer programs [143 students] at the following locations:

  1. South Mountain High School [5/26-5/31]
  2. North High School [6/5-6/9]
  3. ASU Main Campus [6/19-6/23]
  4. Westwood High School [7/10-7/14]
  5. ASU West Campus [7/17-7/21]

Results

We measured the success of our programs by the impact on the students. They completed a satisfaction and comprehension survey before and after the program. The results are in Table 1.

Table 1: Student Satisfaction Survey Results

Performance Criteria Metrics
Number of students educated 143
Student Satisfaction rating of the program 93%
Student satisfaction rating of the instructors 98%
Parent satisfaction rating of the program 96%
Percent of students who felt the program has helped them improve 95%
Percent of students who would recommend this program to others 96%
Percent of students who felt less stressed 58%
Percent of students who felt their leadership ability improve 46%

Testimonials

The program participants came from very diverse backgrounds. Some students were struggling in their classes, while others were in gifted programs. Students came from all over the Phoenix Valley, and several from out of state. While each student faced unique challenges in life, the program helped empower them to overcome their challenges. Some of the success stories are as follows:

  • Student 1 spoke English as a second language and did not like talking to others. After the program, she decided to start trying to talk to more people.
  • Student 2 was frequently bullied at school. At the end of the program, she stated that she realized bullying should not have the power to affect her. She can be happy even if the people around her are not nice. She realized her own self-worth.
  • Student 3 was having behavioral issues in school. His parents wanted to send him to military school. By participating in the program, he gained the courage to speak to his parents. After attending the closing ceremony, his father realized that he was being too controlling which led his son to act out.

“This program has been life changing for [my daughter] and I’m so glad we found LSA!” –Parent

“This is the best summer program that I’ve ever been a part of.” –Student

Read what students and parents are saying HERE.

Conclusion

This is the second year that LSA has been able to host the high school summer program. In just one year, LSA has tripled its number of programs and greatly increased its outreach to students across the Phoenix Valley.  LSA will host 6+ local workshops, partner with 8 different high schools, and host over 6 more summer programs, over the next year.

Program Sponsors

To help make this program possible, LSA received support and donations from individuals and organizations across the Phoenix Valley. These different organizations provided monetary donations, facility support, in-kind donations, and supported LSA through various marketing efforts. The largest single donation came from PepsiCo in the form of 500 bags of Frito-Lay snacks and over 700 bottles of Gatorade. LSA graciously thanks each of the organizations below for their continued dedication to improving the education of students in Arizona.

 

summersummersummer  summer

The Natural Laws of Success – A Lesson from Professional Athletes

Success is different for everyone. It doesn’t matter what your passion is in life, if you have a dream, you have goals. What is the best way to achieve our goals?

There’s a pattern to success and achieving goals. Our program teaches students the laws of human nature that lead to success in all aspects of life. We call these principles “The Natural Laws of Success”.

Coronado High School Logic & Leadership Academy

In the Fall of 2016, we had the unique opportunity to teach a leadership development course to the Coronado High School (CHS) Football Team. Over the course of a semester, we offered 20 students 6, one-hour workshops to help them become more successful. Many of the students struggled to keep their grades up in school and had disciplinary issues. After talking to CHS administration, we decided to develop a curriculum specifically for high school football players.

Life Lessons from Professional Athletes

The Natural Laws of Success are present in all aspects of life. They are clearly exemplified through the lives of highly successful people. At CHS, we chose to focus on professional athletes to make the course more relatable. Keep reading to find out what we taught about Stephen Curry, Ray Rice, and Tom Brady!

Stephen Curry – Success is Not an Accident

Stephen Curry is an all-star, plain and simple[1] [2]. He has seen some incredible record breaking moments in his career[3]. The impressiveness of his talent pales in comparison to the inspiring story of his rise to fame.

Curry was always talented, but what set him apart from others was his coach-ability and hard work. One summer in high school, Curry’s dad (a former NBA player) told him that if he wanted to be better he needed to completely change his shot[4]. At first, this change hurt his game, but Curry spent the entire summer mastering this skill. This is only one instance of Curry’s dedication. In the video below, you can see how relentless Curry was in striving to be the best.

Success – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxsdiusm1NQ

We often think that successful people catch a lucky break, but that might not be true. Nature is governed by cause and effect; every action must have a reaction. Your success is the result of your work. Curry is a champ because he asks for expert advice and then he relentlessly works to improve himself.

Success is not an accident. It’s a natural law: if you utilize expertise, and work hard, you will reach your desired results.

Ray Rice – You Control Your Life

Ray Rice is another all-star player[5], but his recent fame is for a much different reason. In 2014, Rice’s career was turned upside down because of a domestic violence case[6]. In the course of one year, he was dropped from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the NFL. Eventually, he was permitted to play again, but today, teams still won’t hire him.

Since his suspension, Rice has done some serious soul-searching[7]. He’s been forced to rethink his career. He continues to work as a free agent, but he still hasn’t been picked up by a team. In the meantime, he’s turned his focus to the community:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXEgueEQ6hg

Today, Rice isn’t playing football, but he’s making an even greater impact by speaking out against domestic violence. While his actions might have ruined his NFL career, he doesn’t let that dictate his future. Rice never blamed anyone else. His story is powerful because he’s willing to take full accountability for his actions: “I’m not proud of what happened, but I am proud of what I did to never, never, never, ever get to that place again.” (Ray Rice, NY Daily News).

True success cannot exist without accountability. We cannot learn from our actions unless we’re willing to own them. We can only grow when we admit our faults. Success is a mindset.

Tom Brady – The Key to Life is Constant Improvement

Tom Brady is another common household name. You probably know about Tom Brady even if you don’t watch football. What you might not know is who he was before becoming one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

Brady wasn’t much of a player when he was young. The one thing that made the biggest difference in Brady’s life was his approach to learning. From the beginning, Brady stopped at nothing to find good coaches. Well into his professional career, the 4-time Super Bowl champ continued to get help from his high school coach. Take a look at these two videos (they’re a little long so feel free to skip through):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdtbAX1-ZO0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo3_AkD5BoQ

Brady’s propensity for constant improvement doesn’t stop at football. He is a fanatic about every aspect of his health, family life, and personal routine[8]. Brady maintains a rigorous diet at all times: at home, on vacation, and during the off-season. His life isn’t about winning a couple Super Bowls, it’s about achieving excellence in all things.

The number one characteristic of all successful people is a commitment to progression. Success requires the willingness to learn and dedication to a routine conducive to growth. Success is a 24/7 lifestyle.

Program Results

The students at Coronado High School were deeply inspired by the lives of these three athletes. As part of our program we wanted to measure how the Natural Laws of Success affected the students. We asked 15 teachers to observe how students’ behavior changed after completing the 6-week program. The results are staggering:

  • 10 of the 15 teachers noted observable improvements in the students
  • 14 out of 18 students showed improvement in class performance
  • Student overall class performance improved by 9%
  • Time management improved by 13%
  • Respectfulness improved by 12%
  • Understanding, social aptitude, and college-readiness improved by 10%

These changes came after only 6 hours of instruction. We interviewed several of the students and found that the course inspired them to repair relationships with their families, improve their study habits, complete all of their homework assignments for the first time, and live healthier lifestyles. Every student who attended more than 3 classes achieved the goals that they had set at the beginning of the program.

Conclusion

Life is governed by unchanging laws of nature; success is no different than gravity. Every individual has the ability to reach for their own measure of success. As we adopt more successful habits, we naturally begin to achieve our goals, big or small. Results require the right actions. You decide what you will do with your circumstances. If you’re always learning, you will always improve.

Leadership isn’t a job title, it’s a lifestyle.

How to help your child be successful

 

Successful Students

Education should prepare a child to be successful at life. Looking at current high school and college graduation, unemployment, economic prosperity, crime rates, and the health index, it’s clear that education has failed us. K12 education is crucial because it encompasses the formative years of a child’s development. Studies have shown that it’s difficult for someone to change ingrained habits after reaching adulthood.

Recent studies show that students are stressed, overwhelmed and under-prepared for college. 45% of college graduates have technical expertise, but lack the ability to understand people and think critically. Companies are finding that this is a significant deficiency among young employees. The majority of graduating students over think, are not accountable, think only of themselves, and want something for nothing. By observation, many high school/college graduates are not prepared for the challenges of life. For this reason, four driven college students, including Jake Gunnoe, founded the Leadership Society of Arizona (LSA). Their common belief was that they could make a difference in society.

The Fix

GhandiLSA has found a way to fix education through a disruptive technology. LSA realized that it would take a lifetime to change the current academic structure.  As a result, they created a supplementary curriculum that can teach students to be more intelligent and learn 10x quicker. Current results show that it improves social behavior, decreases stress/worry, and increases a student’s confidence. Regardless of a student’s IQ level and leadership capability, our education enables a student to add value to society.

The students identify who they are, align their life with their talents, and minimize stress and problems in their personal lives [examples of stopping the consumption of pharmaceuticals and drinking, implementing a life makeover, becoming transparent, and having an increase in accountability and responsibility]. The most common feedback from college students in the course is, “I wish I had learned this earlier.”

The Research

This disruptive model is scientifically backed by 24 years of R&D at ASU through industry testing of professional services, which has been shown to help organizations globally increase their efficiency by up to 30% and cut cost by 30-50%. The impact will be significant: decreasing criminal/delinquent behavior, bullying, substance abuse and violence, and increasing community service volunteers and efforts, and health/mental stability.

Join the Effort

With your support, we believe this technology can impact the lives of students everywhere. Subscribe to our email newsletter and keep up with this ongoing effort.

Preparing the Professional of the Future

 

What were to happen if employees across the country vanished but there were no replacements to fill the positions? The same thing that happens to lake without rain – a drought.

Census data shows that we are now entering into a massive nationwide “talent drought”. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of US citizens, 45-64 years, old increased by 31.5%, while citizens aged 25-44 years decreased by 3.4%[i]. Within 20 years, nearly 30% of the workforce will be retiring. Some sources have even gone as far as to compare the shortage to the Bubonic Plague[ii].

The Root of the Problem

professionalAs the talent pool continues to shrink, companies will begin losing employees ranging from executives to craft laborers. Even if companies downsize, or outsource labor, there will still be spots to fill. A drought is a drought; no matter how companies respond, the number of available employees will continue to diminish.

On the bright side, the talent drought couldn’t have come at a better time in history. There are fewer people entering into the workforce, but fewer people are needed. A recent report by McKinsey & Company suggests that 45% of job functions today could be completely automated using technology and robotics[iii]. Conveniently, 30% of workers might be retiring, but up to 45% might not be needed.

When push comes to shove, companies might not need to fill spots left by retirees. Automating jobs is much more efficient than managing employees. As time goes on, companies won’t need more employees, they will need the right employees.

We’re beginning to see signs of this today. Companies now recognize that technical skills are not as valuable as leadership skills and soft skills[iv]. Compared to soft skills, technical skills can be more easily trained or automated[v].

Looking to Education

As discussed in previous articles (here and here), the U.S. education systems is not up to par. Too many students are unhappy with their education and unable to find meaningful careers. At the same time, U.S. companies are finding that new hires are unprepared for work. Young employees lack leadership skills and the ability to think criticallyv. Over the course of four years, 45% of college students do not improve their reasoning and critical thinking abilities[vi].

The modern education system trains students to memorize technical information so it can be regurgitated on an exam, but there are very few exams in the working world. As companies begin to rely on technology, demands will change.

The Solution

soft-skillsWith the aid of technology, the impact of the “talent drought” will be minimal, and if we are wise, we won’t have to compete with robots for jobs. As people, we have one advantage over technology: we have the ability to reason. Reasoning leads to creativity and empathy; things that a robot cannot do. These skills will become more and more crucial in a professional setting.

The professional of the future has to be a problem solver who is able to understand unique situations at a very high level. He or she must be a leader who possesses key traits such as:

  • Logical reasoning abilities
  • Personal stability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integrity

These traits can’t be learned from a textbook or studied in a classroom. These traits should be nurtured and developed. Traditionally, someone one could only learn these things through many years of life experience, but there is another way.

As we mentioned in other posts, the Leadership Society of Arizona has created a leadership development program that helps students learn faster. Our model teaches students how to apply logic and common sense to solve everyday problems. Instead of telling students that integrity is important, we give a logical reason of why. This education drastically reduces personal stress and empowers students to be better people. The secret is to teach kids how to learn wherever they go.

Conclusion

The talent pool is shrinking and job functions are being replaced by technology. Companies are placing more value on leadership skills than technical training. The professional of the future must know how to think critically and solve unique problems. Modern education must adapt to the needs of society by teaching students soft skills instead of forcing them to memorize information. The Leadership Society of Arizona curriculum provides students with a framework that helps them use logic to solve everyday problems and learn faster. If we can prepare a generation of rational, stable-minded employees, there is no problem too great to handle.

Leadership isn’t a job title, it’s a lifestyle.

References:

[i] U.S. Census 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.censusscope.org/us/chart_age.html

[ii] The Economist 2016. Retrieved from:  http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21702477-can-debt-fuelled-model-growth-cope-ageing-populations-vanishing

[iii] http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/business-technology/our-insights/four-fundamentals-of-workplace-automation

[iv] Burnsed, B. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/05/11/specialized-majors-high-risk-high-reward.

[v] Society of Human Resource Management (2015). Retrieved from: Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/SHRM-Hiring-Graduates-2015.pdf

[vi] Rimer, S. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article24608056.html